I Switched from Photoshop to Illustrator. Part 1: Reasons and Challenges

Magoz illustration in Adobe Illustrator

Since I became a professional illustrator, I always used Photoshop as my main drawing app. I developed a solid workflow in Photoshop that allowed me to work for newspapers where you need to work very fast and be effective.

Last year, I started to work with Jose on animations and that required vector illustrations. At the beginning, I kept working with Photoshop and then vectorising the resulting images using Vector Magic and Illustrator.

But after a while, I realized that that system required to invest a substantial amount of time to do the conversion and the results weren’t optimized for the animation process either.

I decided then to start using Illustrator to creating the illustrations for animations. I still used the sketch made in Photoshop as a guide.

Using Illustrator. First steps

At the beginning everything was a bit confusing, I had to adapt my mindset to a new environment. The rules were different, the tools were different, and even the interaction was different. The switch from Photoshop to Illustrator didn’t come alone. It wasn’t very comfortable to keep using the Cintiq tablet anymore, so I started using a mouse.

It wasn’t the first time I used Illustrator, I was familiar with it, but I never created a complete illustration from scratch in Illustrator. I faced a lot of challenges from the very beginning.

First challenges

Illustrator as my main tool

After some weeks of experimenting with Illustrator, I feel comfortable, and my speed is increasing. I’m slowly polishing my workflow in Illustrator, learning new tools, shortcuts and even using some Actions.

Switching to Illustrator comes with a lot of bonuses as well. The very reduced file size, the possibility of exporting any size and resolution or the possibility of having different artworks inside of the same document are great new benefits. I will write about those benefits and discoveries in the following parts.

• • •

In the Part 2 I share with you how I stopped using Photoshop to create the sketches as well, and what do I use instead. It has been another massive change.