I stumbled onto the notion of low poly portraiture late last year watching some speed art videos on YouTube by Mordi Levi. I immediately checked out his Behance profile and was intrigued by the graphic, chiseled features of his Big Bang Theory cast images. I'd never really considered Adobe Illustrator as a tool for constructing portraits so I decided to spend a few weeks experimenting to see what kind of results I might get.
I had some false starts and failures in the beginning, but finally developed a workflow that suited me. This led to creating pieces in less time and producing more consistent results I'm happy with. Here's some things I've learned so far:
- There's no right or wrong way to create these images. I prefer a tighter, smaller approach to poly creation, but other artists like their portraits to be "chunkier" in build.
- The size and quality of the image used as a template will have an impact on your final product.
- As with creating other images in Photoshop or Illustrator, using layers and staying organized is extremely important.
- Live Paint is definitely the most efficient way to introduce color or shading to your poly mesh.
- Patience is required! Creating individual polys takes time and you'll inevitably need to proof your mesh in outline mode before advancing to the coloring stage.
Probably the most important thing in this process is that I've been having fun exploring. The day job asks for print materials and promotional items that don't always translate into exploring a new style or look. Sharing these images has allowed me to engage with a community of artists on Instagram who are creating and sharing similar low poly vector images. This means there's no shortage of inspiration from around the world to draw on. I'm definitely going to keep working in this style throughout the year and have some ideas to push my images to another level.
Check out some of my work in the Gallery.