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My Custom Workspace and First Illustration

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I'm a graphic designer and though I learned some Illustrator basics years ago in a much earlier version of the program, I've never felt that confident using it. Meanwhile of course it's changed quite a bit over the years as well, and all the new features are somewhat of a mystery to me. So I decided to start again at the beginning and I'm really glad I did, the custom workspace and the keyboard shortcuts I learned have made the program much faster and more comfortable to use. Plus I never knew till now what to do with artboards (which I don't think existed when I started)! 

Since I use Illustrator primarily for graphic design, I wanted all my type tools to be easily accessible, so I gave them their own space right at the top. Everything else I organized in a way that felt intuitive so that similar tools are groups together - for example the color-related tools in one set of folders and so on. That way I don't have to go hunting for them. And I removed everything I don't use (or don't yet know how to use). Perhaps as I learn more I will add some back in and create a new, more advanced custom workspace. 

My illustration needed to be fairly simple, but I still wanted to do something fun. I decided to create Judge Dread's mask from the comic book 2000 A.D., which has just a few simple shapes. (You can see a reference image off to the side of my workspace.) I'm not very good with gradients yet and I don't really know how to create textures, but I used brushstrokes to add some texture and a couple of simple gradients for dimension, and I think it got the idea across. Then I wanted something in the background so I added Judge Dread's catchphrase. This was also my first attempt at completely custom type, so it's very rough but again, it got the idea across that I wanted to convey.

Here's my finished illustration:

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Looking forward to learning more in the next class!

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