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:
This guide is writen using CS5 as a base;
- 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.
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. 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. 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.