Learn Adobe Illustrator: Create your Unique Greeting Card | Valeria Frustaci | Skillshare

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Learn Adobe Illustrator: Create your Unique Greeting Card

teacher avatar Valeria Frustaci, Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Gather Inspiration


    • 4.

      Let's Sketch


    • 5.

      Adobe Illustrator: Basics


    • 6.

      Vectorize Our Sketch


    • 7.

      How to Save a Ready-to-print File


    • 8.

      The Back and Inside of the Card


    • 9.

      Where to Print and... It's Your Turn!


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About This Class

Hello! My name is Valeria and I am an Illustrator and Graphic Designer.

This course will teach you the basics of Adobe Illustrator through the creation of a Greeting Card. I've created many and I've been never tired to design a new one! If you are an artist and want to start selling your cards into your online shop or you just want creating something special for your beloveds you will learn tips and tricks about Adobe Illustrator and how to have a perfect ready to print file. I will teach you how to create a Unique Greeting Card starting from gathering inspiration to design it in Illustrator.

It will be real fun and after this class you will have something unique for your online shop or for someone special. Let's start!

What you'll learn

  • What tools you need
  • How to gather Inspiration
  • Draw and sketch with a pencil or a pen
  • New document in Illustrator and basic tools
  • How to vectorize a sketch in Adobe Illustrator
  • Color your illustration and choose a font
  • Prepare the final file: a ready-to-print file
  • Where to print (website and suggestions)

What you'll need:

Want to see some of my works? Follow me here Valeria Frustaci Instagram or click here: www.valeriafrustaci.com

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Valeria Frustaci



Hello, I'm Valeria.

I'm an italian illustrator and I have moved in New York City in 2016. I like to travel and to sketch what I see: my sketchbook is always with me. My little dog Olivia too!

I have worked as Illustator and Graphic Designer for almost 9 years, especially in the Publishing and Stationery industries. Some of my clients are: Mondadori, INK Publishing, RCS, Einaudi Edizioni EL, UncommonGoods and others. In 2013, 2014, 2018 and 2019 I was selected for the Italian Illustrator Annual. I am a versatile designer, positive to work with and always ready for the next challenge. I am proficient in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Procreate.

