Adobe Illustrator is an incredibly powerful art tool designed by the wizards at Adobe for designers, marketers and creative minds all over the world to generate amazing pieces of work for their professional and personal projects.
Typically used for logos, cartoons, graphics and vector images, the tools can be extremely daunting for those who have just bought the platform or started their free trial. If you’re new to the program, here are ten insanely useful tips you won’t know what you did without knowing.
Get to Know Your Work Environment
Before you jump straight into the white space on Illustrator to try and create something, take your time to get to know the software that you’re using. Obviously, you’ll see the main menu at the top followed by the control panel but check out the left and the right-hand side where you’ll find the panel docking area and the tools panel.
Learn what’s here and where everything is so you can quickly find what you’re looking for every time.
Experiment with Colour
For beginners, it’s easy to mix up Photoshop and Illustrator, and some even believe they are the same thing. However, Illustrator is so much more powerful in ways that Photoshop could never be. For example, when it comes to the vibrancy of the colours you can use in Illustrator, things get exciting.
These are known as Swatches, and by making your way to the Swatch Library within the program, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
Learn the Save Your Files Properly
“When it comes to saving your work, make sure that you’re saving it in the right format, even when saving in vector format. You don’t want to spend hours slaving away at a piece, only to find that you’ve saved it in the lowest quality format possible” shares James Goring, a designer working for Top Canadian Writers.
Use the Pen Tool
The fountain-pen shaped cursor is probably one that you’re a little timid to try, especially when starting out. However, the tool is quick to learn and highly effective when you know-how.
It can take time to learn how to use it properly but there is a tonne of tutorials online and learning it sooner rather than later can be hugely beneficial.
Learn How to Use Pattern Options
Pattern Options is a relatively new feature that has been added to Illustrator since CS6 but is easily one of the most popular. Although you might not want to use the feature on every piece of work you do, there is a tonne of uses that it can provide, no matter how big or small they may be.
In short, this feature can allow you to make seamlessly textures and texture pack files which can be used in modelling jobs, video games and cartoons, so there are infinite possibilities.
Just like most other Adobe products, you need to use layers in your workspace to manage everything that is going on. You can easily manage your layers using the panel on the bottom right-hand side of the screen, but you’ll need to make sure that you’re using it.
“Naming, structuring and labelling your layers can make things so much easier for you when you’re working on a piece so make sure you get into the habit of using them” states Jessica Kemp, an Adobe Illustrator freelancing for UK Top Writers.
Creating Your Own Custom Brushes
One of the biggest perks that come with Illustrator is the fact that you can design, create and use your own custom paint brushes with the software. If you’re struggling to draw that perfect line of the right thickness or density, create a custom brush for the job.
This can be an incredibly time-consuming task, especially when you’re experimenting with all the creative ways you can use your new brushes, so put time aside to learn the basics first.
Have You Ever Used Clipping Masks?
“When I was starting out in Illustrator, I avoided the Clipping Masks feature as long as I could. Learning how to use these masks can be incredibly helpful when it comes to manipulating your images and vectors and is easily one of the most used tools on the platform by professionals” exclaims Janice Manns, a UX designer at Revieweal.
Use Online Tutorials
It’s worth mentioning that there is a tonne of online resources when it comes to Illustrator in the form of blogs, articles and tutorials that you should never forget about. If you’re struggling to carry out a certain task or you’ll looking for a way to do something, or you’ve simply forgotten what tool you need to use, Google is your best friend.
Learn to Experiment
There’s no better way to learn something than just jumping in and giving it a shot. Get yourself an image and play around with it, try and different tools and see what does what. Using all the tips above and your online experience, you’ll be able to master the tools, so you can achieve some great things.
About the Author:
Rachel Summers is an experienced writer living and working in the UK. She works as a journalist specialising in education, including Australian Reviewer, as she has a passion for helping students get the most out of their years in school. Her writing focuses on tips for making school easier for people who are studying and tools that can help them get the assistance they need.