Coronavirus (COVID-19) information: All courses at all locations are available as live online classes. Limited in-person classes in some locations. Our offices remain open. Learn more.


Woman uses Adobe Illustrator to create family portraits

  • Published on May 6, 2014
Woman uses Adobe Illustrator to create family portraits

Kelsey Sargent, a 28-year-old graduate designer from Fargo, North Dakota, has found a fun and creative way to provide families with portraits of their loved ones. According to The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Sargent uses Adobe Illustrator to create cartoon pictures of people, pets and possessions most valued by the client.

Sargent starts by collecting information from interested individuals, such as their photographs, favorite hobbies and interesting facts. From there, she works her digital magic by creating a virtual representation of the person or couple based on info gathered from a questionnaire. In addition to using the application to form the portrait, she employs a number of different resources.

"I use Adobe Illustrator and combine elements from different photos, like if I like their hair better in one photo and their outfit in another," Sargent explained to the source. "Sometimes I look on Pinterest to see their style. I put a last name on them as well and incorporate some element that defines them, like a globe because they travel or books if they're into books."

Sargent began by merely creating these portraits as presents for friends and family members, but realized that she could charge money after receiving such positive feedback. She added that while this is not her full-time job, she has a great time integrating creative practices into her everyday life. 

The Fargo resident may have a unique side business, but she is not the only digital artist to use this application to transform real-life pictures into illustrations. The software has a number of features ideal for any user looking to replicate faces and objects, or for more adventurous artists who wish to create their own cartoons from scratch. American Graphics Institute offers Adobe Illustrator courses that go over these tools and how to best use them when creating alluring illustrations.

About the author

 is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices. Jennifer holds the CPUX-F credential from the UXQB.

Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern UX Design, and worked closely with the Microsoft Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including XD, Sketch, Balsamiq, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Blend for Visual Studio. She also works extensively in the fields of presentation design and visual design.