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4.4.2018

this is Gus

What started out as a mindless midnight sketch turned into a cute, gradient-mouthed and pink-eared robot face with a scarf and sin-wave Frankenstein adornments.This was my first time tracing an image on a computer in a vector program. I learned quite a bit on my way to an image of Gus I considered share-able.[caption id="attachment_208" align="alignnone" width="1239"]

gus pencil

Hand-rendering of a thirsty robot.[/caption]I know Adobe Illustrator is pretty standard fare for this kind of work, but I wanted to explore Sketch as I've pretty much committed to it as my interface tool of choice.At first, I used the pencil tool to trace every line. I got lost in the details of the image, especially as I worked on the soda can, which I eventually cut out. It came time to add color and in a frustrating flash I realized I didn't have any containers to fill!

Plus, when I zoomed out, none of my lines were satisfying. They all had dips and bumps and I suffered a general nagging of the soul to make them all fucking perfect. You know the feeling.

I created a rectangle for Gus' head, adjusted the vector points to match my trace, and all of a sudden - Gestalt shift! - I could see ovals and squares everywhere!

I kept the lines intact, laid the shapes on top, and when the shaped matched my first lines close enough (I edited an exceptional quantity of vector points at first - a mistake) I hid the borders and filled the shapes. Easy-peasy. Satisfied, I deleted my original lines, zoomed out. And now these shapes were still stilted! Less than the lines had been at least, but it was still explicit.

[caption id="attachment_209" align="alignnone" width="658"]

Gus First iteration

After a long evening of tracing with the pencil tool, and the realization that I should have started out with shapes.[/caption]I dove into the SketchApp community to find out how to smooth my shapes.

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 4.06.00 PM

It turns out I was using the wrong kind of vector point.

I returned to every layer, selected every point I edited, and used the keyboard shortcut (2) in the path editing window to change the points from asymmetric to mirrored, then adjusted the handles accordingly.At this point, I was still keen on having the cog around Gus' ears (see hand-rendering), a dash of the Newtonian I didn't think I'd be able to resist. Nevertheless, after trying to draw each and every line, rotating 30 copies of a rectangle, and a few other ideas, I couldn't create what I had imagined. TBH, given who Gus is today, I'm not sure those cogs fit the bill. Maybe Halloween. One never knows.I made a number of changes that are not reflected in the Gus immediately above and the one below. These include coloring his smoker's jacket before deleting it, drawing a straw from the DATA POP up to his mouth before deleting both, and adding a sin-wave for a smile. Before, as one might guess, deleting it.

gus second iteration

In the end, I made a few color changes, added a few final touches, and voila:

This is Gus. He's a Robot.

final gus

What's in store for this friendly hunk of metal and - dare I say - intelligence? I don't know yet, but when I know, I'll let you know.For now, if you see Gus around on Twitter, it's actually me ;)

✌️Last updated 
November 13, 2021