It’s December 21st, 2012… BOOM! Has the world ended? It just might, if you believe the theories of the Mayan calendar.

To greet this notorious date, I’ve created an End Of The World poster because, as every graphic artist knows, a poster is a frequent tool of advertisers, propagandists and other groups trying to communicate a message. And this is a message people should know about. 😉

But first, we need to grab some paper, pens and warm up Photoshop and Illustrator, as we will be using both in this tutorial.

A lot of “paths” will be created when this sketch is vectorized — as we know, paths in Adobe Illustrator can be a bit tricky. So I decided to use a graphic program that makes handle paths easy. Yes, Photoshop!

1. “Path” the sketch using Photoshop

We need to reduce the opacity to at least 19%, so we can see the path lines we create.

  1. Choose the Pen Tool
  2. Then jump into the Paths Palette
  3. Activate the “Add to path area (+)” button
  4. Create a new Path layer
  5. Start outlining the shape using the Pen Tool

Next, we will outline the main shape of the dynamite, the factory smokestacks and some of the buildings.

Moving down the drawing, we will outline Earth’s continents, small ship, airplane, eyebrow and remainder of the buildings.

Continue to the outer shape of the world’s eyes and mouth.

Now outline the inner shapes for the eyes and mouth, smoke clouds and the burning fuse.

We’re almost done the outlining! We need to create a few more inner shape outlines for the contenients, the fuse and highlights.

And here’s the final results after all of this outlining. 🙂


2. Prepare for Adobe Illustrator

Most designers use the File > Export option to take vector Paths from Photoshop to Illustrator:

But I’ll show you a simplier way — activate all Path elements using the Path Selection Tool (A).

  1. Copy the selected outlines ( Ctrl+C )
  2. Jump into Illustrator then paste (Ctrl+V) onto new document (Note: we will be using the smallest poster size which is 11 by 17 inches)
  3. Choose “Compound Path (faster)” in the popup menu

You will notice it looks like a blank artboard, but do a quick select all (Ctrl + A) and your shape will appear, just without a fill or stroke.

I’ve chosen the color red as my temporary stroke color, so it’s visible while we work.

Make sure you set the color mode to CMYK, since this is going to be used for printing.

STEP 3: Vectorize with Illustrator

If you want to make multiple shapes the same color, then activate them at once using the Selection Tool (v). Hold Ctrl+Shift, then click them one by one.

Make sure all of the sublayers are in the correct order. So when it’s colorized, a sublayer is not covered up by another.

Continue coloring each shape.

After all shapes are colorized, add the auspicious date on the dynamite. But be careful, so it doesn’t go BOOM! 🙂

Lastly, let’s give the background a nice gradient.

And here is our final result:

That’s it! I’m confident the world will not be ending today because I’m still here, and already working on my text tutorial for you. 🙂

If you have any questions about Photoshop or Illustrator, I’m happy to answer.