Why vector? Why take a hand illustration, scan it in the computer and basically re-illustrate the entire piece? While I LOVE hand illustrating (traditional pencil to paper) vector illustration does have it's place. First off let's start with the clean lines. While I would love to believe that my hand is disciplined enough to create a consistent clean line the truth is it has it's quirks. Best thing about that is it SHOULD! Hand illustrating and vector illustration are two entirely different animals. One (hand illustration) conveys subtle emotion, tonal range and an organic feel that NO computer program will EVER mimic. Vector illustration has a mechanical, hard edge feel that quickly conveys are more refined / finished piece. It lends it self well to screen printing and after all... that's the business I'm in.
I hand illustrate first because I feel I'm an artist first, a traditional artist (pencil's) and that relationship is one forged in YEARS of intimacy. I scan and vector (re illustrate in the computer) for two reasons:
#1. I am in the business of creating graphics that will eventually land on shirts, skateboards, cars, helmets, boats, posters and a host of other consumable products. Since that majority of the third party companies that manufacture these goods have equipment that produces these graphics in the highest form (screen print machines, digital printers etc) Vector is the best choice. It's clean lines almost guarantee that what you see on the screen is what you will get on the end product.
#2. As an artist I am FASCINATED with almost every aspect of the creative process. When I was introduced to the computer and a graphic program I was instantly hooked. The ability to change colors rapidly, numerous tools at your disposal and the ability to re-approach the project from every angle without having to invest the initial illustrative time was a potent mix I still to this day am amazed at!
I hand illustrate because it's my first love, the birth place of ideas and honestly freedom to me. I vector because.. well it makes the illustrations look badass! Ha!