Introductions to illustrator?
June 9, 2012 12:30 PM   Subscribe

I have a tablet, a computer, a copy of an older version of Adobe Illustrator, and a desire to create simple icons for one of my websites.

The icons I have in mind are all simple, basic shapes that I could sketch on a bar napkin in like, two seconds. How can I make them into a reality? Are there tutorials that will walk me through the steps I'll need to take and introduce me to the Illustrator way of doing things?
posted by jsturgill to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't done much with Illustrator but unless you want to learn it for other reasons, I'm not sure it's worth learning to do what you're asking.

My suggestion would be to get a free copy of paint.NET and do it that way. It's modeled on Photoshop but with fewer of the high end features, and I think a Photoshop type program would be easier.
posted by Glinn at 12:46 PM on June 9, 2012

Have a look at Wacom settings in Illustrator

That will get you making images - dashing off vector art by drawing - in illustrator. (It's great for that).

For a website, you'll want to choose RGB as the colorspace first. Then draw. Then export your images. Now, likely GIF or PNG-8 will be the best filetypes for icons on a website.

posted by artlung at 1:58 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I use a wacom tablet and Illustrator and 99% of the creative work happens before the thing gets that far. Dash it off on a bar napkin, already and scan it. Import into Illustrator (the term is Place) THEN use the pen tool to recreate it the image by judiciously setting anchor points and Bezier curves.

This site has a series of tutorials that might help.
posted by b33j at 4:21 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Depending on which version of Illustrator you have, I'd recommend you start with a good book on Illustrator rather than trying to teach yourself via online tutorials. Online tutorials can be helpful once you know your way around the program a bit (and can thus separate the wheat from the chaff), but it can be a frustrating way to learn when you're a beginner because most tutorials start with the assumption that you already know the names of the various tools and menu items and what they do.

A book, on the other hand, will explain all of the tools to you right from the beginning and show you how to use them in step-by-step tutorials that increase in difficulty as you work your way through the chapters. I frequently recommend the Adobe Illustrator "Wow" series of books by Sharon Steuer; she knows the program like the back of her hand and has a real knack for breaking down the complexities of Illustrator into easy to understand lessons. Steuer's Wow books are great because once you learn the basics, you can flip through the latter chapters until you find a lesson similar to what you want to do and just dive right in.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 Wow Book.
Earlier Illustrator Wow Books.

(You might want to pick up a wire book stand as well so you don't have to balance the book on your lap while drawing.)
posted by LuckySeven~ at 10:29 PM on June 9, 2012

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