Andrea Minini created this vector drawing of a bull using a few lines, the Blend tool in Adobe Illustrator, and a lot of natural talent.

Andrea Minini’s Artful Blending

By Terri Stone

Andrea Minini is not afraid to try new things. Although this Italian creative’s schooling and work history are in graphic design, he’s best-known for illustration, an art he never studied formally. Find out how he makes his minimalistic line drawings, and then try it yourself with our easy-to-follow tutorial.

Minini graduated with a design degree and worked as a graphic designer in an agency for years. “I still like and do graphic design projects,” he says. One day in 2014, he was playing with Adobe illustrator’s Blend tool and drew a puma’s face out of a few lines and the Blend tool. It was well received by his friends, so he tried the technique with other animals.

Two of Minini’s earliest line drawings created with Illustrator’s Blend tool.

After he published a collection of the line drawings, which he called “Animals in Moiré” because of their similarity to moiré patterns, people around the world admired his original style. “I got my very first commissions,” Minini remembers, “and one thing followed the other. That’s how I started my illustration career.”

Minini’s style has evolved since those first explorations. “The very first illustrations were all symmetrical because I focused on the ‘correct’ shape—making it understandable and, at the same time, abstract,” he says. “After that first phase, I tried to create more dynamic compositions, with more subjects and an environment when that was called for. But one thing always stays the same: I try to use the minimum number of elements—lines, dots, or colors—to get something complex.”

Minini enjoys working in both black and white and color. “Black and white is elegant and enhances my style,” he says, “but color can create moods that it’s hard to get with black and white.”

Try Minini’s technique in this easy-to-follow tutorial.

Although Minini’s work often gives the impression of being three-dimensional, he uses only 2D elements. “It’s a matter of brushes and density of lines,” he explains. “It’s quite easy: When lines are closer, you get a shadow effect. When there’s no line density, the illustration looks illuminated.”

Minini admits that to successfully carry out the basic concept, he does have to put in some time. “There’s a long fine-tuning phase,” he says. “It’s hard to find the right lines to create good blends. Everyone who uses Illustrator knows that each anchor point matters and can change the aspect of a whole illustration.”

Minini used his Blend tool technique in an architectural landmarks commission.

March 23, 2017