I have recently discovered a new passion: hand lettering design. Have a look at my Instagram profile: it's the place ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. I'm Valeria Frustaci and I am an illustrator and graphic designer. I was born in Italy, but I've been living in New York City since 2016. I always loved colors, paper, and drawing, but I decided later to become a professional illustrator. I didn't know when I was a child that you could be a professional illustrator. After the Bachelor in Architecture, I decided to study illustration and graphic design in Milan, and after two years, I started working with many publishing houses in various clients. At that time, I fell in love with Adobe Illustrator, but a lot of my classmates found the Illustrator hard to use and I know many of you feel the same. But after this class, you will learn the basics and you'll be able to do a lot of great things in Illustrator. One of the things I like to do is creating original and unique greeting cards. It's always nice to receive a greeting card, but it's awesome receiving one designed just for you. If you want to design a special greeting card for your mom or your boyfriend, or maybe you want to sell your cards on your online shop, join me and follow this class. I'll teach you to use Illustrator and design your special card. At the end of the class, you will have a ready-to-print file and you will be ready to draw and sketch easily with Illustrator. So let's start. 2. Tools: Hello, everybody am very happy you are here and I'm happy that we are starting together this class. Before we start, we need essentially three tools. I'm going tell you which one are, first of all we need the paper. We can use simple white paper like this one that I'm going to show you. Just papers, very simple or maybe you can use also sketchbooks like this one or have also this that is a little bit larger. You can use sketchbooks if you have. I personally love sketchbooks, I buy a lot, probably too much, but I really like them so I have plenty of sketchbooks. You can use this and then you'll need something like a pen, very easy to find or something like this colored. It doesn't matter the color. It could be black, blue or pink, wherever you like. Then the most important tool is Adobe Illustrator. It's a software as you already know probably, and there is a free version that is temporary, but you can download it and I'll post the link later. Let's start. 3. Gather Inspiration : The best thing to do to gather inspiration is still going out and observe the world around us. Especially in this period, we stay always in front of our computers, Googling, using Pinterest and so on. We spend not a lot of time outside, but if you have the chance, just go outside, just for a walk, maybe around the nature or go to a museum, an exhibition or something like that. You'll discover that the world is plenty of inspiration everywhere. Choose something that you usually like and try maybe to write something during your observation, during your walk and then, use these words once you'll be home to think about it and find some ideas to work on. Another suggestion for you is to create an inspiration board. An inspiration board is a physical or digital collage of ideas. It collects photos, illustration callers, images, quotes, words, fabrics and everything else you can use. It helps you to start focusing on your project. The inspiration board I'm showing you is the one I use to create some patterns in the greeting card, I will show you how to realize later in the next videos. As you can see the board is a collection of photos I took personally in a botanic garden and at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. I found other photos and illustrations using Pinterest and then, I chose some color palettes I liked. I also put a quote that I liked, even if I didn't use it for this project. Now you are ready to go and collect pictures or materials and create your board. Remember, have fun. 4. Let's Sketch: Welcome again. I hope you are all doing well and that you find a lot of interesting things to photograph. That's because in this lesson, we are going to use all the materials we collected and the inspiration board to start sketching on paper. This is one of my favorite part in the process. I love drawing and i love the freedom I can have. This is the part where you can express yourself and put on the paper every idea you have. The first thing to do is clean your desktop on the table when you are going to sketch because I find that I work better if my desktop is clean and empty. Usually is not empty, but because i have a lot of things and tools and computers and so on, but it's clean right now. This is just my process. But I think it's better to put some new ideas on paper if you have a clean space around. Take your paper or sketchbook and your pencil or pen, as you prefer. You can start sketching and doodling very freely. Look at your photos may be or at your board if you need some references, but don't be worried. In this bar you don't need to draw perfectly, this is just an initial sketch. You need to decide what to put on your greeting card. You can decide to put some words in it or just the sketch, It depends on the occasion and your preferences. My card in this case will be a celebration of spring. I know a lot of people did love this season and they want to create a card to celebrate it. As you can see, I start sketching some rectangles. They don't need to be very precise, but something like that. Usually, the standard size of a greeting card is rectangular. We'll talk later about the sizes but for now we just take these rectangles as examples. In my board that I showed you before, I have some pictures of garden tools that I really like and I want to sketch them. For example, Let's do a watering can. I don't know, like this. The sketch doesn't need to be perfect, It's just to have an idea of what you can use later on your card. This is just a rough sketch for example, the watering can could be something like that. Maybe we can use also the scissors. This big scissors you usually see when someone is gardening. Something like that, I'm looking at my picture as it is in this moment so I can have an idea of how this is where I start. The shape of this scissor is like this. Literal rig, maybe a literal rig we can use this, something like that. Then I'd put some flowers so roses, daisies may be. I don't know, I want to sketch some leaves too. I want also to write something like hello spring. Inputs, as a said, some flowers. Probably, I don't know, the one that I prefer now is this one, I don't think I've figured it out how to put this stuff into cards later. Maybe I'm going to use also these here. I'm going to use it for our digital version. Now I am going to do a more detailed sketch and this will be the one that I will use later as a reference to draw my card digitally in Adobe Illustrator. This is probably my final sketch. This is the one that I'm going to use later. We can go to the next video. 5. Adobe Illustrator: Basics: Now we're going to use Illustrator. If you're another very familiar with it, there's no problem at all. We'll see how to use some of the basic tools and you can follow me step-by-step. Just make sure to download the trial version if you don't have it already. This is the first thing Illustrator is going to show you. So here you have to choose a new document like here or create new. I'm going to click on the create new button. It's opening a new window and you have multiple choices here. The typical standard size of a greeting card is five inches per seven inches. In the menu on the right here, We can put five inches so make sure to select the inches not the other points because millimeters and etc and in the eight, seven inches. Your orientation is this one for now, Artboards one. That's correct. There's need to make sure that the color mode is CMYK color because it's the one that you need for printing your card is the correct one. Terrestrial effect, high, also for the printing purpose. These are our options, so let's click create. Here we are, this is our page. I can show you how to visualize the rulers on the page, so you have two click command R. You can see now, you can visualize this stuff here. You can check that your white page is five inches per seven inches. You can also change here later, if you prefer centimeters for example, you can change it. But for now we are working in inches so I'll keep the inches. That's good if you have to do something very precise. Size that I've selected for the front card. This is just a front card and now we're going to focus on the front. Now let's have a look at the menu on Illustrator. We have this menu on the left and we are not going to use all these tools but just some of these tools. If you pause the cursor on each of them, you can see the name of each tool. So this is very useful. The pen tool, the type tool, the rectangle tool, etc. You can also clicking on it, open the other window and you can see there's no just the rectangle tool but there's round rectangle tool [inaudible] tool, etc and you can select one of these. Today, we are going to use the pen tool. Sometimes I use the pencil tool, where is the pencil? Here, let me see pencil tool and for sure, the rectangle tool and text tool. Probably we're going to use three or four tools of this menu. On the other menu on the right here, you can see there is the color selector. For example, if I select here a rectangle, I can choose here the color of the rectangle and also this or make this none so you have all these options, you can change the color from here or from here. You can also visualize the layers here. The layers are like your different pages. You can work just on one layer if you're designing simple, there is no problem or if you want to have something more complicated, it's better to create new layers here and then you can block it if you don't want to touch this. You see you cannot select this because everything on layer one is blocked and you can do something else here. This rectangles are on the second layers, etc. Usually, use more layer, for example, one layer is for the text, one layer is for the design and if I have more things to put on my card, I create new layers after. Also you have the stroke line, this is useful sometimes if you work with stroke, for example, if I use the pen tool I can start to design something, you see some shape like this and I can change the color as we've seen before. You can also work on the stroke. Now the stroke is one point you can do that, so it can be bigger, you can change the corner, the cap, align the strokes, etc. It change the shape of it. This could be useful to start sketching on Illustrator. Before everything else, Just take a picture with your phone of the sketch that we have done before. For example, I don't have a scanner and I always use my phone to do this. If you have a scanner, you can use it. But just make sure to save the picture in your greeting cards folder on your computer and now we're going to place it in our document. Okay, so now we have to place our sketch in our documents. To do that, just see the menu on the top here, click file and click place. There's also this keyboard shortcut if you prefer. Place. We have to open our spring greeting cards sketch, place and just just click it to use this selection tool, the black one and scale it though. Have this picture, kind of the dimension of my block here and place it here. I was talking about layers before, so for me this layer will be sketch. I name it and I block it. Select the picture and reduce the opacity. You can see the sketch but just not too much evident because you are going to draw on it. So you need to reference. So I create another layer and this layer will be text and the other one will be design. I usually put the texts on top of it. Okay, now we have to remember that we need to save this document, this is very important so file and save, spring greeting card. The format is Adobe Illustrator for now and save. 6. Vectorize Our Sketch: Welcome to the next phase. Now, we are going to draw in Adobe Illustrator. We have our sketch here and now we're going to use the Text Tool. This is a Text Tool, select it and just do that and write your text, for me is Hello Spring. Now, you can see here there's a menu character menu, you have to choose the font that you like. I really like the Gardenia one that I found online. Now, this is too little for my cards, so I'm going to select here the dimension like this and I center it. Probably this is the one to correct size for this one. I want to give does it effect, so just select your text to that, and click this make envelope tool. There is the warp options. This is one of the option, the art, there's many. I'm going to use the art and I just one to bend a little bit less like 20 percent, yeah 20 percent is fine and "Okay". I'm going to lock it so I can not click it anymore. I'm going to click on the design layer and start sketching. I've already done my sketches so I can show you, they are here. For example, this is the rake, but I'm going to show you how to do that. For example, I'm going to do that with the pen tool. Select the Pen Tool is here and just click following your sketch like this. You see, it's pretty easy. Just connect the dots. Then you can change the color. This is selected, you can change the color like green or whatever you like. I'm going to select this one. Then I'm going to use my keyboard and click "P". The P is the shortcut for the pen tool, so it's faster to choose it. I'm going to sketch the other part. Let me see I can do this color. You can just choose some colors right now and then change them later if you don't like it. You can think about it later. Just draw and think about the colors later. This part is already done. This part can be on the top or down. You can do Object, Arrange, Bring to front, Bring forward, etc., and use these shortcuts too. I want this part to the front of my a sketch. Then you can do this and continue to sketch following your design. Just to show you, I can use the pencil tool, sorry, pencil tool and draw like this more freely. You see? This color are not the final one. You can change them because if you select your shape and then select this Direct Selection Tool, the white one, you can click on the dots and change the shape of your figure. I can do that and that. It takes some time, but it's worth it. If you have too many dots, you can just go to the Pen Tool and select the Delete Anchor Point Tool and you can erase some dots. Your design will be more simple to change. We can do the same with the watering can. Remember to save. Now, another layer that I usually use is the background layer. I create a new layer, put it here or here, that's better. I'm going to call it background. In the background, I just use the Rectangle Tool and I'm going to do this thing. I need that five by seven inches rectangle. I like this color, so I'm going to use it like my background and I'm going to lock it. Now, you have your elements sketched and you just need to figure out the colors and the location for each one. I'm going to use the one that I've sketched before, this one, this is one, this is one in my design, it's too much stuff here. I'm going to scale a little bit, so I select all my object and I'd just reduce them like this. This are all my elements, the elements that I want to put on my card. I don't really like the green background with a black text, so I'm going to change the color of the text. Just select the text and click on it and change the color. I think I prefer something like this pink on the green background. After we have placed all our elements, we have our card. To know if the card works just follow your instinct. For example, my rule is to take a minute and look at the card. If I say, I'm going to buy this card, I am probably in the right direction. It means that I like it, that I like the colors, that I like the composition. Always ask yourself, I'm going to buy this? Probably, yes, no. If it's no, it means that it's not working. If it's yes, I love it, I'll buy it, this is derived direction. 