Last Sunday, it was a ‘Creative Sunday’. It turned so that I’ve spent almost the whole day, drawing in Fireworks and Flash.

It has all started like this…

The Rabbit and the Sewing Machine

First, my wonderful wife Ani found a blog with a nice header and mentioned that it is probably very difficult to make such a drawing or vector composition.

That was a reason strong enough for me to fire up Fireworks and start re-drawing this header image right away. It was a challenge! :-)

3 or 4 hours later, my imitation #1 was ready:

The rabbit and the sewing machine (imitation in Adobe Fireworks)
(click for larger size)

Compare it with the original that I was trying to reproduce:

original image from
(click for larger size)

You can see that the two images are almost identical, with the exception of a few details — for example, I’ve drawn a rabbit with long ears instead of a doll with no face expression (I like the rabbit more, actually). Also, you can notice that some other small details are not re-created in exactly the same manner, but this is intentional — I wanted to make a very similar image in Fireworks, not a 100% exact copy.

Everything you see is just vectors and a few effects added here and there.

I do not know how was the original created (I tried to contact the author of the blog, but did not receive a reply to my e-mail) — maybe it’s Illustrator or Photoshop — but I think I have demonstrated that Fireworks is powerful enough to make quite complicated vector imitations. That’s the reason why I love Fireworks so much — it is powerful enough to do 90% of my graphic design work, and yet, very easy and intuitive to use! :-)

The City of Darkness

Next, I switched to Flash, and tried to recreate a nice drawing, made by Ani on paper, a few days ago.

Here’s my first try with a tablet (this is imitation #2):

The city of darkness (Wacom tablet + Adobe Flash)
(click for larger size)

I used a Wacom tablet and Adobe Flash; when the drawing was ready, I exported the image and then used Fireworks again, for the final version you see.

It took me maybe 2 hours to make the drawing — I think the results are OK for a first try with a tablet and Flash:)

Here’s the original image that I was trying to re-draw:

A drawing by Ani (scanned)
(click for larger size)

Again, there are some differences between the two images, but they are minor…

The solar eclipse & the statue of Mahatma Ghandi

The same day, I also had the idea to re-create a real photograph, taken during the last solar eclipse (on it, you could see the sun against the statue of Mahatma Ghandi, on a very dark sky).

Unfortunately, the day was too short for this purpose, but after two days, I went back to this idea of mine, and so my third imitation was born.

Here’s imitation #3 — what you see is Adobe Fireworks again, only vectors and a couple of live effects:

Imitation of a real photograph, made in Adobe Fireworks
(click for larger size)

And here’s the original, so that you can make the comparison:

A photo by REUTERS
(click for larger size)

This was quite a quick job, maybe less than an hour. I was not trying to make a 100% perfect copy, but rather check if I can quickly make a vector re-drawing of this photo. The results look quite OK to me;-)

Adobe Fireworks

I love using Fireworks.

“Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal.”
Good artists copy, great artists use Fireworks.
—Pablo Picasso

Am I a great artist? Sure no! :-)

But it’s fun for me to try to imitate some other people’s work, especially using Fireworks, my favourite graphic design editor of all time! :-)

And what still continues to amaze me is how good Fireworks can be, both with vectors and bitmap editing… and how underrated it continues to be, for Adobe and for many design professionals… (I hope this will change some day!)

…Meanwhile, I’ll continue to copy imitate in Fireworks, just like I did last Sunday, when the mood comes. It’s just too much fun! :)))

9 thoughts on “A Creative Sunday: 3 imitations (Fireworks/Flash)

  1. Hey Michel – good job on those vectors! I too like your version of the blog header better. :-) Can’t beat good ol’ Fireworks in any task.

    For the second pic, what kind of Wacom did you use? Have you ever used it with Fireworks too? Do the two work okay together?

    I wonder because for a while I’ve been considering getting a tablet, but so far I had little luck finding out how Fireworks would handle it. I’m worried that if it would lag or the pressure sensitivity wouldn’t work well, then I’d have just wasted a lot of money on a plastic tray.

    I figured that an experienced fellow Fireworks power-user is the best source of reliable info.

    Thanks man, and keep on Fireworkin’ ^_^

  2. Thanks! :-)

    For the second picture, I used Wacom Volito 2 tablet, very nice model, works very well with Fireworks, Flash and Illustrator (I think it may be discontinued by now, but probably Wacom released a similar/better successor). Pressure with Fireworks works OK, but settings for it are quite hidden within its interface — if you have troubles finding them, drop me a note, I’ll help! :)

    But Fireworks lacks one very important feature, when you draw with a tablet: ‘smoothing’ option, which can be found in Flash and Illustrator. If you set smoothing to 50% in Fl or Ai, you get much better results than without it. Fw doesn’t support smoothing, so I prefer drawing in Ai/Fl and then importing my image in Fireworks, for final export.

    Drawing with a Wacom tablet in Flash is especially nice and easy, you should try it out! :)

    So, I’d suggest to get one basic Wacom model and start experimenting right away — you won’t regret it! :-)

  3. Thanks for the insight, Michel! :)

    I’m relieved to know that Fireworks has tablet support with pressure sensitivity. Now I’m going to get one for sure! I’m not sure about smoothing, but I have Flash and Ai if it’s really needed. :-)

    Thanks again, and have a great day!

  4. @SiamJai:

    Glad that I helped!

    Yes, smoothing is great for easy use of a tablet, so I definitely would recommend Ai or Fl for that. But pressure is supported in Fw, so at least, some of the functionality is there… :)

    When you get a tablet, you can try Ps/Fw/Ai and see which one suites best your needs! :) For me, Flash is the best option — but for anything vector, I would almost always revert to good ol’ Fireworks!

  5. Hi Michel,

    I got a Wacom Bamboo for Christmas and right now I’m having fun trying it with all three apps, like you recommended. I was glad to see that it works in FW CS4. And now I really know what you meant by that smoothing option, it makes a big difference! I agree that it’s a pity that FW doesn’t have that. I think I’ll stick with Ai for this sort of work, because that’s an app I’m more familiar with (plus, Flash converted some of my testing hearts into triangles, lol).

    I’ll still use the tablet in FW for masking and marquee, it’s much more precise than the mouse.

    Again, thanks for the recommendation and for the great advice! :-)

    Merry Christmas and keep on Fireworkin’ ! ^_^

  6. @SiamJai:

    Yay, the WACOM Bamboos are cool tablets! :-)

    Glad that it works for you. For creating smooth vector lines and shapes, the Illustrator is the best choice — I set one of its vector brushes (Blob brush, most of the time) to 50% smoothing, also specify pressure sensitivity for it (you can make lines more fat or more thin by using pressure with the pen! — btw, you can do these things in Fw, too, under Stroke options > Advanced, in the PI) and start creating smooth vectors right away!

    Flash can be very fun, too, when creating vector artwork with a tablet.

    Experiment at will, and if you create anything great, don’t forget to post it somewhere! ;-)

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