Intro to Adobe Illustrator

Get up and running with the design world's standard software for drawing logos, icons, and all types of vector artwork.
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  • Lectures 55
  • Length 6 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 8/2015 English

Course Description

Every professional designer who wants to be marketable MUST know Adobe Illustrator, the industry standard software for drawing icons, logos, and vector artwork. Vectors are the curves that you draw with Illustrator, and they can be enlarged many times over without loosing quality, unlike raster art, which uses pixels on a grid, and distorts if it gets too large. Illustrator's vector files can be exported to raster formats, like .jpg, .gif, or .png, for projects that need them, like websites. I'm Joseph Caserto, a graphic designer with over two decades of professional experience, and I've been creating vector artwork that whole time. In this course, I'll help you master the basics of drawing simple vector shapes. Once you've got those essentials down, we'll move on, and use them to help you learn more intermediate ones. You'll build a solid foundation, which you can use beyond the course, to develop your own projects that showcase your skills in this application that's critical to know if you're going to be competitive in the professional design world.

What You'll Find Inside

  • A curriculum that lets students build confidence and skills by starting with essential techniques, moving on to fundamentals, and finishing with advanced methods.
  • Downloadable files for students who want a hands-on learning experience, allowing them to follow along with lectures.
  • Six hours of instruction through 50+ high-quality, downloadable HD videos that have clear audio and easy to see menus and windows.
  • A quiz at the end of each section so students can review their knowledge before moving on.

What are the requirements?

  • Adobe Illustrator is required to follow along with lessons.
  • Basic computing skills are required to follow along with lessons: Clicking, dragging, opening and closing documents, creating folders, etc.
  • Some knowledge of the printing process, file formats (.pdf, .jpg, etc.) and using color for print and web (CMYK vs. RGB) will be helpful.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Launch Adobe Illustrator and navigate the interface.
  • Use the shape tools to draw vector objects.
  • Create and apply color swatches.
  • Add and style type.
  • Convert type into vector outlines.
  • Transform objects: Move, scale and rotate them.
  • Combine two or more colors into a gradient.
  • Create, and manage layers, and use them to organize and select objects.
  • Create artwork with the Paintbrush and Pencil Tools.
  • Use the Pen Tool to draw bezier curves, and add, delete, and convert anchor points.
  • Cut and join paths.
  • Use the Pathfinder Panel to create complex shapes.
  • Create compound shapes.
  • Create clipping masks.
  • Apply Photoshop effects.
  • Place artwork saved in .jpg, .pdf, and other file formats.

Who is the target audience?

  • Graphic designers interested in producing logos, icons, and symbols.
  • Illustrators and fine artists who want to create vector artwork.
  • Web and UX designers who want to create vectors for elements like icons and wireframes.

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: Introduction

Learn what Adobe Illustrator is used for, meet Joseph, and find out how this course is structured.

Note: Before moving on after you've viewed this lecture, If you want a hands-on experience, use these resources:

  1. Intro To Adobe Illustrator Resource Files, found Under Downloadable materials, is a .zip archive of the files shown in some videos throughout the course. Download and save it to your system, and expand the archive to access the files.
  2. Use the link under External Resources to download a 30-day free trial of Adobe Illustrator, If you do not have access to the software.
    TIP: Save your work as a .pdf or .jpg before the trial expires if you don't plan on purchasing a subscription to the software! (See Lecture 52: Outputting a Document.) You won't be able to edit the native .ai files in Illustrator, but will have a read-only copy that you can view in Apple Preview, Google Chrome, or other application.
Section 2: Getting Started with Adobe Illustrator

See how Illustrator looks and get a feel for how to navigate through the application as you work. Choose a workspace that sets up the application's panels to suit the job you're doing, or create one of your own.


Preferences let you choose such things as the units in which a document's measurements are displayed. Learn how to set and edit them.


Create and manage Adobe Illustrator documents.


Rulers help you to determine the size of elements in your artwork. Non-printing grids and guides aid in aligning and placing objects.


Learn about this unit of measurement that print designers use.

4 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 3: Working with Objects

Anatomy of vector objects.


Learn how to draw rectangles and squares.


Apply color to an object; combine several objects so they can be selected and transformed as one.


Objects are arranged one on top of another, or "stacked." Learn about this, and how to move an object's position.


Change the angle of an object.


Create ovals and circles, learn how to draw objects from the inside out, and add an outline to an object.


Illustrator has a tool that allows you to create stars, easily.


Learn how to make shapes with three or more sides.


Here's a chance to apply what you've learned. If you get stuck, don't worry. You'll find the solution here, too.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 4: Aligning Objects

This feature lets Illustrator help you position objects precisely as you work.


The Align Panel allows you to line up objects exactly, with one click.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 5: Color Swatches

A swatch lets you specify a color's mode and breakdown, give it a name, and apply it with a single click.


