Getting Playful with Shape Builder: An Interview with Nastya

Getting Playful with Shape Builder: An Interview with Nastya

5 min read

Hey there, Vectornators!

Have you tried the new Shape Builder Tool?

Available with 4.10.0 and located under the Shape Tool in the Toolbar, Shape Builder helps you sculpt beautifully-defined designs from overlapping geometric shapes. The dynamic tool comes with two modes—Merge and Erase—allowing you to combine multiple shapes into one and then subtract areas to refine the design.

If you’ve not used it before, Shape Builder can be an intimidating tool. However, talented designer Nastya Kuliábina shows how drawing with shapes can actually be a fun challenge. All you need is patience.

We invited Nastya to explore how Shape Builder can be used to create a logo. And we hope you’ll agree that the results are flippin’ awesome.

To find out more about Nastya and how she created her dolphin logo, we got in touch to ask a few questions. Read on for our interview.

Hi Nastya! Firstly, could you please introduce yourself and explain what you do?

Hi! I’m Nastya, I’m a freelance designer and educator. I work on design projects related to products and services. For every project I use illustration since it’s my most effective tool to communicate and visualize ideas and concepts.

I’m also an educator. I tutor young product designers to develop their Final Projects at a design university. In addition, I’m teaching online digital illustration. I create educational content where I share my best tips for digital illustration on iPad. My goal is to empower creatives and encourage them to learn and use digital illustration as a tool to communicate their ideas.

What made you decide to become an educator in digital illustration, and what do you love the most about the job?

As a creative person, I’m always keen to learn new techniques and communicate my ideas in new ways. In 2014, I got an iPad and began exploring its illustration potential. (I was surprised to find out how big it really is, but how underrated it is!) I started using drawing apps and got better results as I learned how to use them to create digital illustrations.

At this point, I was a university student. My new skills caught my classmates' attention when I started using them on my projects. Many of them had an iPad, but they had no idea how to use it to get similar results to mine. I realized that I could share my insights, so I started sharing my drawing process on Instagram and uploading long-form tutorials to YouTube.

My favorite part of my job is seeing its impact on people. It's so exciting to read comments and messages from people from around the world saying my tutorials helped them to become better illustrators. Thanks to social media, people can learn from someone who is thousands of kilometers away from them. It feels like magic.

How long have you been using Vectornator, and do you have a favorite tool?

I have been using Vectornator for three years. During this time, Vectornator changed a lot and introduced a bunch of new features! It’s difficult to pick a favorite tool, since I like a lot how all the tools work together and complement each other. My top three tools are: gradient, mask, and brushes. The Gradient Tool allows me to create smooth color changes and give depth to my artworks.

The Mask Tool is one of my most used tools. My most common use of the Mask Tool is to place shadows inside objects. One of the recent updates allowed managing masked objects from the layer menu, as well as editing masked objects in real time to make final adjustments. In my opinion, the mask tool became more powerful that day.

Last but not least, the Brush Tool! It’s an amazing help when creating details on my illustrations. The Brush Tool comes with a bunch of different pressure profiles to choose from, and I can personalize any of them.

You recently created a fantastic dolphin-inspired logo design using the new Shape Builder Tool. What was the first step in the process?

According to common sense, the first step should be to decide what to draw. However, I preferred to start playing with the circles to see what animal I come with. You need to use your imagination a lot for this type of ideation process. You’ll also need some patience. Just have fun.

What did you do next?

When I started cutting the circles with the Shape Builder, I got several abstract shapes that were not related to any animals. I felt upset, and I thought I was wasting my time. I decided to keep playing and started moving the shapes around, scaling them up and down and combining them with each other. After that, the dolphin shape and some other shapes appeared. Dolphins are one of my favorite animals, so I preferred to continue working with the dolphin concept.

The next step was to start coloring and decide the amount of details to include in the final illustration. I prioritized the color over the details. I experimented with several gradients to finally come up with the beautiful combination of blue and purple.

Do you have any tips for how our users can get the best results with the Shape Builder Tool?

When you're looking at all these circles, it can be difficult to visualize the final result. Stay focused on the final result you want to achieve. If you lose your shape at some point, it's better to go back a few steps and try again. On the other hand, you will have to make effort and remember what you learned at school about geometry. (I was just like you in school, I never thought that geometry classes would be useful and here we are haha).

Be patient and keep playing!

Thanks so much, Nastya! We can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

Watch the tutorial above and update to 4.10.0 to give designing with Shape Builder a try.

Download Vectornator to Get Started

Give your images a face lift.

For more digital illustration tips, follow Nastya on social media:

Nastya Kuliábina: YouTube | Instagram

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