The Non-Designer's Illustrator Book
Excerpted from The Non-Designer's Illustrator Book by Robin Williams and John Tollett. Copyright © 2012. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
In addition to the HTML version of the excerpt below, you can also download the excerpt as a PDF that retains the full design of the printed book.
Drawing with Shape and Line Tools
Illustrator provides tools for easily creating lines and shapes. Drawing with shapes (rectangles, ellipses, stars, etc.) can be a surprisingly creative and satisfying solution, especially if you don’t think you can draw. It can be even more effective than drawing with felt-tip pens in a style that won somebody [that would be John] a potted plant in a fifth-grade poster contest. If you feel that you’re drawing-challenged, follow the tasks in this chapter and then play with the tools—you’ll discover that you’re able to create all sorts of amazingly creative and useful images.
Drawing with shape tools
Let’s start by using some of the shape tools from the Tools panel. As you do the tasks in this chapter, you’ll be introduced to lots of panels and settings that you’ll use in every project.
These exercises start your vector drawing career. The simple steps included here are used to some degree in every vector drawing.
Task 1 Draw a rectangle
1 Select the Rectangle tool from the Tools panel.
2 Drag diagonally in any direction.
Release the mouse after you create a horizontal rectangle.
And there you go—a rectangle with a default white fill and a 1-point black stroke. Your rectangle might have a different color fill and stroke.
Task 2 Apply fill and stroke attributes to the rectangle
1 With the black Selection tool, single-click the rectangle to select it.
2 Click the Fill Color pop-up menu in the Control panel, then choose a color from the swatches panel that opens.
3 While the rectangle is still selected, click the Stroke Color pop-up menu in the Control panel, then choose a color from the swatches panel that opens.
4 From the “Stroke” weight pop-up menu, choose 6 pt. Or tap the Up/Down arrows to the left of the stroke weight. Or type 6 in the value field (you don’t have to type the “pt.”
Task 3 Draw a perfect square
1 With the Rectangle tool, hold down the Shift key as you drag a shape.
2 Add the Option key (PC: Alt key) as you drag to change the origin point from a corner to the center of the square.
Task 4 Draw a perfect circle
1 Select the Ellipse tool (it’s hidden under the Rectangle tool).
2 Drag diagonally in any direction. To constrain the ellipse to a perfect circle, hold down the Shift key as you drag. To make the center of the circle the origin point as you drag, hold down the Option key (PC: Alt key) as well.
Task 5 Draw a rounded rectangle
1 Select the Rounded Rectangle tool (it’s under the Rectangle tool).
2 Drag diagonally to create a rectangle. to constrain the shape to a rounded square, hold down the Shift key as you drag. to make the center of the shape the origin point of the drag, hold down the Option key (PC: Alt key).
3 to change the radius of the corners as you drag, tap the up or down arrows on the keyboard before you let go of the mouse/trackpad.
Task 6 Draw star shapes
1 Select the Star tool (it’s under the Rectangle tool in the Tools panel).
To rotate the star shape as you draw, drag the Star tool in an arc. Hold down the Shift key to prevent any rotation.
To increase the radius of the innermost points, hold down the Command key (PC: Control key) as you drag inward.
To decrease the radius of the innermost points, hold down the Command (PC: Control key) as you drag outward.
To add or remove points, tap the up or down arrow keys as you drag.
Use the white Direct Selection tool to drag any anchor point to reshape that point.
Task 7 Modify shapes
Once you’ve created a shape, you can modify it whenever and however you want. When creating artwork, it’s often best to start with basic shapes, then make changes to the shapes. Draw a perfect circle (see Task 4 on page 41), then apply any fill and stroke color you want (Task 2, page 40). Set the stroke size thick enough that you can easily see the path within the stroke.
With the white Direct Selection tool, select the circle’s path (as explained in Chapter 3). Then practice the manipulations below.
Click the top anchor point. Drag anchor point upward.
Experiment with dragging paths, Drag the bottom anchor point upward. direction handles, and anchor points.
2 Draw a rectangle (see Task 1, page 40). With the white Direct Selection tool, modify the shape.
Select a path, then drag to another position.
Select an anchor point, then drag to another position.
Drawing with line tools
A collection of line tools are grouped together in the Tools panel, hidden under the Line Segment tool. Even though you won’t use all of these tools very often, you’ll find some of them to be powerful and useful.
Press (don’t click) on the Line Segment tool to see and select the other line tools.
The Line Segment tool
The Line Segment tool draws a straight line. You can drag to create lines, as instructed below, or use the “Line Segment Tool Options” dialog box.
Task 8 Draw straight lines
a. Use the “Line Segment tool Options” dialog box to create straight lines:
1 Choose the Line Segment tool in the Tools panel, then single-click in a document to open the “Line Segment Tool Options” dialog box.
2 Enter a line length and choose an angle, then click ok. The specified line appears in your document.
3 While the line segment is selected (you can see the end points), practice giving it different stroke colors and widths.
This is a line segment.
b. Or simply drag to quickly create straight lines:
4 With the Line Segment tool, position the pointer where you want the line to begin, then press-and-drag to the point where you want the line to end. Shift-drag to constrain the drawing of the line segment to a horizontal, 45° diagonal, or vertical line. 5 Change the stroke color or size: Make sure the line is still selected, then use the Control panel stroke controls (see Task 2, page 40).
Art tip: Illustration doesn’t have to be complex. Simplicity can be just as interesting as photo-realism. ok, maybe not here, but sometimes.
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