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Jessie's Beginner's Guide To Adobe Illustrator
By GoaliGrlTilDeath   |   Watch
48 10 1K (1 Today)
Published: August 14, 2014
© 2014 - 2019 GoaliGrlTilDeath
This guide has been about three years in the making (granted, I forgot about it for long stretches of time) but here it is! If you're just starting out with Illustrator and are lost and confused, this guide is for you! I'm hoping that what I've said is clear and easy to understand, and hopefully engaging enough to keep you reading. I haven't covered everything Illustrator can do (there's books and books for that) but I did try and cover some of the basics:
  • PART 1: Your Playground
    Overview of what you’re looking at when you open Illy.
  • PART 1B: Your Tools
    A handy cheat-sheet and explanation of what all of those tools do. Sort of.
  • PART 2: The Pen Tool
    An intro to the #1 most important tool in all of Illustrator.
  • PART 3: The Direct Select Tool
    This is the tool to fix any shortcomings in your skills with the pen.
  • PART 4: The Layers Panel
    The scariest part of Illustrator for many people is making sense of the Layers Panel. Let me hold your hand and show you what’s what.
  • PART 5: Pathfinder Panel
    Your one-stop shop for merging and hacking up shapes.
  • PART 6: Guides
    This may be familiar, but is it really?
  • PART 7: Artboards
    Reference points, export tools, or fluff? An intro to the coolness that is Artboards.
  • PART 8: All Them Preferences
    An overview of some of the important options in the Illustrator preferences, including how to get rid of those stinkin’ picas.
  • Part 9: Strokes
    Strokes are so much more than outlines to shapes. Find out how to make them different widths, styles, even create custom variation to your line widths using custom Stroke Profiles!
  • Part 10: My Curves Look Like Crap And I Want To Fix Them
    Every beginner struggles with curves and making them look smooth and natural. This section will help you with some common fixes.
  • Part 11: General Tips
    Stuff that didn’t deserve a whole page and didn’t fit nicely into one of the previous categories.

Bullet; Red Bullet; Red This guide is writen using CS5 as a base; yes we're up to CC 2014 but virtually everything here still applies. In the future I plan on writing supplements to address changes and newer features to the updated versions of Illustrator.

Bullet; Red Bullet; Red It's a 24 page PDF! If you cannot view it in your browser feel free to download it and view it that way. Also, things are hyperlinked so you can click on the table of contents to go to those pages, and any pink underlined text as well.

Bullet; Red Bullet; Red Let me know if I screwed up or am missing anything. It's a work in progress, and I anticipate needing to add sections or modify content.

No, I'm not affiliated with Adobe, I don't own any rights to their software, and I'm not claiming ownership of any of the tips and techniques in this. It's a general guide meant to help newbies out. I'm not making any money off this guide, either. That being said, please don't steal my hard work. If you'd like to distribute this, please leave my credits in tact and link back here if you can. It's been a ton of work. Respect that please.
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lluluwa's avatar
Oh my gosh, this deserves more favorites T__T It's so concise and thoughtful, and so much easier to understand than other tutorials I've come across so far. I love you forever for making this.
GoaliGrlTilDeath's avatar
GoaliGrlTilDeathProfessional Digital Artist
Aw, thank you! :blush: It was fun to write and I'm really glad it was helpful for you!
Bocephushere's avatar
BocephushereStudent Traditional Artist
Thank you.
GoaliGrlTilDeath's avatar
GoaliGrlTilDeathProfessional Digital Artist
You're welcome! I hope it helps.
DeathOfAWhisper's avatar
THIS IS FABULOUS. holy crap. T___T 
GoaliGrlTilDeath's avatar
GoaliGrlTilDeathProfessional Digital Artist
Also, if you use this and run into more questions or things that aren't clear, or it spawns all new questions, feel free to ask me! I'd be super happy to help!
GoaliGrlTilDeath's avatar
GoaliGrlTilDeathProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you! :la: choir 
It was a lot of work, so I'm glad you think it's fabulous :happybounce: 
darkphilious's avatar
darkphiliousHobbyist General Artist
This must have taken quite some time, thank you for your effort! It's very detailed. For a beginner like me, it has helped me out a lot. Very nice tutorial and definitely worth the download. :D
GoaliGrlTilDeath's avatar
GoaliGrlTilDeathProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you very much! It did take a long time, over the course of a few years (I get distracted easily :paranoid: ) but I'm really glad it's come in handy for you!

And if you ever have any questions that I didn't cover, feel free to ask. I love helping out people learning :aww:
darkphilious's avatar
darkphiliousHobbyist General Artist
That's nice, thank you! I'm still trying to figure things out, I just got Illustrator today so I'm clueless. ^^; If I ever have questions, I'll be sure to ask you. :D
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