Introduction to Illustrator

A disclaimer to anyone reading this; this page is not finished I just published it today so that all my posts are in the correct order. Please come back later to read the finished article. Sorry for the inconvenience.

To begin using Adobe Illustrator you must first understand how to navigate your work space. Once you open and load up Photoshop you will be greeted by a welcome menu and your work-space in the background. Even before opening a new document, go ahead and close that welcome window so we get a clear look at our work-space. At the very top you will find the Drop Down Menu, on the left side you should see your Tools, and on the right side you should see Color, Swatches, and Layers. Illustrator_01If you don’t see these in your work space, you can go ahead and click on the “Window” tab in your Drop Down Menu where you will be able to turn on all the windows mentioned above simply by clicking on them.Illustrator_02Now to create a new document simply Click on “File” in the Drop Down Menu and select new or click Control+N for the hotkey. Once you’ve done that you will get the following pop up window asking you to create the name, dimension, and aspect ratio for your document.Illustrator_02 Just make sure to click on the little “Advanced” toggle down at the bottom to reveal more options, and make sure you change the Color Mode to “RGB” and leave the rest as default for now. Now press “Ok” and now you have a brand new Untitled document with 1 layer.Illustrator_05Once you have a document to work in, you can begin testing out some of the tools on the left:

  • The Select Tool (V) is one of your main tools in Illustrator because it is used to select everything to allow you to begin working. Unlike Photoshop, to do almost anything in Illustrator you must first use the Select Tool (V) to select and object and then you can begin manipulating it. You can also use the Select tool to link to content like text or images my opening up “File” in your Drop Down Menu and selecting “Place.”

    Shift + Command + A” to deselect
  • The Rectangle/Oval and other Shape tools can be used to create basic shapes, good for a base start or with holding down Shift you can make uniform shapes like square and circles. You get a fill and a stroke to manage.
  • Type can be used to write out things and it allows u to edit the font and u cane use the select tool to place type instead of typing it as well.
  • Colours for your shapes or text can be selected up on the top by using your Select tool to select the object you would like to effect and choosing the fill and/or stroke colours you would like to assign. The foreground color is represented by a solid square, the stroke is represented by a hollow box, and you can switch between the two by selecting whichever one you want to be active on the very bottom of your tool bar. The active option will always be in the foreground.

On the left you should  be aware of your Colors, Swatches, and layers for now.

  • Another way of selecting colours is through your Colors Panel on the right hand side and depending on weather you have the fill or stroke color selected, that colour will effect.
  • Swatches allows you to select from a library of pr-recorded colours or to record the colours that you would like to use in future projects. To create a new swatch you can ether click the “New Swatch” on the bottom right of you Swatches window or just drag a colour you already have selected to the “New Swatch” button and your colour will be a swatch. When creating a new swatch you get a “New Swatch” window that pops up. Here you can name the swatch, adjust your colours to fine tune them, or you can make it a global colour by selecting the global option. Making a color global allows you change all the colours that have that colour applied to them by just adjusting the global swatch colour in your swatches pannel. You can create a new color group to ether organize your colours by clicking on “New Color Group” on the bottom of the swatches window or you can  To find your spot colours like the Pantone’s, click on your swatch library in the bottom left of the Swatches Panel and go to Color Book.
  • Color Guide can adjust the colours in your entire document from one central location. Select the object you want to change with your Select Tool(V) and click on the “Edit or Apply Color Property” bottom of your “Color Guide” menu. In the “Edit Colors” popup window select your Harmony Rule and you can edit the artwork from there.
  • Layers are extremely important in Illustrator.


Outline Mode: “Command + Y”

Hide or Show selection lines with “Command + H”


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