Adobe Illustrator

Adobe has created a collection of software products that all professional graphic designers and digital artists and photographers use every day. For our purposes while studying graphic design, we will primarily use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.

Illustrator is used to create graphics and logos because it employs vectors, which are geometric shapes and curves that can be resized and edited without sacrificing resolution or image clarity.

For a quick visual introduction, watch this short introduction from Train Simple. In addition, the five “free preview” videos posted below the main video offer quick explanations of some of Illustrator’s basic functions that will help you get started designing right away.


A few essential concepts to understand as you begin using Illustrator

 Bitmap vs. vector image quality: Discussed above, this tutorial video further explains the difference in image quality…

Working with layers: One of the main advantages of working digitally (instead of drawing our designs by hand with pen and paper) is that we can make infinite changes without starting over every time we want to see how a different color or font might look. By working in “layers,” we can divide our design into separate elements which makes it even easier to experiment by “hiding,” rearranging, and even duplicating those layers.

“Select” and “Direct Select” Tools: Otherwise know as the black arrow and the white arrow, these tools are described in this tutorial video.

Understanding Paths: In Illustrator, all artwork is based on “paths,” so it’s important to understand how they work. Paths are described in this tutorial video.

Drawing with the Pencil Tool: Drawing in Illustrator is a great way to create unique designs. The eight minute tutorial below is a great way to understand how to use the pencil tool so you can start making your own creations.

Researching Solutions on Your Own: Illustrator (and all Adobe software products) are complex and powerful. I have been using this software for more than ten years and I still don’t know all the tricks and commands. Furthermore, most of the techniques I use in Illustrator have more than one way of being accomplished. Which is actually a great thing! Because there are several methods to accomplish the same effect, we are capable of teaching ourselves how to use this powerful design software.

Inevitably we will get stuck and we will need help. My advice will always be… do a google search! Simplify your question (i.e. simplify “I need to change the color of my text” to “illustrator text color”).

In addition, Adobe has collected a series of tutorial videos that can be helpful if you’re looking for some advice. Check them out here.

Here are some concepts from the list of tutorials that you should check out: