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Adobe Illustrator Tutorials for Beginners: Basic Techniques

When you first open Adobe Illustrator, the program can be a little intimidating. There’s a ton of different buttons and nothing really says what it is. Moving your mouse around, you can find out the names of the different tools when you highlight them, but you’re going to want to play around with them to really figure out what they can do. 

Instead of trying to just play and figure it all out on your own, it’s a good idea to look into the Adobe Illustrator tutorials available today. Not only will you figure out how to do things faster, but you’ll likely discover tips and tricks you might not have found on your own that make it much easier for you to create your own design. 

Adobe Illustrator offers you all of the tools you need to create your own designs, no matter how simple or complex they might be. Drawing in Illustrator takes some time to learn, but once you have the basics down, there’s actually a lot you can do. Right now, you may be wondering, what is Adobe Illustrator? With tutorials to help, you’ll soon move on to being able to create anything you could imagine. 

 

What Should a Beginner Learn First? 

The first question you may have is, what is Adobe IllustratorIllustrator is a graphics design program that enables anyone to create vector graphics. Vector graphics include drawings, logos, illustrations, and more. Basically, Adobe Illustrator is a very advanced program designed to enable you to digitally create designs you might want to use in print, in videos, or on the web.  

Beginners are going to want to learn about the Illustrator program to understand what all of their options are and what they can do with the program. You can check out beginner and advanced Adobe illustrator tutorials, even if you aren’t ready to follow along with them quite yet, just to get a better idea of how everything works and what you can create with the program. 

When you’re ready to start learning how to use Illustrator, the next step is to learn your way around the program and learn the basic techniques you’ll use for just about anything you might create. From the pen tool to adding colors or moving layers, there’s a lot you’re going to want to try out before you create your first image on your own.  

Tutorials can teach you how to use different tools, different techniques you can try or can take you step-by-step through creating a specific image so you can learn how everything works together and what you’ll want to do when you design your own image. You can choose the tutorials you want to do based on your previous experience with Adobe programs or your previous experience with graphics design using other programs if you have previous experience 

Know Your Way Around the Screen 

Before you learn how to use Adobe Illustrator, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the main screen. If you’ve never done graphics design before, this is likely going to all be new to you. The screen is set up in sections with related tools available in each section so you can easily find what you need. Some of the main parts of the screen you’ll want to become familiar with include the following.  

  • Menu – The main menu is the line of options across the top of the screen. This includes File, Edit, View, and Help like you might expect as well as a few other options you’ll want to learn about. This is where you’ll save projects, start new projects, and change your view. This is similar to the main menu in most computer programs but has options that are specific to Illustrator.  
  • Control Panel – The control panel is just below the menu and goes across the screen as well. This provides you with easy access to options for what you’re currently working on, such as changing the color or the size of something. If you’re using the pen, for instance, you can use this panel to adjust the pen settings. This can be moved if you want to customize your workspace and can become a floating panel.  
  • Toolbox – On the left-hand side of your screen is the toolbox. This includes links to many of the most commonly used tools. It can be adjusted to be wider if you would prefer more space to see the tools. When you need to work with a new tool for your design, this is where you’ll click to select it.  
  • Floating Panel – A floating panel provides further easy access to settings you might want to adjust or change when you’re working on a part of your design. Like the control panel, this can be moved if you would like to customize your workspace by putting it in a place that’s more easily accessible to you or by moving it so it isn’t in the way of what you’re trying to do.  
  • Artboard – The artboard is simply where you’re working on the design. It’s the space in the middle of the screen where your design is being created. Using the view menu in the main menu allows you to change the view of the artboard to your preferences.  
  • Status Bar – The status bar provides information about the design you’re working on, such as whether it’s zoomed in, how much you’ve zoomed in or out and when it was saved last. This is across the bottom of your screen so it’s easy to get information while you’re working on a design.  

Illustrator Tools and What They Can Do 

Many Adobe Illustrator tutorials have been created just to show you how a certain tool works. These are perfect for the beginner as you’ll get a lengthy introduction to the tools one at a time before you start trying to use them all to create a design. Some of the tools you’ll want to learn first may include the following.  

  • Pen and Pencil Tools – Drawing in Illustrator requires using the pen and pencil tools, but they can be hard to get used to at first. The pencil tool is not as precise as the pen tool, but both can be used for you to draw something on your screen. You can then use other tools to adjust what you’ve drawn.  
  • View Tools – View tools enable you to zoom in or out quickly or change to a different type of view. For instance, you may want to view a perspective grid to change your view to perspective and see how your objects all look together. It’s a good idea to try out the different views to see what they can do.  
  • Align Panel Tools – When you design something, you’re going to want to make sure it looks perfect. If you need to align two or more shapes, you’ll want to look at the align panel. This makes it easy to choose certain types of alignment so you’ll have everything in your design just the way you want them.  
  • Color Guide – Even if you don’t have a good idea of what colors go together well, you can choose the right colors for your design. The color guide provides assistance when you’re looking for complementary colors for the ones you’re already using in the design.  
  • Shapes Tool – When you want to create a specific shape, you don’t have to draw it by hand. Instead, you can choose any shape from the shapes tool and easily make it the exact size you want. This makes it easier to create basic shapes like circles, triangles, and hexagons.  
  • Gradient Tool – In some cases, you’ll want the color to be a consistent shade throughout the object you’re coloring. If you’d like to add some depth, however, you might consider making a gradient color that starts dark and gets lighter progressively. You can do this with the gradient tool.  
  • Type Tool – Many graphics designs are not just an image someone has created. Logos, for instance, often have text in them. When you’re designing something that needs text, the type tool is going to help. This enables you to select the font, size, and more as well as place the text exactly where you want it to be.  
  • Layers – Layers are a fundamental component of Illustrator. Whenever you create an object, it’s given its own layer. You’ll want to learn more about how to change where objects are located based on their layer or how to move layers around to change how your design looks. This can be a powerful tool once you learn how to use it.  

If you’ve played around with Adobe Illustrator for a little bit and you’re ready to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator, go ahead and look into some of the beginner tutorials that are available today. You’ll be able to see how the tools work and learn how to use them effectively, and you’ll be able to get help to start from the beginning and create a design. It won’t be long until you’re creating your own complex designs you can use for any project, whether it's multimedia or solely digital. Learning how traditional medias such as watercolor or oil paints behave, however, can help you create a more seamless digital look.

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