Adobe Illustrator 101: Tutorial

Adobe Illustrator 101. (Using Adobe Illustrator CS)

Ok this is a tut for illustrator, but there are a few differences between illustrator and photoshop you should know.

Illustrator is for line work and shapes, not photorealism.

Illustrator uses fills and strokes, this is a bit different than how uses color.

Successful Illustrator work depends on you, not filters.

Ok, so first you’ll want to find a resource image. Im going to use this:

Then in illus. open a new document. Then go to File >Place. And place your image in the work space.

For inspiration, here are some designs we have created using Adobe for our shop. This stencil of an elephant is a hand drawn design that we converted to vector format. To compare here is something that was made using .AI from scratch this owl stencil for example.

Then with the image selected, Go to Object >Lock >Selection. This will prevent you from moving the resource image around. So now we can get started.

The most important thing about Illus. is the pen tool (Next to the type tool in the tool palette). And its unlike any other tool you might be accustomed to.

Ok, with the pen tool selected, you’ll need to choose a color. I like to choose a stroke color that is bright and different than the colors in the picture. I also like to turn the fill color off, its much easier to see what you are doing.

So with your colors how you want them, its now necessary to know how the pen tool works.

When ever you click on your work with the pen tool it creates an anchor point and draws a line between the two points. If you connect the last anchor point to the first anchor point, then it will create a solid shape.

If you hold down when you make an anchor point, you can move the mouse to create a curved line. This adds 2 more points. These points can then be moved around with the white arrow tool to change the curved line to how you want it. Also, once you create a curved anchor point, you can go back to that anchor point with the pen tool and click it to so the next anchor point wont be curved.

Now we create a new layer in the layer palette so we can draw on top of the image.

We know how to use the pen tool and we can start drawing over the image.

This is when you have to determine what you want to draw, and what you don’t.

Once you have the outlines of what you want, you can go back and select an object and fill it with a color. You can also change the size of the stroke in the stroke palette. Once you have the image you want, you can also edit the objects so you don’t have islands, or put in bridges where you need them. For some ideas take a look at our animal stencil designs and maybe you’ll find some inspiration.

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