About that space illustration you keep seeing around
Originally published on the official Adobe blog
I sat down, played some music, dimmed the lights, and opened my laptop. Had a ton of stuff to do. In an attempt to summon inspiration, I started mindlessly drawing lines from one corner of the screen to the other, when suddenly a comet formed. “Hm…”, my brain was slowly waking up, “…what if I connect the lines and add some planets”. Being the master procrastinator I am, I did just that. And I did a couple more things after that. Few hours later I had my most popular Dribbble shot, as well as my most popular illustration ever.
An illustration that I had no idea would inspire its own illustration trend with many designers and companies around the world re-creating it, re-iterating it, re-imagining it… I guess it really hit me when I read Meg Robichaud’s answer in a Dribbble interview about her all-time favorite Dribbble shot:
I mean the colours and the shapes are stunning, and of course, it’s space: awesome. The reason it’s my favourite shot is because I spot people with it as their phone or desktop wallpaper all the time, and it’s like this awesome little badge: “Yeah I know you got that on Dribbble. Wanna stop whatever we’re doing and talk about Dribbble?”
When I read this I though “Wow. This is real. I’m not imagining it”.
So, having a bunch of tutorial requests constantly coming my way, I’m finally sharing a how-to, and more importantly, the thought process behind it. Enjoy!
The illustration style
Illustration style is basically all about self-imposed limitations. And my brain is constantly coming up with these weird rules when I illustrate stuff. It’s almost like ridiculous challenges that I can’t stand to pass over — What if I draw a human using only circles? What if I illustrate a sunset using only one color? And bam, a new illustration style is born.
Geometric rules, logical progressions, symmetry. There’s something very appealing in having strict mathematical rules applied to art. It feels like reverse engineering magic, it strips away the mystical element in art so it’s almost like revealing the science behind it.
The space illustration has two of these rules.
The rounded wavy pattern
This wavy pattern is the foundation of the space illustration, since almost every object is made up of it. The wavy pattern is actually alternating inwards and outwards curves. Let me show you how it can be easily created in Adobe Illustrator.