Learning Adobe Illustrator Without Losing Your Head


People new to Adobe Illustrator often say that they find the program complex and hard work. When we hold Adobe Illustrator classes in London, we acknowledge the need to help delegates get rid of the belief that Illustrator is a difficult piece of software to use. We have found that there are three main aspects to showing users that Illustrator is no harder or more annoying than any other application.

To start with, we show them how to read and understand the extensive visual clues provided by the software as you perform various operations. Next, we keep reminding new users how easy it is to revert your drawing back to the way it was before things started going wrong. And, finally, we keep telling our students that they have to highlight the right tool to be able to perform a give operation.

New users to Illustrator will often attempt to manipulate elements within their drawing without first activating the Selection tool. For example, they will create a shape with, say, the Ellipse tool and then, while the Ellipse tool is still active, they try to move or resize the shape they have just drawn or click on the page to attempt to deselect the shape. They then get puzzled and annoyed when little ellipses keep appearing in their drawing or Illustrator’s shape dimension dialogue box keeps on appearing.

The key factor in avoiding these types of errors is to keep looking at the various signals that the program provides, in particular those signals relating to the cursor appearance. For example, if you are attempting to resize a rectangle, you can only do this when your cursor changes to a slanted line with an arrow at each end (This indicates that your cursor is now in the correct position).

Another thing that new users find is that they are unable to carry out a certain operation because it is not permissible under the current circumstances or at that point in time. For example, you want to resize an object and you end up rotating or moving it instead.

Avoiding this problem is not hard. You just have to make sure that you have the right tool selected. So, if you want to manipulate an existing object, you just ensure that you have the Selection tool highlighted. One of the first shortcuts that we teach people who come on our Illustrator training courses is that you can temporarily activate the Selection tool by just pressing the Control key (or Command for Mac users).

If you have just started using a program like Illustrator, it is to be expected that you will make mistakes: things may go a little wrong or even get completely screwed up. The main thing is develop the “Undo reflex”. For example, if you move an object by accident, don’t try to manually put it back where it was, just choose Undo from the Edit menu or use the keyboard shortcut Control-Z (Command-Z on a Macintosh). If you Undo too much, you can use the Redo command to take you forward again. (The keyboard shortcut for the Redo command is Control-Shift-Z.)

This problem is easy to avoid. Always make sure that you are on the right tool. Thus, if you wish to manipulate an existing object, you have to ensure that the Selection tool is highlighted. One of the first keyboard shortcuts that we teach delegates who attend our Illustrator training courses is that you can temporarily activate the Selection tool by just pressing the Control key (or the Command key if you are using a Mac).

The writer of this article is a developer and trainer with TrainingCompany.Com, a UK IT training company offering Adobe Illustrator training courses in London and throughout the UK.

by illustrator
Image by asobitsuchiya
Masaru Fujimoto
Sasako Kosa
Manabi Yamaguchi
Harumin Asao

Love what you’re seeing? You can grab this awesomeness as a t-shirt design (plus 99 more!), just by following this link: http://bit.ly/1NpDRpO

This tutorial was made by one of the artists at http://www.designious.com, Ioana Șopov with a Wacom Intuos 5 drawing tablet. Check out more of her work here: http://behance.net/ioanasopov, and get similar design resources created by her and the rest of our talented team here: http://www.inkydeals.com. The tutorial was created in Adobe Photoshop CS5 & Adobe Illustrator CS6 and took 2 hours in real time.

The musical background is Gus Lightyear’s awesome chillout July 2013 mix which you can find here: https://soundcloud.com/guslightyear/chillout-ambient-downtempo-mix
No copyright infringement intended.

Be sure to check out Ioana’s previous tutorial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRff05FouDY
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