Or How I Finally Learned to Use Illustrator
I’ve always had a hate/hate relationship with vector based drawing, mostly due to the fact that we spent a grand total of two days learning Freehand in college. (Our first assignment was to trace a crude drawing of an old fashioned school house, similar in detail and dimension to a drawing created by a talented five-year-old; our second and final Freehand assignment was to create a CD liner. I believe I got the lowest mark of my whole ‘design school’ experience on that project and never touched the program again.)
When I decided to finally upgrade from PhotoShop 7, I opted to get the CS3 design standard edition that included Illustrator. I was so excited to try this program; so many great things are created in Illustrator and I believed that I’d be able to just open it up and start drawing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Using Illustrator did not come easily to me; even after years of using PhotoShop I didn’t find it intuitive at all, and was constantly frustrated.
And so Illustrator sat unused on my computer for years, taunting me with it’s pen tool and complicated interface. Every once in a while I would open it up and try a beginner’s tutorial, and while my results were usually satisfactory I never felt that I was gaining an understanding of the program, but merely following the steps.
This year I decided that I would learn Illustrator or die trying (okay, maybe that’s a tad overstated), so I bought a copy of the CS3 Illustrator Bible and started working through the book at a painstakingly slow pace. The pen tool took me days to learn, but I finally did it; I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to draw a simple shape before (hearts and clovers and leaves, oh my).
So now I present a few of my Illustrator (and one PhotoShop) creations for your amusement.
‘Sad Elephant’ was created in Illustrator with a mouse. (An exercise in learning and using the pen tool.)
‘Little Girl’ was created in Illustrator with a Wacom Intuos4. (An exercise in learning and using the gradient mesh tool and using a tablet.)
‘Little Black Dress’ was created in PhotoShop with a mouse. (Straight up PhotoShop love. Hopefully one day I can use Illustrator as well as PhotoShop.)