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Low Poly Art Technique Tutorial: How To Create Impressive 2D Digital Artworks with Polygons in Adobe Illustrator

What is low poly art?

Low poly art is a simple digital illustration technique that uses simple and reduced polygons to create artworks with a distinctive and geometric style. Although this technique is commonly associated with creating 3D models in softwares like Blender, it can also be applied to the creation of illustration 2d with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. In this article, I'll explore this technique in greater detail and how it can be used to create stunning works of geometric low poly art. Over time, this style has become increasingly popular in other fields, such as animation, graphic design, and advertising.

Bad Bunny Low Poly Art Tutorial

What are the advantages of creating low poly geometric illustrations?

The main advantage of the low poly art technique is its ease of use. Compared to other digital art techniques, creating a low poly vector illustration is relatively simple and does not require advanced 3D modeling skills or the use of various tools to achieve good results.
In addition, the low poly technique also offers the possibility to work with colors and textures in an efficient and creative way. By using simple polygons, shadows and lighting effects can be easily applied to create an effect of depth and realism in the illustration 2d.

The definitive step by step: How to create low poly illustration 2d with Adobe Illustrator

First step: Mood board / "Let’s begin!"

Before starting to design it’s essential to define what we are going to create. For this reason, once the theme, concept, or trigger idea has been defined, it’s essential to create a mood board with all the images that inspire us or that are fundamental elements for the creative process.
Please note that’s very important to take the time to find the visual elements that are going to serve as inspiration, so we must dedicate the necessary time to have all the references.

Step 1 Low Poly Tutorial

Second step: "The sketch"

The second step is to create the pre-design foundation. The reference can be in three ways, a sketch made by hand from the ideas of the mood board, you can use an image or you can create a montage in Photoshop to use the guide and later be able to “trace” in a vector way in Adobe Illustrator. 
Step 2 Low Poly Art Tutorial

Third step: "Base"

The file to be worked on is created here. The size of the same is indifferent since when working it in vector, it can be enlarged or reduced later without losing quality.
What I do is create a first layer, which I call "Base" and on which I embed the montage on which I am going to work.
Subsequently, a top layer is created in which the illustration 2d will be developed.
Go to Adobe Illustrator, and create a new file. I always recommend leaving the "base" coat locked to prevent unwanted and involuntary movements.
Another thing that is done in this step are different annotations, or things to keep in mind to add, modify or delete. Annotations are always necessary so as not to forget the details that make up the final result, for which I always recommend making this type of annotations as references.

Step 3 Low Poly Art Tutorial

Fourth step: "Let's do it"

For the development of the illustration 2d, the low poly technique consists of working by range of colors. The most important thing is to create a mental map of how to reconstruct the base image, with triangles.For this reason, this technique is based on trial and error. You must create triangles one next to the other, imagining how they will combine with each other. The process is based on appealing to intuition and seeing how the triangles behave appropriately to be able to give shape to our design. Using the colors of the "base" image is very important to determine the meaning and size of the triangles that we are creating.To generate transitions or different effects, one can create triangles one next to the other where the point of contact is the nodes, or the triangular figures can be superimposed to achieve different results.
To create the triangles, the process consists of joining three nodes with the pen tool. As much as the triangles share their sides, it's important to always join the three points so that a closed figure is generated.​​​​​​​
Once the development of the "skeleton" is finished, the eyedropper tools are used to take the original colors of the base photograph. 
Later, once finished, the base layer is eliminated and the file is exported to work on the details of lights, shadows, textures in Adobe Photoshop.
Step 5 Low Poly Art Tutorial

Fifth step: "The final details"

Once the development of the vector illustration has been completed and it has been colored, it is time to work on the details.
Here we can add textures, lights, shadows and much more. What is important is to build your own collection of brushes, textures, and practice how to apply the lights and shadows correctly.
Working with layers and masks, will allow you to make the necessary changes and adjustments without modifying your original design, thus being able to have greater control of each of the added effects.
Once finished, always verify that the final measurements of the file are the ones we need and we can now export it in ".jpg" format to share it with the whole world.
Step 2 Low Poly Art Tutorial

Step Six: "We made it"

Finally, remind you that each of the points mentioned above are (personally) essential and extremely important for the final result to be the desired one. Each one has their ways of working or knows what works best for them in their creative process to achieve the goal.
The idea of ​​the tutorial is to be able to tell what works for me and what is the process that I follow for the development of each of my illustrations, I hope it will serve as a guide.
Low Poly Art Tutorial

Full Low Poly Tutorial on Behance:

In case you want to look for inspiration and want to see behind the scenes of each piece of low poly art that I have created over the years, I invite you to visit my personal portfolio on Behance. There you can find all the references you need on various topics to finish understanding this exciting technique of digital illustration. 


Full low poly art tutorial:

Also if you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment there so I can resolve your concerns. 

Always remember, we all learn to do, by doing. For this reason, patience and practice make perfect! 


Low Poly Tutorial Technique

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