Easy + FREE Portrait Illustration DIY

GDraw Illustrations

So, this is actually a project that I have my 8th graders complete in class, but it's so freaking cool, I have to share it with you all here! You can use FREE Google Drawings web software to create your own illustrator-esque portraits, which are awesome for blog design, cards and stationery, art prints, digital avatars... and lots of other awesome things that are not immediately coming to mind. Give it time.

GDraw Illustrations

And the best part is that this is actually quite simple to do! And it doesn't need to be perfect in order to come out realistically. It's up to you how detailed you want to go with it.

I use this YouTube video in class to show students how it's done:

I love that you can take a picture right on the spot, but you can also upload existing photos, which lends itself to creating portraits of friends and family for gifts or other surprise things!

The magic is the line drawing tool called "curve," which smoothes out any shapes that you make. It gives your shapes a cool cutout style for that all-around freehand-ish drawn look.

GDraw Illustrations

The only downside of Google Draw that I've discovered so far is that there isn't an iOS app for it. But I like to use it on Chrome (via Chromebook, Macbook, or PC laptop) using a mouse to help with the fine motor skills required if you wanna get the details looking good.

The other thing to keep in mind is that shapes work on layers, so it's important to work from largest shapes to smallest shapes when tracing, so that you can select the tiny shapes without the larger ones blocking access. Then, when filling in the shapes, you work backwards, smallest to biggest. If you mess up, no biggie, because there's an "Arrange - Order" function that will allow you to move shapes forward or back as needed.

GDraw Illustrations

When you're all done, you can download your drawing as .pdf, .svg, .jpg, or .png - or you can just screen grab it, too! And from there, the possibilities are endless!

This is one of my favorite new computer tricks!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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