Tag Archive - adobe illustrator

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 5]

In this tutorial, we will first go into the Gradient Mesh, Gradient tool, and Eyedropper.

1. Gradient Mesh Tool

For this purpose, we’ve chosen an apple to illustrate the tool’s functions.

Let’s begin with a plain green apple. Download working file here.

So, now we have the apple.

Step 1

We will need to set up some base colors. Select a number of green shades. The more you pick, the more detailed your apple will look. I’ve selected the colors below in my example.

Step 2

Select the Pen Tool(P) and start tracing the outline of the apple. Then select the Mesh Tool (U) and add a mesh line by clicking on the shape.

Step 3

Just keep adding more mesh lines. First add them horizontally, then move on to creating vertical mesh lines. Your image will look something like this.

Step 4

Select Mesh Point with the Direct Selection Tool (A), then click on the lightest shade of green. This will create the apple’s highlight color.

Step 5

Keep repeating the steps and filling the apple with different shades of green. You’ll have to keep experimenting – there are no 2 ways about it; practice makes perfect. Ultimately, your apple should look something like this.

2. Gradient Tool

For this part of the tutorial, please view one of our previous posts in which we’ve covered the Gradient Tool. Click here to view post.

3. The Eyedropper Tool

This one is pretty straightforward. Use the eyedropper tool to select a color from an existing object to apply it another.
In this example below, you can see that the bunny contains several shades of pink, while the bunny shape on the right is in black. The objective is to turn the black bunny into a light shade of pink as per the bunny’s body.

Select the black bunny, then use the eyedropper and click it on the pink part of the body on the left bunny. The black shape will become pink.

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 4]

In today’s tutorial, we’ll be covering the warp, free transform, symbol and graph tools. You can download the vector bunny we’ve used as our sample file here.

1. The Warp Tool

This tool is similar to Photoshop’s Liquify tool, letting you bend paths around to create amazing distortions and styles. This guide will get you started experimenting with the warp tool.

2. The Free Transform Tool

This is used to distort the shape of a selected path or series of paths. This is different from the “Rotate Tool” which only turns or rotates a selection. First, select a path, object, or grouping of objects by dragging your cursor over them while the “Selection Tool (V)” (the solid arrow) is active. Once you create your selection, a “Bounding Box” will appear around the selected objects. Once the bounding box appears, select the Free Transform tool.

3. The Symbols Tool

This is a very useful tool that can potentially save you a lot of time. Illustrator comes with hundreds of symbols, and there are thousands more available on the Internet. First, you need to understand that a symbol is an art object that can be used over and over. Each time a symbol is used within an Illustration, it is referred to as an instance of that symbol.

An instance of a symbol can be added one-by-one, or can be sprayed onto an illustration via the Symbol Sprayer tool. Secondly they allow you to edit the symbol in one place and for all occurrences of that symbol to be updated. First open your Symbols panel (under Windows).

4. The Graph Tool

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 3]

In promised in Part 2, we’ve covered the rectangle tool, the line segment tool, paintbrush and pencil tools as well as the blob and scissors tools. Today, I’ll go into the rotate, reflect, scale, shear and reshape tools.

If you haven’t already done so, first download the sample vector file we’ve provided, to use as your practice file.

1. The Rotate Tool

2. The Reflect Tool

3. The Scale Tool

4.The Shear Tool

5. The Reshape Tool

The Reshape tool adjusts selected anchor points while keeping the overall detail of the path intact. Frankly, this tool is rather redundant, as there are so many other simpler ways of reshaping an object. I’ve yet to come across a designer who has ever had the need for using this tool. Still, here’s the tute on using this tool, just in case you’d like to experiment with it ;)

Learn about the warp, free transform, symbol and graph tools in the following part of this tutorial.

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 2]

As promised in Part 1, I will now move on to the rectangle tool, the line segment tool, paintbrush and pencil tools as well as the blob and scissors tools. I’ve not covered the ‘Text’ tool as that’s pretty straightforward. Just click on the ‘T’ tool, click on a point on your artboard and start typing. That’s as complicated as it gets ;)

Download a vector bunny here and use this as your practice file.

