How To Draw a Skateboard Deck in Illustrator
In this tutorial, you'll see my process for creating skateboard deck art, from sketch to full-color vector illustration. I hope it inspires you to design your own deck art for the Tony Hawk challenge.
I begin by opening the skateboard deck template in Adobe Photoshop Sketch, where I sketch the deck art. I then take the art into Adobe Illustrator CC for the final vector drawing. In Illustrator, I don’t add color right away—instead, I start with the grayscale palette to help me visualize the piece and focus on compositional details.
I use Illustrator's Pen tool to draw vector shapes over the pencil sketch, anchor point by anchor point (see the above video). I use a few Pen tool techniques: To draw a curved line, click and drag to add an anchor point with the direction handles, then click and drag again to add a new anchor point at the end of the curve. To make a corner point on an open path, just click it again. To edit the open curves, hold down the Command/Control key to select the point to position it where you want and to adjust the handles.
Illustrator's Shape Builder tool lets me quickly erase or separate overlapping parts of the artwork (see video above). To erase, I select the shapes, hold down the Alt/Option key, and click the sections I want to delete. To separate the overlapping shapes, I simply click on them without any modifier keys.
When I'm happy with the composition, it's time to add color (see video above). To create complex color blends, I use the Freeform gradient tool, which is in the Gradient panel. With my shape selected, I can add multiple color stops, change their size, and move them around.