Illustrator Essentials

Day 1

Today was my first day at the career center in Alva. I didn’t really get much done today except fro starting and setting up my computer so i could work. I got illustrator started up and I was leaning the basics off of Soon after stating lynda it was time to go to careen center at 10:00am. during career center I updated my resume and got some new information added and changed and few things that needed to be changed since I transferred to cherokee from aline. i added some community service activities and hours I worked each activity the we updated where I go to school and added then removed somethings that I was not apart off.screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-10-54-10-am

This is all I really did in lynda today. I downloaded the exercise file for the first chapter then deleted a border that was around the edge. the main goal of today was just getting my bearing for illustrator soon I will be learning and applying new skills.

Day 2

Today I wrapped up my last lesson on chapter 1 of illustrator CC essentials then I went on ahead and started and finished chapters 2 and 3.  In these chapters I learned more about artboards guide lines hot to set and lock guides then how to export artboards separately from each other.

During chapter 2 found our how to set move and delete guides in 2 different ways. i could wither click and drag from the rulers on the top and left hand side of my document of i could double click on a mark on the ruler and create one that way.  I also found out what bleed on a document does.  I didn’t know that bleed would put a boarder around my document.  I’m still not 100% certain of what exactly it does but i still have plenty to watch so something might turn up in later videos.

On chapter 3 I was mainly covering how to navigate my artboards and how to modify them without having to go through the menu.  I learned that I could select the art board tool and create new artboards alter the look of artboards change them to landscape or letter and how to export art boards by themselves.  I do not know what is different about my version of illustrator compared to the guy doing the videos but I can’t open a separate export menu and select my whole document and export each one separately from there but I can select the art boards and its contents and export them like that which still gets the same result.

Day 3

Today was a project day and without knowing what exactly to do I decided to log into my personal email and pull some things I sent myself as keep sakes before i left fairview. With my personal files on my computer now I logged on to lynda and watched a few videos. I learnt how to use shapes and some properties and key bound tricks to them. the coolest thing I learnt was that I can go into the shapes option with any polygon and round the corners and on the same tool while I’m drawing I can hold alt and that will either make it fatter or it will make it skinnier depending on the way I pull my mouse. I also found out a few tricks with the elpis tool and how to make pac-man buy adjusting a control hand on the side of the circle.

The final tool I was shown how to use before using all that I learned over the past few days was the pencil tool. the pencil tool is a little odd because the way it erases and the way it draws compared to the brush tool on photoshop. It tends to have a mind of its own so I’m gonna have to tweek on it a bit before it actually gets to my comfort zone.

Its only been day 3 and I’m getting pretty comfortable here. I just need to keep and open mind and an optimistic point of view on this place. good can and will come of it as long as I choose to be positive and productive about the class

Day 4

Today I went back and tried to make a little bit more progress on my project I started Thursday. Being a little indecisive I changed what I had been working on into a cat. gradually as I worked on it I was having trouble with the eraser because it doesn’t erase the same as the way photoshop does. I was trying to get a general erase and erase a line but it wants to erase a portion of it then snap what parts I don’t want to back and remove what I don’t want too. I’m not sure if there is a way to personalize the eraser to where it doesn’t do that so I’m gonna have too go and look sometime next week.

Other than working on my cat I picture I was also helping Kolton and Christian with their project skit. they were making a skit over a restaurant and they needed someone to help manage cameras and the osmo. What I did to help with their problem was time the recording times of the first two cameras on tripods perfectly then I would start the osmo.

Other than helping them with their cameras I also went and had my blood pressure taken by some of the health students fro and assignment they had.

My first week here wasn’t too bad just alot of adjusting to the new teaching style I’m in. ill gradually get more attune to it and it’ll get a whole lot easier for me. I’m not gonna lie its still a bit of a culture shock to me right now, but ill adapt to i just need to give it time to make it more home like and comfortable for me.

