Hello, today I am going to walk you through how to make really cool architectural vector-based graphics in Adobe Illustrator.

Step 1: Get a Digital Image

You need a photograph, or other digital image, of the thing you want to stylize. Import this image into Illustrator and make it fill the artboard (Use the Select tool to drag the corner of the image & hold Shift to make sure it stays proportional).

Once you have your image ready, set it to 50% opacity, and lock the layer.

Step 2: On a New Layer, Trace the Image

Make a new layer. Using the line (for straight lines) or pen (for curved lines) tool, trace around the image, giving it form. Try to trace as many details as possible, and be sure to use Shift to make straight vertical and horizontal lines. When you have lines that need to be identical, a neat trick is to simply copy the line with the select tool. This can be done by holding Option (Control for PCs) and clicking and dragging on the line. Continue making lines until you have enough detail to bring your image to life. Feel free to bend the rules, or add your own touches; after all, that’s what being creative is all about!

When you think you are finished tracing, hide the image layer below and behold your creation!

Step 3: The Final Touches

You’re almost done. This last part is just for kicks, to add an extra element or two to complete your design. Incorporate your image into a poster, add text, add color, do whatever you want. As you can see below, I made a flyer with a stylized ‘map’ showing the location of a club that is a little tricky to find. Not anymore, thanks to my graphic!

My final graphic, incorporated into a promotional flyer.

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