While most artists may use similar techniques for vector art and portraits, individual artists develop wildly differing styles in the images they create. Some produce photo-realistic images while others opt for cute cartoon graphics or far-out sci-fi and psychedelic aesthetics.
This post brings together some of the best examples of vector portraits, and at the bottom of the post you will find a selective collection of vector portrait tutorials.
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Artist Tash25 renders this portrait in a super-realist style, crisply capturing the play of light on the model’s face and dress. The delicate monochrome tonality lends the image a nice retro ambiance.
This portrait of Ashlee Simpson, reworked from an image from her album cover, has some incredible vector detailing in her jacket, trainers and beatbox.
The creator of this portrait feels that the image captures the essence of a free-spirited individual.
This vector portrait of Bjork realistically reflects the singer’s elfin charm.
In Greek mythology, Amphitrite was a sea-goddess and wife of Poseidon, and Rockfield’s portrait has a suitably dreamy aquatic theme.
The artist started this portrait as an exercise in using the Gradient Mesh tool in Illustrator, and then developed the picture into a free-style sketch image of actress Scarlett Johansson.
Igor Sunjic created this monochrome portrait of Sixties guitar icon Jimi Hendrix for Vector Portal, a website that offers royalty-free vector graphics to download.
This portrait demonstrates a deft handling of colour palette and composition to achieve balance in vector imagery.
This vector portrait is based on a photograph of Japanese signer Ayumi Hamasaki. The use of blur on the leaf patterns adds a sense of depth to the composition.
This close-up portrait is cropped to give a pleasing sense of perspective.
StevenZ’s stylish design in red, black and grey was a finalist in the Vector Art Category of the 2008 Djarum Black Urban Art Competition.
Vector graphics can often appear somewhat flat; in this portrait, however, the artist uses a simple monochromatic stripe design to achieve a sense of form and three dimensions.
This portrait is a realistic rendition of anime character Sailor Saturn from the Sailor Moon series. The choice of colours and styling reflect those of the original cartoon, but the overall aesthetic is far more ‘grown-up’.
Lawnz’s Kid is the result of about eight hours’ work in Illustrator CS2, a cheeky, characterful vector portrait.
The artist’s restraint and certainty of line, along with the choice of Grayscale tonality, result in this elegant vector portrait.
Artist Hellron goes for a near-photographic, smooth vector effect in this portrait, with a crisply drawn tattoo detail.
Novenarik is another vector artist who uses a restrained palette, with generous use of white space, and simple lines to create sublimely atmospheric imagery.
This striking image is based on a photograph from a 1954 edition of LIFE Magazine, showing how the US Air Force used light-beam contour mapping to design flight helmets. While it is sourced from an old photo, the artist has made it very much his own in this intriguing vector portrait.