By Sharon Milne
What You’ll Be Creating
The Wizard of Oz is an iconic movie which covers many themes. One of my favourites is that of colour. With this in mind, I’ve decided to create my own colouring book style illustration of its protagonist, Dorothy Gale. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you many different ways to create line art in the process of creating this tribute.
If you’re wanting to get into vector line art, I highly recommend my new course, An Introduction to Vector Line Art.
You can download the line art yourself in high resolution to the right of this article, should you wish to print it off and colour it in yourself… I’ve tried it out myself, and it’s a lot of fun!
So let’s get Adobe Illustrator open and get vectoring!
1. Create Chunky Line Art
Before I start, I like to put together a sketch of what my idea of the composition will look like. This helps me visualise the final product. Where needed, I include stock images to assist me in the drawing process, for example the model for Dorothy herself and a stock image for the bow (for some reason, I’ve always had problems with drawing bows!).
I then Place the sketch in Adobe Illustrator to work from, with a white filled Rectangle (M) on top set to Opacity 50% to dim the image.
The initial line art that I’m drawing for the illustration will be created with the Pen Tool (P). These are more chunky lines which have a non-uniform width. They create a more organic look to the lines, and I think it helps give it a bit more style.
Below is an example of how I put together the collar on her dress. I first draw the overall shape of the collar, and then use Pathfinder > Minus Front to remove the two inner shapes.
I continue using this style for several areas on the portrait. Notice how some parts aren’t complete—this is due to future shapes overlapping the area and therefore hiding where certain parts meet.
2. Use the Grid Tool for the Rainbow
Throughout the composition I want several icons from the movie to be present. One of the big ones would be the rainbow, and it would make sense to have her above the rainbow (“Somewhere over the rainbow”).
To create the rainbow shape, I’m going to use the Rectangular Grid Tool. First I double-click on the icon so I can modify the number of horizontal and vertical dividers. The number you want is one less than the bars and columns you need. So seven colours in the rainbow means 6 Horizontal Dividers. I’m just wanting one column, so it would be 0 Vertical Dividers.
When I click-drag the tool, I end up getting the following seven-row grid.
To create the rainbow arc, I’m going to keep the grid selected and go to Object > Warp > Arc and set the Bend to 100% Horizontal.
I then Object > Expand Appearance to remove the editable effect so I can ensure all of the lines are a uniform 2 pt Stroke Weight. I want the large area outlines to be at 2 pt and the smaller details to be between 0.25 pt and 1 pt.
3. Section the Hair and Add Line Art
For the hair, I’ve divided it up into sections first, using the Pen Tool (P). So I create the initial shape and then add on the next section. I do this with half of the head first and then copy and paste the shapes and reflect them for the other side, since the portrait is symmetrical. I then use the Free Transform Tool (E) to move the sections into place.
To add the detailing for the hair, I first create a tapered Art Brush.
Then I create a series of strokes in the following pattern: a large stroke around the outside, with a smaller in the middle and then an independent stroke in the very centre. These are created with the Pen Tool (P) for maximum control of the curves.
I then carry on this style throughout the top of the hair and add additional strokes where required.
To work on the flowing hair behind her head, I’m going to create a new brush. I draw a line with the Line Segment Tool () and give it a 40 pt Stroke Weight and apply the tapered art brush. I then Object > Expand it to get the shape of the brush. I set the fill to white and the stroke to black.
Now to add strokes using this brush from the back of her hair to over the rainbow and along her shoulder. Notice how half of the brush covers her face… this is so the tapered end of the brush is hidden.
I’m going to need to start cleaning up my line art, so it’s time to get creative with Clipping Masks (Control-7). As this line art is staying empty, ready to be coloured in by hand, you can use white filled shapes and Clipping Masks to hide unsightly edges.
The first thing I do is work out the shape to cover the face, to hide the overlapping edges of the hair.
Then I continue to use Clipping Masks to hide overlapping edges.
Now continue using the same style for creating the line art within the sections of the hair, for the hair overlapping the rainbow and shoulders.
4. Detail the Eyes and Eyebrows
For the eyes, I’m going to use another Clipping Mask. I use the Pen Tool (P) to create the inside of the eye and create the impression of a waterline.
Then with this shape, I use it to create a Clipping Mask for Ellipses (L) for the iris and pupil.
Using the first tapered brush, I create strands around the eyebrow to mark out the shape and direction of the eyebrows. I do this using the Paintbrush Tool (B).
Using the Blob Brush Tool (Shift-B), I fill in the centres of the eyebrows to complete the shape.
Then use the tapered brush to add eyelashes to the top and bottom eyelids. The bottom eyelashes have a smaller Stroke Weight.
5. Add Detail to the Clothing
When adding detailing to the clothing, you can use the tapered brush to create the folds. I’ve also used the tapered brush and a dashed stroke to create a stitching effect on the sides of the strap.
6. Create the Yellow Brick Road
For the Yellow Brick Road, I’ve created a tapered line using the triangle Width Profile with the point of the triangle at the Emerald City.
Then I’ve Object > Expanded it, removed the point of the path, and applied our tapered brush to create perspective with the line art.
I’ve added additional lines to the portrait and the horizon using the tapered brush, the Pen Tool (P) and the Line Segment Tool ().
7. The Emerald City
I’ve used the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create the Emerald City. I’ve created the spires using the Line Segment Tool () and the triangle tapered Width Profile.
I want to make the city sparkle. I do this by creating a Rectangle (M) and rotating it 45 degrees. Then, while selected, I apply Object > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat with the below settings.
I then place them around the city.
8. Create Icons to Do With the Characters
For the Wizard (spoiler alert!), I’m creating a hot-air balloon leaving the city, as he does at the end. The base of the hot-air balloon is formed of basic shapes, which include a Rounded Rectangle and two Ellipses (L).
I then add additional lines to form the rest of the balloon and basket. I place the balloon in the top left-hand corner to fill in the space.
For Dorothy’s companions, I’ve created an earring with icons representing them. So a brain for the scarecrow, heart for the tin man and a medal for the lion.
9. Create the Ruby Slippers
After drawing the base of the shoe, I’m going to add sequins to make them sparkle. I do this by creating a Scatter Brush.
Then using the Pen Tool (P) I draw strokes around the shoe to add the sequins.
After Object > Expanding the brush, I’ve used the Free Transform Tool (E) to squash the sequins on the edge of the shoes to create the impression they are curving around the shoe.
I create the bow in a similar way, but to get the sequins at an angle, I use Object > 3D > Rotate to angle them all.
I then finish off by adding sparkles to the shoes.
There’s No Place Like Home!
I hope you’ve picked up some tips and tricks on creating your own line art illustrations. If you’re creating one specifically for colouring in, remember to vary the sizes and shapes you’re drawing, and make it interesting by not creating massive amounts of blank spaces.
Colour in Dorothy yourself by clicking download on the right of this article to get the high quality copy of the final illustration. Post your finished, coloured-in pieces in the comments—I’d love to see them!