Smiling Bullo

live and learn

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A long absence

I’ve been quite busy during the last 2 years, there are many reasons for that but I’d rather prefer to explain through a picture.



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..and how it looks…for real

Some days ago I’ve received my book from blurb. I must say that the printing quality is really excellent as well as the paper.

After getting my book printed, I found several errors due to lack of time and attention. Some of the paragraph are badly paged and there are some mistakes in the illustration ( the word “love” in the second illustration has not arms, and the word “Time” in the second last illustration has an incomplete “E”). The cover may doesn’t reflect the illustration style and I think this could be an advantage in some sense, how many of us are attracted from very colorful and appealing cover…to find out later than the book it was not so good in the end?!

Just because you cannot read a whole book in a shop, the cover and the abstract on the back are sometimes the best way to sell a book.

If you want to know more about the process of making my book you can download it Presentation..or you can have a preview on

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From scratch to Adobe Illustrator

Here are some of my drawings, they are part of my storyboard. I admit that I’ve changed te scene sometimes, that was because my final illustration doesn’t look so good if I followed the original storyboard. I’m not very good in drawings as you can see but I hope it gets across!

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Light Bulb From Scratch

Making everyday object with Illustrator can be challenging, but if you observe them from very close you can notice that every detail is made of basic shapes. I made a Light bulb from scratch and as you can see it is much easier than you think.

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Create a shiny cueball

Use the ellipse to create a circle and apply a black and white gradient then copy this layer twice (Lock and hide these two layers)

Select the original circle and change the colour.

Turn on and unlock the “mask1” layer, select both the gradient circle and mask1, open the transparency palette and > make an opacity mask ( make sure you selected “invert mask).

Unlock the mask 2, set the fill to white and modify the circle to closely match the one below.

Draw a rectangle that closely overlaps the mask and apply on it a linear gradient.

Select both the objects and apply again an opacity mask, apply an overlay blend and…you get your shiny reflective ball!


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Cartoonize a Photo

Using Illustrator you can create graphic novel style or even other “famous” effect just using the pen tool or Live trace. For instance, if you get a Mick Jagger Photo

you can get a simple nice effect just using the Live trace>Simple trace.

You can get a “Andy Warhol” style picture, just copying you file, expanding it and coloring it as you prefer!

With Live trace> Color 6 you can get a more realistic effect but still in an “illustration” way. ( You can get the same effect with Photoshop as well just using the filter “Cut out”)

If you are creative enough and you want to give your own “touch” to the illustration, you can select the pencil tool ( Depending on the result you want, you may prefer adjust your pen settings) and begin inking your drawing. Just think of what you’d like tracing or not. Now is completely up to you, you can trace only the contour and add the color at the end or you can just use the pencil tool like a brush and directly paint your image. Remember that, since you are using vectors, nothing is “forever”, you can change your tracing anytime you want using the selection tool to manipulate and refine the shape.


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Create a Picture from Words

Some nice effect that we can see on advertising or in TV are more easy to do than we believe. Using the right software and a reasonable amount of knowledge we can get extraordinary effect! Today I will show you ho w to create a picture from words. First of all find an image you want to work with.


Find a block of text and remove any formatting, chose a font tha will work with you image, copy you text and paste it in Photoshop. Make a brush : Edit> Define brush, close your file and go back to the image.

Select> Color Range and select “Shadows”. That allow you to select only the area that are rally dark in you image ( like hair and makeup). Copy and paste on a new layer and repeat the action but selecting “Midtones” and again copy and paste on a new layer.

For both you shadow and midtones level select Edit>Fill, choose 50% gray ( make sure you preserve the transparency) for you midtones layer and black for you shadows layer

Select both you layers and merge them. In the end you would get something like that.

Create a new layer and fill it with white and hide it for now. Create a new layer, select your brush (change the size if necessary) and use it  to paint the “text” ( click – not  brushing) and spread it all over.

Go back to the image layer and select it >copy >apply a layer mask> paste your copy into this mask. Deselect the pixel and inverse to make a negative. Now switch on  the white layer and you will see a text version of your image. What you can do next is play with layer style, I decided to  use Overlay gradient.

You can use many brushes with different words or different orientation to get many different high impact effect.

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My final project brief

For my final project I decided to create a children illustration book, the title of my book will be “A tale of Love and Time”.

I didn’t personally write the story, unfortunately the source is unknown.

What I’m going to produce is a 20 pages (excluding the cover) colors e-book, size 18×18 cm (7×7 inches). I’m going to use Adobe InDesign for the layout and Adobe Illustrator for making the illustration.

The tale is a short story about the feelings and it is going to be a moral story more than an educational one.

I will create simple and colorful design since I noticed from my research that it is the most effective one especially making a children book.

My target will be children from 4 years but also parents, the book will promote the value of the feelings and the importance of altruism.

As I told before I’m going to use Adobe software for this project but before I’m going to make a storyboard and sketches using a notebook and  pencils. My general idea it is not to draw “real” characters but use typography to represent the different word such as “LOVE” “TIME” etc.

I would also consider the possibility of using different kind of paper or textureon my background. Regarding the text I’m not going to create my own font but I will try to handwrite it and scan it.

I will produce a paper draft using text weight paper and a rough binding. I’m not sure I will be able to get my book printed for the final term so  I will produce a .pdf file from InDesign and I will create the e-book (eventually an e-book readable on Ipad and Iphone) through I will consider the possibility of having my book printed on request.

(Image source: for the thumbnail picture)