Illustrator CC: 'Real world projects for beginners'

Learn how to create beautiful illustrations and marketing collateral in easy to follow steps
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Instructed by Gary Bradley Design / Graphic Design
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  • Lectures 117
  • Length 8 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 12/2014 English

Course Description

Gary Bradley, your course instructor, is a Creative Director and an Adobe Certified Instructor, who has used illustrator since 1994. Gary will guide you through a 'live project scenario' creating artwork for a fictional organisation, replicating many of the challenges faced on real world projects, sharing with you little known 'insider' tips in a style and language that consistently achieves winning results.

You'll start with little more than a blank canvas and a series of supplied hand sketches, along with concepts for a new branding and marketing project. Working together from detailed expert video lectures you will build from start to finish artwork that will encompass logos, flyers, Facebook headers and stationery packed full of rich and arresting vector artwork. Learn how to make the most of a bewildering array of tools and features, to achieve the results you want, save valuable time and avoid costly mistakes.

What are the requirements?

  • A basic knowledge of how to use a computer, keyboard and navigate for documents.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • You'll be able to create logos, company stationery, beautifully rich illustrations, location maps and banners for the web such as Facebook.
  • Become confident in orientating the illustrator interface so that you can quickly find the best tool for the task at hand.
  • Create new documents for print, web and devices to ensure that what you create is fit for purpose 'from the get go' and avoids time consuming mistakes close to your deadlines.
  • Manage document structure with layers and artboards so that you can manage complex projects with greater ease.
  • Discover a myriad of selection tools that will speed up your workflow, allowing you to edit and transform content with the most appropriate tools and techniques.
  • Create preset shapes and objects
  • Master the Pen tool to create unique artwork, either by tracing scetched artwork and photographs or simply by drawing from scratch within Illustrator.
  • Create complex artwork by combining and subtracting simple shapes from one another.
  • Create and apply rich colours, gradients, patterns and effects to your artwork in ways that make editing and updating them intuitive and simplistic.
  • Learn about typographic terminology, characteristics and formatting controls.
  • Import, format and thread text between multiple frames, apply text wrap and place text around and within shapes.
  • Learn industry standard techniques for proofing and outputting your final artwork to the web, PDF and pixel based files such as PSD's and TIFF.

Who is the target audience?

  • Suitable for complete beginners.
  • Also suitable for individuals with a little experience who want to learn best practice techniques
  • For Mac or Windows users
  • Over 13 hours of expert video training

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: About this course

Why is Adobe Illustrator the worlds foremost vector editing application? What is it capable of, and what would you use it for? In this video Gary Bradley, your course instructor, will guide you through the highlights of this 'Hands on live project" and preview some of the richly engaging artwork that you will create.


The class files supplied with this course should be used in conjunction with the video lectures. The Adobe Illustrator files have been 'back-saved' to work with CS4 through to the latest Creative Cloud 2014 versions. Please note that if you are still using an older version of Illustrator you may find some of the features and dialogue boxes will appear different, or you may find that a feature is missing.

Section 2: The Illustrator interface

This lecture covers the key areas of the interface heling you become more familiar with the editing environment.


Modify the editing environment to better suite your needs so that you have more of the tools you need for the task at hand.


Learn how to save the panels you require in the position you want them to appear within the application so that you have the right tools available for the task at hand.


Colour consistency across all of the Adobe apps is key. Not just viewing on-screen for editing but also 'tagging' files with an appropriate colour language when you ultimately send final artwork for print or on a device. The synch feature within Bridge will only work if you have installed your software as part of the Creative Suite or newer Creative Cloud and have installed two or more applications (excluding Bridge). As it needs to have multiple apps installed to 'sync' you may see a message appear that reads 'Requires that a qualifying product has been launched at least once to enable this feature'.


Preferences control the behavior and appearance of many aspects of the Illustrator application. From the interface brightness to language dictionaries.


Sync settings is a Creative Cloud feature that stores important presets such as workspaces, brushes and preference settings. Once uploaded to the cloud you can login to any workstation with Illustrator installed and download all of your settings and assets.

5 questions

Ok, so lets see how much knowledge you have retained after the first section. Have a go at the folowing quiz questions!

Section 3: Document Navigation

Learn how to magnify the appearance of your artwork by 'zooming' in closer to detail for fiddly edits, or to view a document from a holistic perspective.


Stay at the same zoom factor and explore your artwork in any direction.