Also really quickly I added a new blush pack to my computer fro photoshop in case i ever start a project on photoshop on some project days in the future I’m not sure yet if ill ever do that or if on project days ill just try ad hone my skills on Illustrator and try to get better at that since I’m jumping feet first into it late in the year

Day 5

Today I was on lynda and finished chapter five then the sophomore tours started.  During the videos I did watch I learnt how to adjust and modify shapes and paths with the direct selection tool.  With the direct selection tool you’re able to select the stroke of a shape or the path that you have created and add new points or you can move some points and modify the line also like shown in the last few pictures of the “wonky” circle you can use the alt key and break the curve adjustment hands and modify a certain point by itself.

The last thing I did before getting distracted by the tours was I made a Star Logo with guides and shapes. I had actually made one of the drawings before I had come to Alva but I had quite a few issues with setting up my guides and other aspects before I could actually draw.  After the videos that i had watches though chapter 1,2,3,4, and 5 I found a lot of short cuts and tricks to making basic logos.  What I first did was I created my guides for my artboard.  After that I drew my circle for the logo as the base shape, then I selected the circle and selected the draw under option and I then drew on the guides three rectangles for my logo.  The next step was I selected each shape separately and made the rectangles a bright red that was a default color in my swatches, the circle I colored a navy blue the reselected with the regular selection tool. Once selected I selected the draw inside tool and drew my star in the center of my circle and to make sure it would stay upright and nor rotate the direction I don’t want it too I held down the shift  key.  When I finished the star it wasn’t the color I wanted it.  The star was the color of my circle, so I had to select the star by itself and change the color of it to white, which was in my swatches.  After the logo was finished I selected the view tab then went to guides and removed all guides.  Once the guides were removed I saw something I didn’t like.  The stroke had stayed on each shape and made it look really bad so I selected the shapes again then I made the stroke on each one transparent so that it wouldn’t show anymore. Once I was content and satisfied with the positioning of everything I signed my signature with the drawing tablet (Im still kinda getting use to signing with the tablet)

Day 6

Today I started chapter 6 on Illustrator playlist I’ve been on lately.  During this chapter I’m learning more on how to make cool effects and more tricks to make working easier for me. The first trick I was taught was how if I copy something then I can press command D and it will duplicate it in the exact same way the other was from the previous copy.  That means I can have perfect spacing with objects.  Another trick with that is if i size something up and move it it will move the next duplication of that object the same distance and increase its size the exact same as I previously increased it.  With the command D keystroke I can not only duplicate exact proportions I make, but I can also make my effects gradual.  This means if I’m rotating an object and duplicate it so that it moves a certain distance like on the clock and just make the tick marks uniform and perfect then wen i use the keystroke it will place the next copy the same distance from the last copy made.

The last thing I learnt in the video was how to transform and object.  As shown in the last 2 pictures the bottom left hand corner there is a triangle that rotates and gradually gets bigger which makes it look like its getting closer, I can make this effect by opening the transformation option menu by pressing Shift, Alt, Command and D all at once.

We also went to the career center today and I got to ass another volunteer activity and then I had to fill out an application.  The requirements for the application were pretty basic, I had to put references, where I go to school, if Im anywhere where technical training is taught.  I also had to put what I plan on graduating as, which is a Graphic Design Specialist, and the last thing I did was ass some references that could support my work ethic.  The people I referenced were 2 of my bosses an old woodshop instructor and another worker I work with.  After that I went through and filled in a few things that I did not have the information for and deleted some needed ‘cells’.  After all of that it was time for me to leave and come back to class

Day 7

Today I got a lot accomplished.  I finished my goals fro this week.


The first thing I did was re-watch the scaling video so kind of get a recap on how to scale objects and just a few more things with it that I may not have grasped yesterday

After scaling objects I watched how to reflect objects with the reflect tool.  The reflect tool is a lot like the rotate tool but it will take your object and make a mirror image of if you hold down the alt key.  It does require the setting of a point to rotate around though.


After reflecting I went on to coloring the fill of selected objects.  This lesson was particularly simple other than just trying to select everything I wanted without moving all the objects from their original positions which was messing up the picture.