A global swatch lets you change a color by editing the swatch used to apply it, even in multiple objects at once.


Use the Swatches Panel to add and delete color swatches.


Learn how to access and use the PANTONE® swatch library. PANTONE® is a company that is recognized as the global foremost authority on color and producer of color systems and technology. For more, see the link under External Resources.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 6: Gradients

We'll explore the Gradient Panel to create and manage gradients.


See how to create a swatch for a gradient, and apply it to an object's stroke.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 7: Layers

All documents have one layer by default. We'll use the Layers Panel to add more and edit them.


Layers are very useful to manage complex artwork. Here, we'll see how to select and change the stacking order of objects using the Layers Panel.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 8: Type

Learn the basics of using type and specifying its attributes.


Good letter- and word-spacing is a sure sign that your artwork was done by a pro.


Congratulations, you've reached a milestone!


See how to import text from another file type, such as .docx (Microsoft Word), and edit its formatting.


Type can be rotated, scaled, and sheared, just like objects.


Make vector outlines out of any font loaded in your system.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 9: Drawing and Painting

Use the Paintbrush Tool and create artwork in a painterly style.


Just like an art supply store, Illustrator has plenty of brushes to choose from, and it also lets you create your own.


Use the Pencil Tool to draw lines with a hand drawn feel.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 10: Drawing Vectors with the Pen Tool

See an example of a complex illustration, created entirely with the Pen Tool, and explore its anatomy.


How to add anchor points and draw segments with the Pen Tool.


Close a path to form a shape.


A heart shape is a perfect one to practice with, because it combines corner and curve points.


Tracing shapes that aren't geometric is how to master the Pen Tool. We'll work with a simple one to get you started.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 11: Modifying Vector Paths

The more points a shape has, the more complex it can be. The fewer points a curve has, the smoother it can be. Learn how to add and remove anchor points, as well as convert them from curved to corner, and back.


Illustrator has a feature that lets you isolate one object from all the others in your artwork, so you can work with it individually.


Say you want to use just part of one shape as the basis for drawing another. The Knife and scissors tools can help you do that, rather than start drawing the new shape from scratch.


How to combine open paths into a bigger one, or a shape.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 12: The Pathfinder Panel

The first section of the Pathfinder Panel is made up of the four shape modes.


The Divide Pathfinder creates a new, independent shape from the area where the original shapes overlap.


Explore the other Pathfinders in the Panel. For more, see the link under External Resources


We'll use the Pathfinder Panel to create the symbols used for suits of playing cards.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 13: Intermediate Drawing Techniques

A compound path combines multiple shapes into a new one, which unlike a group, has a single fill and stroke.


See examples of artwork that uses compound paths, and learn how to go back to the original shapes that formed a compound path.


Use a shape to crop out the objects outside of it.


Illustrator gives you several options of effects to change your artwork's appearance. There's even a whole set that lets you add Photoshop raster effects, like a drop shadow.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 14: Outputting Documents, Placing Artwork, and Saving As Other File Formats

How to print a document, and save it as a .pdf or raster format for web use.


You can import files of other formats, such as .jpg, to be incorporated into your artwork, or to trace when you want to draw new vectors. For files shown in the video, and for more on this topic, please see the links under External Resources.


When you place one Illustrator file into another, the placed file is called a Smart Object. See how to do it in this video from my course, Easy Snowflakes and More with Adobe CS/CC. For more information, see the link under External Resources.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on topics covered in this section.

Section 15: Review and Closing

We've covered a lot of material, so let's see what you've learned before we say goodbye.

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Instructor Biography

Joseph Caserto, Design Professional :: Educator :: Consultant

I'm Joseph Caserto, a design professional, educator, and consultant. I have over 20 years of experience as a publication art director and designer, and worked on the staffs of several national magazines before starting my own business. Since then, I've worked with many publications, including BusinessWeek, Marie Claire, PC, TV Guide, and Vibe. My projects have included helping to produce several issues of the iPad edition of Fortune, and consulting on the launch of Parents for iOS (Apple iPad) and Android (Samsung Galaxy).

I'm also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Digital Communications and Media, at New York University, School of Professional Studies, Center for Advanced Digital Applications, Department of Design Digital Arts and Film. Formerly, I was an Adjunct Lecturer at the City College of New York, in the Art Department's Electronic Design and Multimedia Program. I have several online tutorials published, and have been a guest critic and speaker at Cooper Union, and SUNY Fredonia.

I've consulted with clients including FP Design, The Archdiocese of New York, and The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York to help them learn and maximize the potential of their software, and to explore graphic design principals.

I earned a BFA, with Honors, in Graphic Design from Pratt Institute, where I completed one of the first classes that explored graphic design produced with a Macintosh. I'm a member of AIGA, Freelancers Union, the Graphic Artists Guild, and The Society of Publication Designers. A lifetime resident of New York State, I've lived in Brooklyn since the late 1980s.

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