Drift away with this vector art tutorial from Jhonatan Silva

Enjoy the sunshine long after summer has gone with this Affinity Designer for iPad tutorial from Jhonatan S. Silva.

This 13-minute video showcases a variety of useful vector design techniques including customising and clipping shapes, applying effects and blend modes, using the Pencil Tool to draw freehand shapes and creating pattern fills.

Learn these simple techniques by watching Jhonatan’s video and by reading our break down of the main steps below. Once mastered you’ll be able to apply them again and again to your own work.

Background and rubber ring

Use the Rectangle Tool to create a rectangle which covers the whole background, then select the Donut Tool to create a donut shape for the rubber ring. To create the stripes on the rubber ring use the Cog Tool, customise the settings and then clip the cog to the donut shape.

Jhonatan uses the Cog Tool to create stripes on the rubber ring.

To create the shading on the rubber ring use an Inner Glow effect with a dark colour selected on the donut shape and then apply an Overlay blend mode.

Use the Outer Shadow effect to create the shadow on the water. To make the wave/ripple effect use the Ellipse Tool with a white stroke applied and no fill colour, and a custom stroke profile.

The figure

The woman is created from shapes—by using Convert to Curves and the Node Tool you can edit the individual nodes and customise standard shapes.

A Diamond shape being used to create part of the mouth.
Shading on the face is created using the Pencil Tool and a slightly darker shade of the skin-tone used.

Draw the nostrils using the Symbols Studio so you have the ability to edit both simultaneously. See our video on Symbols for an in-depth overview.

Use the Pencil Tool and the Transparency Tool to do the shading on the face freehand.

Draw the leg freehand using the Pencil Tool and then duplicated it. Use an Inner Glow effect with a darker tone than the skin-tone to add shading to the upper leg and draw the highlights freehand with the Pencil Tool.

Exporting to create fill patterns

To create the patterned fills that Jhonatan has used for the hat and for the patterned background seen at the end of the video you use the following technique:

  • Create the pattern you want to use to fill an area—for the hat create concentric ellipses and for the water, freehand shapes in different shades of blue.
  • Select the shapes and Group them.
  • Select Export Persona.
  • Create Slice and name it accordingly.
  • Select Export as Bitmap, choose the location you wish to save the bitmap to and name it.

This saves your selected objects as a bitmap file elsewhere on your device.

  • Now select the object you want to fill and choose the Fill Tool.
  • Select ‘Bitmap’ from the drop-down menu that allows you to choose the type of fill you want to use.
  • This brings up a new window which allows you to choose from your files. Select the bitmap you just exported.

You can now use that bitmap as a fill.

The Bitmap Fill technique used on the hat.
The Bitmap Fill technique used on the hat.

The drink

To draw the drink the woman is holding use the Ellipse Tool. The orange segments are created using the Cog Tool and the Transform Tool to create custom settings to make a sun-burst effect, similar to the one used to create the stripes on the rubber ring.

A close up of the drink.

The finished illustration:

The finished character illustration.

Further reading

We hope this gave you a good overview of how the illustration was created. If you would like to learn more about customising shapes, using Symbols, applying Blend Modes and clipping in Affinity, why not check out these other useful articles:


About the creator

Jhonatan S. Silva is a games artist, illustrator and 2D animator from Brazil. In his free time he shares easy techniques and best practice for creating great content in Affinity Designer for iPad on his YouTube channel.

If you’d like to see more from Jhonatan you can view his previous tutorials on how to create a vector rocket and how to create an ice cream graphic in Affinity Designer here on Spotlight.

Alternatively, you can see more of his work on his website and Instagram, and don’t forget to check out his Affinity brush and asset packs on his store.