Portrait of Chao Li

Chao Li

Chao Li color variants

I’ve been toying with some different illustration styles lately and decided to try my hand at some portraits. This one was created for my good friend Chao Li a couple months ago. Since she had already asked me to do one for her, it was a natural choice as my first official portrait in this style.

I used several reference photos of her to compile the image, but put it together completely in Illustrator from scratch. Zero tracing. Just a few images open in Apple Preview floating around my artboard. I enlisted the services of Illustrator’s brush tool almost exclusively for this one to achieve a more hand-inked look.

The main difference from my usual style is that I primarily blocked out shapes using solid colors instead of outlining every form in black. Choosing a limited color palette was key to planning out the arrangement of elements here. The finished two-tone image successfully captured the tone I was shooting for; love it when that happens…

The witty banter goes here: