Talented illustrator Susan Burghart reveals the techniques she uses to add gritty texture to her clean vector illustrations.
The beauty of popular vector-based programs such as Illustrator or Freehand is their ability to create smooth, clean, streamlined imagery that is mechanically perfect. But what if you decide that your resulting work is too clean and sterile, and you want to add a grittier touch to your vector work instead?
Sometimes it's a case of not being sure of where to begin or not having the time, budget or access to the right equipment, such as a screen-printing lab. It's also possible that you have already tried to add texture and age to your work by using filters in Photoshop, but weren't completely satisfied with the results.
In this tutorial, I'll show you an easy and effective way of adding texture and distress to your work, giving it an old screen-printed look. All you need is access to a laser printer, a photocopier and a basic knowledge of Photoshop, particularly working with Layer Masks. I've experimented with both screen printing and working with photocopies to add texture and distress to my vector work, and for me, photocopying produces equal, if not better, results.