7. How to Save a Ready-to-print File: Now we have our card ready but not ready to print because this is the file we've created in Adobe Illustrator. But now we have to learn how to save a copy ready for print. It's very easy. Let's go to file, save, you can save as or export. For example, I usually use export, export as to save a JPEG file. You can choose here PNG, BMP, you see all this formats, just choose J-P-E-G here. This is a compromise because it's not very high resolution file but it's not the lower. It's just a middle size format and it's good for printing. You can also choose the best quality that is T-I-F-F, the TIFF but for now I think JPEG it's enough for us. Spring greeting card and you can add just remember print so you know that is the right file for printing and click ''Export.'' Here you can see there's the color model that we chose at the beginning. You can decide the quality. I usually put the larger file for the printing purpose and everything else is fine. We saved our file now, let me have a look at this. Here. This is our ready to print file. I'm going to open with a preview. Here we are. Now we can use this file and print our cards in one of our website or to a local printer but before this phase, I want to share with you something else so be sure to follow me in the next video. 8. The Back and Inside of the Card: Hello again. Now we worked on the front of our card. But when you have to work with clients specifically, they usually ask not only for the front of the card, but for the entire card. An entire card is the double of this size. What I do usually is focus on my front card because it's the most important thing and then just modified the dimension. So click this button here, the art board tool and you can change the dimension from here. You have to double the size of this part. Let me see. It's five, so it will be 10 and just click "Okay". You can see we have double size the dimension and I just put the front card on the right and you have to imagine that this is exactly the middle of our card. It's going to be folded, this is the back and this is the front. Usually in the back they asked me to put a logo or some text here like these, with the website, the copyright, some information and perhaps, you can add some decoration here that I'm not going to do right now because this is our personal greeting cards. So we can choose whatever we want to put, for example, do something like a big ground color. This is much simpler. The same color that we chose, maybe the same dimension too, like that. You can see this is our background. It doesn't have to be very complicated, it could be just simple background color and we have to create also the inside of the card, we can, it's not necessary, but it's something that we can do. So click on the art boards and add a new art board here, it's the same dimension of the first one, so it's very easy and what the client usually ask me to do for the inside is to put some texts. So you can choose the text tool and say "enjoy the season". This is not my case, but if you are designing on Happy Birthday card, you can just write Happy Birthday like this and choose your font, the things that we saw before, so something like that. For example, Happy Birthday and be sure to center it. This is the middle of our card and something like that maybe choosing a color from the front of our current and now you have a complete design for your greeting cards. So this is the front, this is the back and this is the inside of the card. Of course you can add something more, whatever you like. But just remember to save this file, like a single file and the side of the card will be another file. So this is usually something that clients ask for. But we can see in the next video that we can use just the front of our card and some website do to work for us so they ask, what we want to add as a text inside the card. 9. Where to Print and... It's Your Turn!: Okay guys, we are in the last phase for our project, so now we have to decide where to print. We have multiple options. The first one is your local printer. If you have a local printer close to your apartment, your house, that's a good choice. Just go there and ask for some information, the prices and the given file, and I'm sure you will be fine. Maybe you have your personal printer. I don't have a printer. I think it's expensive sometimes, and the quality is not very high usually, but may be you have the greatest printer in the world, so this is one of the options you can have. Just make sure to have also a good paper. I usually use some websites. One of the websites that I like most is mu.com. I print their greeting cards, business cards, flyers, etc. The quality is very high for the paper and for the printing process. I suggest you to go there and have a look at their products. You can also ask them for some samples and it's free. The prices are not, maybe not very cheap. It's like high-quality printing. It's expensive, but something that you can afford if you want a very high-quality product. Another website that I use is vistaprint.com. It's very good. There's a wide range of products there and a lot of different greeting cards. This is a very good option too. Hey guys, so we are at the end of this class. I would like to thank you for following it. I want to say just a few words for your next steps. I know that Adobe Illustrator is a great software, but it's hard to use it at the beginning. It can take a while. But to feel comfortable to use it. But I assure you, just don't give up, continue to try and have fun doing it. At a certain point, you will be very comfortable in using it. It's the same process for every designer. Just start, try and then I'm more than sure that you will be able to improve your skills and everything will be much natural and much easier. This is derived recipe to succeed. In this class, we started using some of the tools to sketch and to create a product that you can actually hold in your hand. I will be very happy to see these products, to see these greeting cards that you are creating. If you want, if you like the idea, you can tag me on your Instagram profile if you are going to show this greeting card that you are creating, or also here in the Skillshare Project page. Also if you have some questions, just ask me and I will be more than happy to help you. I hope you enjoy this class and you can share it with your friends. keep in mind that it takes a little effort in the beginning, but then everything becomes more natural and fast and easier. You can start creating a lot of beautiful things. Thank you so much for following this class, and I'll be happy to see your projects.