How To Create Pop Art in Illustrator

Pop Art is an artistic movement and concept that arose during the 1950’s in London and a few years later on, in the US. This movement challenged the conventional and traditional forms of art since instead of the common art mediums, Pop Art made use of common commercial products and every day things. An example of this type of art can be found in Andy Warhol’s creation involving the use of soup cans from Campbell’s. Now, this is simply one example. Pop Art encompasses everything within the scope of commercialism such as comic books, brands, and the like. Like the soup can art by Andy Warhol, there are other pieces within the genre that is considered priceless or at the very least, high-prized pieces. Now, the great thing about computers is that you can make your own kind of Pop Art. Here are some steps on how to create your own masterpiece using digital imaging software like Adobe Illustrator.

  • Start with a photo. For this example, start by taking a digital photo of your object. This could be something similar to Campbell’s soup. However, consider just taking a plain photo of your face. Upload the photo to your computer and open the file using Adobe Illustrator. At this point, you can set the size of the photo or work on it at its original size.
  • Start tracing. Once the photo has been opened and resized to your desire. It is time to add some pizzazz to it. If you remember, those pieces of art that featured a face with certain elements remastered and recolored to be modern and eclectic. Well, that is what you will be doing here. Start with the hair. Trace it all the way around. You will want to use the pen tool at this point. Trace it free hand. You may need to zoom in a bit. Don’t worry about making a mistake as you can always edit it every so often. Once the tracing is done, right click on it and select “arrange” and “send to back”. The tracing will now be concealed behind the image.
  • Repeat the process. Trace the other elements of the face such as the eyes, nose, ears, and lips. To make the each element appear more artsy, consider only tracing parts of each element instead of the whole. For instance, if you are tracing the nose, then consider on tracing one side of it. At the end, right-click each element and select “send to back” again. Once you are done tracing, select all the tracings and put them together.
  • Remove the main photo. Remove the main photo until only the traced layer remains. Group everything together and start adding the shadows and colors. Make sure to apply a nice background as well. At this point, your creation will look like a comic book sketch. Apply other features such as shading and blending or you can go with solid colors. It is entirely up to you. Once you are done, save the creation as an image.

This is merely one way to create Pop Art using Adobe Illustrator. You can either plaster your creation onto a website or print it out at a larger scale and frame it.


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