I know it's been a little chaotic over here lately! Finally, back to normal with a lesson. I'll do two more lessons this year. The month of December is very hectic for me, so I have a low-maintenance, super fun idea for the whole month. Look for it December 1st.
So today's lesson is an introduction to Adobe Illustrator. I use Illustrator CS4 but most of what I go over should work with most or all versions. I know that there are several other vector programs available that are similar to Illustrator. Maybe next year I'll venture into product trials & reviews, but at this point, I'm all in with Illustrator.
Briefly, Illustrator is a vector based program. So instead of having images made up of billions of little square pixels, the image is produced by a series of complex mathematical calculations. Lucky for us, that has no impact on creating in Illustrator! What does matter, however, is that vector images are infinitely scalable. When you have an image in Photoshop (a jpg, gif, png, etc...) these have a set resolution (300dpi, 600dpi, etc) and really should only be scaled down, not up. A vector can go any which way. The Fashion Friday dolls, for instance, were originally created for a 5 x 7in booklet. After printing a sample, I realized they were too detailed for that size. So I scaled everything up to 8.5 by 11 with no problems.
I think this is a good place to stop. Play around with the pen tool. When I was learning, my teacher suggested that we trace a coloring book page with the pen tool. It was a really great way to get a sense of how to use it. There are numerous sites online that have Illustrator tutorials available (and do a much better job than I do of explaining things!) This one, for instance, is a nice overview. Do a search for illustrator pen tutorials and you'll get lots. And if you aren't familiar with it, deviantArt is a wonderful resource too. Practice with the pen tool & we'll start using it next week!