For this project I had to make a bike using Adobe Illustrator. I could create anything with two wheels. Then I had the decision to either keep it a flat design or add gradients to make it look more photo realistic.

Sketching

Sketching was interesting. I think I can safely say I’ve never drawn a bike before. Any kind. Never done it. So how was I supposed to draw it in illustrator, if I hadn’t even drawn it on paper? Some of my sketching is simply trying to get overall look and feel instead of details and then some of my sketching really dives in and shows pretty good detail.

I knew I wanted to try my hand at creating a pretty detailed motorcycle in illustrator, but I still sketched other bicycles to try them out.

Print

The fun part

Here’s where it gets crazy quick. I found an image I really liked, brought it into illustrator, placed it next to my artboard for reference, and began drawing. Here is the image I referenced.

Akrapovic-Honda-Exhaust-System-Promo-2

I started with the front wheel.

wheel-02

Then I copied the front wheel and added a back wheel, only changing things slightly. Then I focused on the cover of the tire, how the tire connects to the body, and adding the handle bars, mirrors, and front part with the speedometer.front-02

Finally I began connecting the front and back wheels by adding the engine top, seat, and some details for the back.

connect-02

Then I added the engine…or some shapes that resembled an engine at least.

engine-02

Here’s the first draft of the entire bike all put together.

draft_bike_blarsen

Making tons of edits

I needed to refine so many more parts of the bike and then I wanted to try adding more depth using shadows and gradients.

Added some parts to the middle of the front tire. Added those screw-looking pegs.

fronttire2-02

Based on the feedback I got, I defined the engine top and many other areas using more shapes and different shades. Still no gradients yet. I fixed the handle bars and mirrors, made the wires look more natural (I was told those looked awkward), and really defined the front of the bike (where the headlight and speedometer go) this go around.

front2-03

Hey look, I added a chain! (Now the bike may be able to work!) I also added the dark gray part where the chain is resting.

backwheel2-04

And finally, I better defined the parts of the engine.

engine2-05

Here is draft number 2 with all parts put together.

bike2-01

Final bike

Now I felt like it was time to start adding some gradients. I had a lot of fun with this step, because this is when I really began to see my bike look some what realistic.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

There you have it!

Going from never drawing a bike, or even more, a motorcycle, to creating a vector of one in illustrator. That was an awesome experience! I’m really glad I challenged myself to go above and beyond with this project. I learned how to see, I mean really see, the parts, shapes, and lighting on this bike.

This project also increased my ability to piece a large object together by breaking it down into digestible segments. My bike meets the requirements for the project because it is a motorcycle with two wheels. I also could’ve stuck with the flat design, which you saw in this post, but I took it a step further and added some gradients to the finished bike.