Last month I took it upon myself to learn Adobe Illustrator. I had a budding curiosity and obsession for all things design, specifically graphic design. I knew my knowledge of Illustrator would play an integral role in how far I would be able to take this dream. So, I set out to complete the best course for my skill level on Udemy.
I originally entered the course with the goal of simply becoming acquainted with all the tools available in the program. Although I had a basic working knowledge of Photoshop, I had never opened Illustrator in my life, and was thoroughly intimidated.
The course quickly eased my worries. Daniel Scott and Phil Ebiner do a great job of tailoring this course to beginners while also making it a challenge with projects. I can confidently say I finished this course knowing the essential tools and tricks in Illustrator as well as with some work for my portfolio.
Without further ado, here are the top things I learned in my first ever Adobe Illustrator course:
1) Essential tools including but not limited to: shape and line tools, shape builder tool, curvature tool, pen tool, pencil tool, brushes, width tool, type tool, Typekit, color theme tool, CC libraries, and Adobe Capture app
2) Essential tricks including but not limited to: the impossible triangle, advanced stroke options, curve paths, curved type, breaking and destroying text, gradients, masking an image, liquify and distort, patterns, vectorizing an image, exporting for print vs web, and recreating logos
3) Even experts make mistakes. One of the biggest things I appreciated about the course was the instructor’s willingness to make mistakes. I think a big aspect of design, especially with the technical aptitude needed in graphic design, is accepting that part of your job is problem-solving. It’s impossible to know everything within such a complex program like Adobe Illustrator. Daniel Scott showcased many times throughout the course his method of quick problem solving to achieve a desired look or goal, which was a lesson all on its own.
4) The best designs are simple. Most of the time. Big companies tend to use simply processed yet clever designs to capture their brand identity. Consumers enjoy beautifully displayed information but also highly value practicality. Can they obtain the information they need easily while still having an enjoyable experience?
5) Illustrator is incredible. I was blown away by the sheer magnitude of possibilities within the program. During some projects in the course, we combined the use of Photoshop and Illustrator. So much possibility for creation that it’s almost overwhelming! I guess you could say I’m in the honeymoon phase of graphic design.
6) The importance of exporting for print versus web. This one is important to me as I do and am interested in both web and print projects. For optimal viewing and/or printing, there are specific settings that need to be followed such as which color mode to use or what resolution to export your project as. Daniel Scott also gives an excellent explanation on using RGB versus CMYK. (In short; RGB = digital and CMYK = print)
7) The best way to find color palettes and fonts. I am in love with the Adobe Capture app. I’m obsessed with color palettes so the ability to create a color palette out of anything I see is extraordinary. I’ve already used this feature quite a bit. I’m also able to capture any fonts I come across and Adobe will find it or its closest version for me. Truly impressive technology.
8) It is possible to learn a program as complex as Adobe Illustrator and enjoy it. When I started the course, I thought I would have to keep reminding myself of my goals in order to stay entertained and focused. I found the opposite was true. I was so wrapped up in my course that I ended up neglecting some other personal projects and goals. I would have to reason with myself to hop off Illustrator and work on other things. Now that I see I was able to learn so much in just a month’s time, I’m having a hard time deciding if I want to jump into the advanced Illustrator course now or start another Adobe course like InDesign. All in all, definitely a big learning confidence boost.
Needless to say, I can’t wait to jump into the next stage of my self-taught graphic design curriculum. If you’re interested in learning Adobe Illustrator and don’t know where to begin, I highly recommend the course I took on Udemy, here.