Quick tricks in Adobe Illustrator | Tutorial for Beginner's

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A couple of my favorite adobe illustrator tricks. Follow along in the video to see how you can align graphics correctly, group different objects, create outlines, easily copy different font designs, take vector objects in to Photoshop and apply brush textures to strokes.

A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO LEARNING ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR

Adobe Illustrator is created for graphic designers to create scalable vector artwork for both print and website design. Images are created as vector graphics, which mean they can be scaled infinitely without losing quality.

Adobe Illustrator is most used for:

  • logos
  • icons
  • complex shapes
  • prints: flyers magazines and business cards
  • mockups and layouts for web projects

The program works well other adobe products most notably photoshop (for smart filters) and indesign (for printing projects).

SETTING UP A NEW DOCUMENT

To get started, set up a new document.

File > New > Document

Now we’re looking at the new document dialouge box

Setting up a document in adobe illustraotr
  • First name the document, this helps you keep organized.
  • Next, choose the profile. There’s several pre defined profiles like web, print, etc. Simply choose the one that best suits your needs.
  • There will always be the opportunity to change these pre defined settings, but if you’re just starting out. Feel free to keep them as is.
  • You can also change the number of artboards (we'll talk about those more in a bit).
  • There are several units of measurement. You are probably comfortable with inches or pixels. Go with whatever you’re most familiar with with, especially if you know you have an exact measurement you need to get printed (example: 8.5 x 11)
  • Orientation - Vertical or Horizontal layout.
  • You also have bleed options. This means that you can print your design right to the ends of the page - don't worry about this for now. If you need to print something, use a template from the printer so you're in the safe zones!
  • The color mode depends if you are designing for web or print. If you’re designing for print choose CMYK - for web choose RGB.
  • This is important because the resolution (aka the quality of how your design ends up) as well as the colors relies heavily on this choice.

Hit “OK” once you’re ready.

ARTBOARDS

You can have different designs in various artboards.

Window > Choose Artboards

Artboards
  • In the panel, you can see the various artboards. You can also delete or add artboards from the panel.
  • To work on one artboard at a time, simply click on an artboard twice.
  • You also have the artboard tool. You can easily resize and select various artboards when using this tool.
  • In the top menu, you can change the width and height so your artboard sizes are exact.
  • When using the artboard tool, simply click and drag to create a new artboard.

I use artboards to have different sections for each part of the project while staying in the same document. This is especially helpful when designing brand identities. In the same document, I might have the following artboards:

  • Moodboard
  • Logo Sketches
  • Logo Designs in black and white
  • Color Palette
  • Logo Design options in color
  • The final style guide

This helps keep everything together and I don’t have to have a bunch of different files to keep track of.

SHAPE TOOLS

It can be a little intimidating when using new programs. An easy way to get started is playing around with shape tools.

In the left panel, you’ll find the rectangle tool.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 8.03.12 AM

Simply click and hold on this rectangle and you’ll see all of the different shape options.

Here are some ways you can play with the various shapes:

  • Change the fill
  • Change the stroke
  • Add a pattern
  • Add a gradient
  • Apply a texture

You can easily change the width, height and even rotate the shape by playing with the various controls.

COLORS

You have multiple options when applying colors in Adobe Illustrator.

Swatch Library
  • Eye dropper tool - The eye dropper tool means you can choose a color from anywhere on the screen and apply it to your image.
  • Color Swatches - The program comes installed with tons of color swatches. There’s pantone, metallic, etc. You can view them all and access these in the swatches panel. Click the drop down menu > open swatch library.
  • Top Menu - A simple overview of colors that you can get.
  • Left Menu - Here is where I usually change my colors. It’s an easy way to switch between fill and stroke. You can also easily remove a fill or stroke with the strike through image.

Typography

Working with type is my favorite aspect of Adobe Illustrator.

Type Tool
  • Start by grabbing the type tool. You can simple click on the artboard or click and drag (to create a text box) and start typing.
  • You can change the color of the type in the many areas that you have available to you (see section above).
  • To control your type’s appearance, simply click the “character panel”. Or go to window > type > character.

In this panel you have many options.

  • Change the typeface
  • Change the style
  • Size
  • Kerning
  • Tracking
  • Leading
  • Uppercase
  • All Caps
  • Format paragraphs, alignment

Brushes

Window > Brushes

Access more brushes

If you’re familiar with photoshop, you may be interested in trying the brush tool.

There are various pre-installed stroke options aka “Brush definition”. If you would like more brush options, check out these cool ones from creative market.

To get started, simply click and drag to create a brush stroke.

If you would like to add a brush styled stroke to an existing design, simply select a shape and choose your brush. This gives the stroke a really organic and natural look and feel. Play around with the weight of the stroke (make it thicker or thinner) depending on the look you’d like to achieve.

Feel free to experiment with various colors to match your design or branding.

PEN TOOL

When utilizing the pen tool, you’re almost playing a game of “connecting the dots”.

The Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator

To start, simply grab the pen tool and start making a shape or line by clicking on the artboard.

You can add or remove anchor points by selecting the add or remove anchor point tool.

To convert or adjust points, select the “convert anchor point tool.”

Watch this video tutorial for a quick introduction to the Pen Tool.

MOST COMMON FILE FORMATS EXPLAINED

.AI = Navtive Adobe Illustrator Fille. Always have a copy of the native file saved!

.EPS = A common file to share with printers. If you ever purchase vector designs, you’ll want them in .EPS files so you can easily edit them.

.PDF = You’re probably familiar with PDFS. It’s a great option for saving ready to print items. Some printers will even request PDFS.

File > Export

Will bring you to even more file options, like .JPG or .PNG.

File > Save for Web

You have the ability to reduce the size so you can upload the image to your website.

LEARNING SHORTCUTS

Adobe Illustrator is created for graphic designers to create scalable vector artwork for both print and website design. Images are created as vector graphics, which mean they can be scaled infinitely without losing quality. Click to watch or pin and save for later!
Adobe Illustrator is created for graphic designers to create scalable vector artwork for both print and website design. Images are created as vector graphics, which mean they can be scaled infinitely without losing quality. Click to watch or pin and save for later!

Here is a helpful infographic so you can start moving around in Adobe Illustrator more quickly.