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Illustrator Shelby Lathrop November 1, 2010

Posted by gravityshade in Illustrator.

Ok, So I have a lot to say about this station, things that were confusing when I first started out, and things that would have helped a lot to know in the beginning. Of course, no one knows anything when they first start out.

First off, the tablet is mostly self explanatory, But it can take some getting used too. You plug it in to a USB port to start with.

Going towards the top of the tablet will always move the mouse up on the screen, no matter which way your hand is going. You have to try to avoid rotating the tablet like you would a normal drawing. But, with practice, you get used to it. I recommend just drawing strait lines/circles and clicking on various things to get used to it.

When you first open Illustrator, there are several  document types you can choose from. I used basic RGB type, very simple.

Line drawings are good in illustrator in that you can manipulate the line after you’ve drawn it. So, you can have one massive line that goes all around your drawing and you don’t have to worry about loosing it or making a mistake. Sometimes though, it might not get what your asking it to do, so you have to realign it several times. So while you wanted you shape to be a little more round, you might have ended up, somehow, with a corner. It’s easy to fix, just try it again and the program will usually get it.  I would recommend using the pencil tool for this, the brushes are not good for basic lines.


After the line drawing is complete, you can use live paint bucket to fill in color. Paint Bucket is a little annoying after you convert the lines to a paint group, because any lines inside the group are ignored. You have to start from the inside out when converting things such as eyes, which are circles within circles. Converting means that you are connecting lines to make shapes that the bucket can paint. It won’t convert if the line is not closed, and its not like the Photoshop bucket, which colors everything that’s similar/connected to the place you clicked. Live paint bucket requires you specify the area you want it to paint. If you want to paint a circle, draw a circle, the highlight it. Then click the live paint bucket symbol in the Ai window, and click the circle. It will turn red, and you know it worked. If not, try again and make sure your circle is closed.

The paint bucket has a wide variety of colors it can use, including gradients. to find these, click swatch library from the swatches window. (if you can’t find the swatches window, click ‘window’ at the top of the screen, then checkmark swatches.) The swatches library is one of the symbols at the bottom of the swatches window. And a menu should appear, and you can pick from there. (a note, the pencil and brush tool also have libraries you can use, I highly recommend exploring them. Really.)

After that, It’s a matter of exploring and taking the time to click on and figure out what every tool does. Look up good basic tutorials online and in the book that show the screen shots and not just the drawings. And don’t be afraid to click the help button if there’s something that’s confusing. Here is the final I created with Illustrator. The blue circle around is a good example of a gradient from the live paint bucket, as are the changing tones in the clothing and eyes.

Voila! Look, it’s a book cover…



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