If you’ve never used Adobe Illustrator before, the program may seem overwhelming at first. There’s so much to it, where do you even start?
This is even true if you’ve come from another image editing tool, such as Photoshop. These top 10 tips and tools will help you get the most out of your time with Illustrator, and help you make great art.
1. Don’t Be Shy; Use The Pen Tool
Many beginners shy away from the pen tool, as it look much more complicated than anything else Illustrator offers. In fact though, you can get to grips with it easily, and make amazing art with it. If you’re not sure where to start, try looking for exercises online. They’ll show you how to use it, and soon you can make the most of this tool.
2. Use Color CC
One aspect of creating professional looking art is picking colours that work with each other. Illustrator has a tool already built in that can help you with this, called Color CC. “This tool helps you pick colours that work together from a colour wheel” says beginner designer Angela Hutton from Best British Essays. “I’ve used it to pick my colours and then save them to a palette, making it easier to find them again.”
3. Get To Grips With Bezier
The Bezier tool helps you create natural looking points and curves, that can add a lot to your illustrations. Again, it’s a good idea to look up tutorials if you want some ideas on how to use it. Another good idea is to use the shortcuts to make using this tool even easier. For example, holding down shift will snap your next point to a 45 degree angle.
4. Try Using Clipping Masks
Clipping masks are a tool that can make your work a whole lot easier, and every beginner should use them. They’re a tool that restrict any pattern or design to a pre determined area. If you can use them properly, they can save an awful lot of time.
5. Use Online Tools
There are other online tools out there that will help you create excellent illustrations, every time. Check a few of these out and see for yourself.
• EnvatoTuts+: This site offers a lot of assistance with Adobe Illustrator, including tutorials.
• UK Services Reviews: This has a lot of examples you can use to inform your learning with Illustrator.
• Adobe Support: If you encounter any issues with Illustrator, this is the place to go.
• Huffington Post: This site has a wide range of examples you can check out for Illustrator.
• State Of Writing: This site is a communication tool, you can put it to use improving the communication in your illustrations.
6. Make Use Of Pathfinder
Pathfinder, put simply, can help you make shapes out of other shapes. If the shape you want isn’t readily available, you may be able to make it using this tool. Once you have the basics down, it’s an easy tool to master and it comes in handy more times than you’d think.
7. Get Familiar With The Strokes Panel
When you create a shape in Illustrator, either with the pen tool or with shapes, an automatic stroke weight and definition will be applied to it. “Make sure you get to know the strokes panel, and make use of it” says professional designer Jeremy Allison from Revieweal. “This helps you get the most out of every shape you draw, and add some personality to your designs.”
8. Make Your Own Brushes
Many people don’t know that you can actually make your own brushes with Illustrator. If you’re finding that the basic tools aren’t quite what you need for the job, you can create them. Again, you can search online for good tutorials, or you can actually custom made tools online.
9. Practice Using Layers
The layers panel is one that you’ll have to get used to as an illustrator, especially if you’re going to be selling your work. Even if you’re not though, it’s a good habit to get into to start organising your layers as you work. Keeping them labelled, and removing layers that aren’t needed, can help you when you’re making edits to an image.
10. Keep Practicing
The most important tip to give you is to keep practicing with Illustrator. The more you use it, the more you’ll get used to it. Soon, you’ll be able to create amazing things with this image tool. You’ll get out exactly what you put into it, so keep going.
As you’re starting out, keep these 10 tips in mind. When you get comfortable with Illustrator, you can create all kinds of amazing things with it.
Keep practicing and keep learning with it, and you’ll be able to create images that really stand out from the crowd.