The Navigator panel combines all of the zooming and panning features in one place with the added benefit of having a thumbnail of your artwork.


Saving views is handy for returning to one specific area of your artwork. It also captures which layers are visible and active, as well as which screen mode is active.


Changing the preview mode of your artwork can greatly speed up your editing process and simulate what your artwork might look like when printed converted into pixels once exported.


Artboards act rather like pages. You can view one at a time, all or jump from one to another with ease from the Artboard switcher menu.


By default you will see only one file at a time on-screen, but there may be occasions when you need to view two, three or more files at once, or even the same file in multiple zoom levels. That's where 'N-Up' views come in very handy.


You can hide some or all of the panels and tools within Illustrator by changing screen modes.

5 questions

There are many ways to 'whizz' around your Illustrator documents and view them in a myriad of ways. This short quiz will test your navigational knowledge for sure!

Section 4: Creating & managing new documents

Illustrator is a vector authoring application, and its artwork can be scaled to any size required in print or on-screen without losing quality. Pixel based files, like the ones created or edited in Photoshop are quite the opposite. It is important to undertsand the limitations of both file types.


Preparing your files from the 'get go' is critical to ensuring that when they are completed and printed or displayed on-screen the colours are fit for purpose.


Let's take a look at how we will prepeare our first project file. An full colour A5 flyer, with a design on both the front and reverse.


Let's now take a look at how you prepare a file intended for on-screen viewing or on the web.


Illustrator accommodates six different file types, but choosing the most suitable format and defining the most appropriate settings is key.


Since CS4 Illustrator has been able to accommodate multiple artboards (pages). There are a few little known tips and pitfalls to be aware of when working with them.


You can use the Artboards panel, the Artboard tool or the Control panel to edit, add and remove artboards.


Layers allow you to 'stack' your artwork in one or more levels within your document that appear in front or behind of one another in the composition. Creating a streamlined Layers panel can save valuable time.


Now we will take a look at a layer strategy for our A5 flyer, creating 'Parent' layers for text, guides and images.


Guides help you create and arrange document artwork effectively. They act as none printing lines that attract artwork like magnets and help align content to a clear and consistent horizontal or vertical line.

5 questions

Lets take a look at these quiz questions on file preparaton.

Section 5: Selecting, moving and transforming

To make changes to your artwork one or more elements need to be 'targeted' with a selection tool.


It is far quicker to select multiple objects when making the same edits, rather than selecting each individually and repeating the same steps.


So you have arranged your artwork in the correct position, except that the thing you are wanting to edit appears behind another object. The select behind technique can save valuable time.


Moving content with the mouse can be quick a fairly accurate. But when precision is required you need to turn to cursor key repositioning.


Create additional copies of existing artwork is a little more complex than simply copying and pasting. There are more options available to you.


There are times when you need to 'flip' objects, mirroring them in either a vertical or horizontal axis.


So you have arranged all of the artwork in the correct place but you don't want to risk moving each of those elements apart later. That's where groups come in!


Moving and editing a whole element is great but what if you need to change the underlying structure of a shape? The you need a 'sub-path' selection tool.


When it comes to selecting sub-object elements across multiple objects, the Lasso tool provides great flexibility.


Selecting can be a fiddly and time consuming task. That's why saving an active selection is great for future editing of the same elements.


Once you have moved an item, or made a significant edit you can rely on Illustrator to repeat that task again on the same or different elements in the file.


So you have an illustration packed full of flowers but you need to change a specific colour in some of the flowers petals. The Magic Wand can target a specific range of colours allowing you to edit only the required parts of your artwork.


Rotation, like scaling is a common part of completing artwork. You can define an angle, change it 'by eye' and even define which of the 9 points on every object it rotates around.


Moving shapes from one parent layer to another is simpler than it might first appear.


Making the edges of shapes level, or aligned is not only a common task but sometimes a critial step in producing artwork. Align to the artboard, the edges or centre of a bounding box or to a key object.


Although not the most convenient way of finding a feature, the Select sub-menu does offer some very handy techniques for unusual selection requirements.


Moving artwork between documents can either be achieved in several over engineered steps with unpredictable results or if managed corectly can help save a great deal of time.


Beyond regular scaling and rotating there is the Free Transform tool that can distort artwork into all manner of perspectives and angles.Perfect for scenarios like creating a mock-up of labels on products.