Next I found out about gradients and all of the settings that go along with them.  In illustrator the gradients settings and functions are different but surprsingly easier than on photoshop.  During this lesson I was working with the keystrokes and some how deleted all of my tools and had to reset everything manually which took up quite a bit of time sadly.


Once I fixed my tools I went on how to apply strokes and all the things about them. I found out that I am able to position where I want my stroke on my drawn path and how to control the weight of it.screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-8-56-54-am

I then learned how to apply certain ends to my lines and how to dot them.  You can open the stroke menu and that will allow you to add arrows to the ends then you can make it dotted or more real and look as if it was drawn by a real pen or pencil.


The next lesson covered was how to create gradients on my strokes.   This is especially useful because it allows me to make more defined and realistic looking drawings without having to do all of the shading and coloring in myself which saves me a lot of time. The way you apply a gradient to a stroke is first make sure it has a thick enough line that you can see it, then you have to make sure the the stroke is sitting on the path normally (not on the inside or on the outside of it the centered with the path) the you can apply your gradient and start adjusting things about it accordingly and make it a radial a d gradually make it link more and more realistic with the sliders on the gradient timeline.

The most confusing tool I used was the width tool, and I actually had alot of problems with it. it allows me to adjust the width of a stroke and change things about it which once I got it down it mad esomeplrerty cool things.  I drew a basic little tree skeleton and with the width tool I was able to make it a full fledged tree without and extra drawing or anything, just using the handles created from each point I made where I clicked on the path.

I then learned how to make global color swatches.  Its pretty simple, you pretty much just select the color you want to be global then you click add swatches.  After you select add swatches you get a menu to customize the CMYK or RGB color then you make sure the color is selected as a global then click ok and there it is.


The next thing the videos covered was about creating my own personal colors on then it also showed how to import colors that can get sent to you which allowed me to chance the color of the coffee shop logo

The next to last thing I learned was how to do was get more in-depth with my drawings and add strokes to then, effects, gradients, ect. but all as layers on that one selected drawing but not like sublayers.

The final thing I covered was how to create, modify, and save graphics.  The way you change graphics in illustrator is slightly different but pretty much the exact concept as Photoshop and being that I had prior knowledge on how to work photoshop effects it made this lesson a bit easier. It generally deals with the appearance panel for these effects which is the panel that “layers” panel

Day 8

Today is project day and we were all asked to got a doodle 4 google and vote for the pictures we liked the most.  Not knowing if it was wanted I screenshotted the ones I voted for




Today for project day I was going to hone my skills with the gradient tool. pen tool , direct select tool, and also get to know the appearance panel a little better.  Now to start with I used the transform trick (shift, alt, command, and d) on a rectangle to make then general basic shape of my sword.  the main reason I chose a sword fro the gradient skills is because the blade, hilt, guard, and pommel all are metallic objects on a real blade and by using the gradient tool I am abel to make it look more realistic.  After making the general shape I got my pen tool and outlined the shapes I created and made my outline of it so work with.   next I used the direct select tool to make my swords general blade shape which was pretty interesting being that I’m not real good with the direct select tool but it turned out pretty well.  Once finishing the shape of the blade I started the gradients to make it look like light was casting onto the blade.   The main thing that really makes it look more solid of a light is the drop shadow I put behind it.  After finishing my blade I went onto the Hilt and hand guard.  I wanted a brass look to them so I got a goldish brown color for it and white to resemble a glare of light because when light hits brass it makes a bright glare onto it.  The trick to this one because I drew them separately was getting the gradients to match up.  after that I made the handle and wanted it too look like a dark wood with silverish blue accents to it.  Tomorrow since its another project day I plan on finishing my sword an giving it a very realistic finish to it

Day 9

Today was the last day of the week!!!!!!!! I finished my sword and re-thought a few things on it then I created by neck ground. Once I finished my background I went through some brush presets and found a pretty cool brush for my grass.  The first back ground I went for was a more desolate and war like battle field but because I couldn’t get the sky and the ground to go well together I went for a look that was more of an after the battle had finished look.  The drop shadow of the while group was pretty difficult to get set right because I had to go through and get everything set right so it would look good,  Towards the hang guard there is a drop shadow I set awhile back but when I went to look for it, it has no drop shadow in my settings which confused me but it still turns out pretty good. The last thing I did was put a flare on the picture to kinda resemble sunlight to add a realistic look to the shadow.  Even though it looks slightly cartoony it actually looks good to me.