1. Line Segment Tool

2. The Rectangle Tool

3. Paintbrush Tool

4. Pencil Tool

After drawing an image with the pencil tool, you can smooth out, or round out sections of your lines. Press the middle button which is called the smooth tool. Click and then circle an area you want to adjust. Release your mouse button and the line will become smooth.


If you made a mistake, or want to remove a portion of your line drawing, press on the third button on the pencil tool palate to activate the line eraser tool. Click and hold your mouse, then circle the area you want to erase.

5. The Blob Brush Tool

The Blob Brush is a convenient new tool in CS4. So if you’re not using CS4 and above, skip this part of the tutorial. Of course, it’s advisable to get the latest version of Illustrator, as this will keep you updated with Adobe’s newest additions to Illustrator – with more tools added to heighten productivity and convenience.

This brush allows you to draw merged paths, and is particularly useful with the addition of a graphics tablet. View the video below on the blob tool.

6. The Scissors Tool

Part 2 ends here. In Part 3, we shall go into the rotate, reflect, scale, shear and reshape tools.

Illustrator for beginners: Overview of the tools & functions [Part 1]

If you’re new to Adobe Illustrator, the first thing you would need to familiarize yourself with are the tools. They may seem very alien to you right now, but this quick guide will help give you a clearer view of what each tool is and what they’re used for.

As there are so many tools, I’m splitting up the tutorial into 6 parts so that it gives you time to digest and practice ;)

1. The first most basic tool is the Selection Tool.

2. The Direct Selection Tool

3. The Magic Wand Tool

If you’ve been using Photoshop, taking one look at this tool tells you that this is the magic wand tool. But don’t be mistaken. In Illustrator, its functions and uses are not at all the same as how you’d use it in Photoshop.

4. Lasso Tool

A helpful tool that lets you select areas of a complicated object quickly.

5. Pen Tool

The pen tool is probably the most intimidating tool for beginners, but it’s also one of the most valuable tools.
Since I want to make it as simple as possible for beginners, I’ll just provide the very basics of using the Pen tool for the time being. I will do another more detailed post on the Pen tool in the near future ;)

6. Add Anchor Point Tool

7. Delete Anchor Point Tool

8. Convert Anchor Point Tool

Well, that’s it for the time being. In Part 2, we will cover the rectangle tool, the line segment tool, paintbrush and pencil tools as well as the blob and scissors tool. I’m also giving you the free vector bee for practice purposes. Download vector bee here.

Illustrator for beginners: Working with the Gradient Tool

Illustrator offers the ability to add transparency to gradients, as well as a new elliptical style. In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the expanded Gradient tool and controls to create gradient effects.

The first step in using the Gradient tool is to assign a gradient to an object. To assign a gradient:

Let’s say for example, you’ve drawn a simple chick (I’ve provided a vector file for you to use as an example. I’ve saved it as a lower version, CS, so that CS versions and above will be able to open the file.

Download sample working file here

1. Open the file. First, you got to choose the gradient color you want. Go under Windows > Swatch Libraries > Gradients > Simple Radials. For our example, I’ve selected ‘Simple Radials’, but you can opt for other swatches if you like. After you’ve chosen the color you want, click inside the object to apply a gradient.

2. Select the Gradient tool from the Illustrator toolbox

3. A bar showing the direction of the gradient appears. The color and direction of the gradient depends on the last gradient you applied.

4. Choose the direction of the gradient to achieve the tone you want.

5. You can also work with the Gradient slider.

6. In addition to rotating and modifying a linear gradient, you can also modify radial and elliptical gradients.

As with anything, practice makes perfect. Work with the gradient tool and experiment with it to achieve the results you want.
Here’s our finished version of the chick :)

Feel free to email us if you have any questions, or you may leave your comments on this post ;)