5 questions

Now that you have witnessed the core selection and transform tools in action, try this quiz to test your knowledge.

Section 6: Creating shapes and objects

Illustrator provides specific shape tools. Learn how to create simple shapes at the size and postion you require them.


Learn how to create other shapes such as stars, polgons and rounded rectangles.


The simplest element inside of Illustrator is the Line tool, drawn in any direction, or in 45 degree increments, as well as other line tools such as spirals, arcs and polar grids.


Before you can learn to 'draw' with the pen tool, it is vital that you first understand how to manipulate an existing object's anchor points, handles and segments.


Hitting the delete key is not the most effective way of removing unwanted anchor points. Add and remove anchor points and maintain the integrity of your shape with Control panel options.


Add an abrupt change in direction within a path by breaking handles.


You can use the Eraser tool, Scissors and Knife tool to slice and dice your shapes in Illustrator.


Prepare and create a fence post shape with the Pen tool.


Create a heart shape with the Pen tool.


Create a tree trunk illustration with the Pen and Reshape tool that will be integrated into the A5 flyer.


Create the leaves and canopy of the tree artwork.


Create freeform vector lines and shapes with the Pencil tool.


Add a scanned sketch as a template layer into Illustrator and use it to build your artwork composition.

5 questions

Try these drawing based quiz questions.

Section 7: Colour attributes

A comprehensive review of the many swatch types and facets of colour in Adoeb Illustrator.


Define the CMYK values in the color panel to create a new colour.


Once created you can save a swatch to have it readily available to re-use again in the future.


You can load a library of swatches into your document supplied by a colleague, downloaded from the web or from another Illustrator document.


Learn techniques for effectively applying colour to multiple objects and target either the fill and stroke attributes.


Once named 'Kuler' and later renamed 'Adobe Color' in 2014 this colour theme generator is great for building groups of harmonious colours on the web, in Illustator or vie the iOS app.


You can store your 'Adobe Color' themes on the web, tied to your Adobe ID and populate them in your project artwork, share publicly or download to your desktop.


Gradients blend two or more colours together in linear or radial transitions.


Yuo can run gradients within, along and across stroke attributes.


Make objects see through by reducing their opacity value.


Create seamless patterns, made from Illustrator artwork and turned into pattern swatches.


Multiple stroke appearances, patterns with alternating fill attributes stacked in a later type hierarchy. The Appearance panel is one of the most important places to work from within the application.


Learn how to scale patterns inside of an object whilst keeping the object size unchanged.


Create 'virtual' duplicates of object shapes that can scale, rotate in directions and angles of your choosing.


Apply a rotational transform effect of one object.


An overview of the Brushes panel and the libraries that ship with Illustrator.


Apply brush strokes to your artwork that fix to a spine which can be altered with a slection tool.


Apply brush strokes to your artwork that can be re-coloured, replaced for another brush stroke or scaled.


Juxtapose your artwork in outline mode according to the sketched artwork within a template layer.


Alter the stroke weight o a single object making it thicker or thinner at points of your choosing.


Add additional width points, delete existing points or even alter the thickness of the inner or outer stroke profile.

Working with colour and object attributes
5 questions
Section 8: Building content

It can be far easier to create an illustration by combining or subtracting two or more overlapping objects.


Cut holes or regions out of an object.


Complete the Bird and Cow artwork, adding it to the A5 flyer.


Add a soft shadow effect under the brown paper bag.


Take pixel based artwork and vector trace it, saving you the hassle of drawing it from scratch.


Each vector tracing you perform will no doubt require some level of cleanup work. Learn how to discard unwanted portions and get to the stuff you do require.


Take a complex coloured project file and reduce the colours effortlessly with the Re-color dialogue.


You can create symbols for a map that are instanced. Change the appearance of one, and all other update. Symbols are not restricted to maps, they are a versitile way of adding linked artwork to your docuemnts.

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Instructor Biography

Gary Bradley, Adobe Certified Instructor

Gary Bradley is an award winning Creative Director and Adobe Certified Instructor with over 15 years of commercial experience. Successfully leading creative teams to deliver cutting edge projects in support of small, medium and global brands such as Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Sainsbury’s.

Gary also consults as an Adobe Certified Instructor, helping in-house teams such as HSBC and Wal-mart to take control of their digital marketing material through highly engaging learning experiences. His courses draw upon his fifteen years as a graphic designer, communicating complex terminology and processes in a style and language that is easy understand.

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