Intro to Adobe Illustrator

Week 1 – Day 2

Introduction to Adobe Illustrator and Vector Graphics


Illustrator is part of Adobe’s Creative software suite (now “Creative Cloud”). The primary focus of Illustrator is the use of and creation of vector graphics. Most graphics are rasterized (a grid of pixels with assigned values); vectors are “drawn” by software (or hardware, if supported) and are not limited by resolution. At our university’s Mac lab, we have preloaded versions of Illustrator, here’s a quick run-through:

There are lots of ways to launch the program. My preferred method is to use Spotlight search.


This will open a search box (this is like Google for your computer), just start typing “illustrator” and you’ll get an auto-complete before you finish typing it. Just hit Enter when it fills in the remaining characters. BAM! You’re in.

Next, we need to create a new project:

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 6.13.40 PM

File -> New ->

Name: Lastname-Intro [Geiger-Intro ART119]

Profile: Web

Size: 960 x 560

Units: Pixels

Orientation: Landscape

After creating this new document, save it.

File -> Save ->

Save as: []

Default settings -> OK



Working area


Shape Tool

Used to create a vector object


Vector object

            Vector Objects are defined with Paths and Points



            Defines the thickness of lines (vectors)



            Defines the “filling” of an object (like Twinkies)



            Illustrator “stacks” objects in the order they were created. To change this order, go to the top menu:

Object -> Arrange -> Send to…(back/front) Bring to (back/front)


            Like with a text editor, aligns an object to different orientations (objects, Artboard, etc.)


Keyboard Shortcuts:

Option+LeftClick(on object)+drag

            Drag to new area to create a duplicate

LeftClick+drag(over objects)

            Bounding box selects multiple items


            Save current progress

In-class exercise: practice drawing your name. I wrote mine in cyrillic:

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 7.00.47 PM

The letter “а” is tricky, and I didn’t quite get it right on the first try (“Матвей Гайгер” The first “a” looks like an “o”). This was all done with the pen tool, but switching back and forth between the curve and straight pen.

Project 1: Typographic Portraits


Mar 30: Project Intro, sketch ideas for next class (blog)

Apr 05: Work time in class following demonstrations

Apr 07: Work Time in class, following demonstrations

Apr 11: Review Typographic Portraits


Example: “Eruption” “Tilt-A-Whirl” “Balloon Darts” “Roller Bowler” “Cock Clock” “Exit” “Copernicus”.


Choose 3 of 6 provided character prompts. Use your name, first and/or last or nickname. Along with typographic and design…


“Hello my name is______ and I’m…”


Due Monday:

Sketches and ideas for project

Reflection on Open House (Blog)

Reflection on reading (Adobe Illustrator (Blog))

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