Just as another small filler project to get my feet wet on radial gradients I made a poke-ball.  This small project was actually slightly difficult for me.  I ran into a few difficult road blocks when getting it put together and with the gradients.  When putting it together I kept noticing that it wasn’t wanting to set right for me.  The white on the bottom wanted to set itself lower than it should have been.  i sent the alignment setting controls to vertical and horizontal center everything which fixed my problem with the positioning.  on the gradients it went pretty smooth for the first bit of it but once again the white was giving me issues.  Because it was made form a circle then turnt into a half circle it wanted to put the gradient too into the center but with the right coloring and shading it ended up blending very well.

Day 10

The first thing I covered today was how to make complex shapes.  In this lesson I was able to take the selection of the circle and its inner circle and make it a hallow circle that could been arranged infant of the square and you could see though the circle and see the square behind it.

Then I covered how to use the pathfinder panel and use its simple control buttons to make different effects.

The next thing I covered was how to use brushes and the basics of brushes.  The brush is exactly like the pencil but with different appliances than just a plain stroke.


After the brush tool I went to the eraser tool which instead of erasing an potion I don’t want like in photoshop is modifies the path of the selected shape and only modifies the shape I have selected.

Last I watched a video on how to use the shape builder tool.  with the shape builder tool I’m able to take 2 selected shapes of my choice that overlap and combine them and make one shape out of them or make different shapes that look like they inter lock together like with the rings.  I’m even able to subtract things from the shapes i have selected by holding down the alt key. The last thing about the shape builder tool is that if I have a shape build with a color in the fill section of my colors I actually can make that the color I have selected.

Day 11


This morning I covered the basic pen tool capabilities.  With the pen tool I am allowed the use of curves and straight likes to make any shape I desire. This also allows me to trace other shapes with ease and accuracy.  When working with the pen tool it will occasionally do something called whip, now a whip is when the curve from your pen tool gets put of control after you just made one curve.  The way you fix a whip is when you hold down the alt/option key and click on the last point you created then you are allowed to place another anchor point but instead of a like that is curved fallowing it, it is a new straight line that you can create your next curve without having to fight the whip and do a lot of direct selection tool work to fix it.

My Biggest goal of the day was doing the typing.  I had a few issues with it because I wasn’t able to keep up with the video but I eventually found out how to work with the type tool and all the panels that associate with it and add some interesting effects.


The last part of the day  was the career center. During  career center I typed up a professional cover letter and thats pretty much it.  After the letter I did fix and add 2 or 3 things on my Resume and Job application.

Day 12

Today I started chapter 13 and it confused me really badly.  Ever since the typing I’ve been getting lost trying keep up with the video and have to replay them A LOT.

On this chapter I learnt how to place files with just simple edit/ place menu selection, then I went on to modifying the picture and if iI modify the picture the whole file change and allows me to set these changes into the AI project and then what changes I made will apply themselves to the placed picture.  Last of all i learnt how to embed linked files to the current AI file.  Its pretty simple but makes a giant change.  embedding files makes the apart of the AI file instead of being a linked file and unembedding them makes them a PSD file again then makes it a linked file to the AI project you are currently working on.  With this feature if you go to the linked files panel you can directly edit the original file and that will open the original linked file in Photoshop instead of Apple Preview.

Day 13

Today is Project day so I thought I would go into photoshop and modify and make one of my old drownings better than it was since I’ve developed a few skills since I created this picture.  The first thing I did was with each section of the picture that should be separate I went in with the magnetic lasso and made them their own layers.  This also let me make each item its own shadow to make it have more depth than be flat like the original.  On some layers I made the I also added a bevel or a gradient to make it look better.  This aged depth and a realistic look to the teeth and horn on the front of the mask.  To make the mask look worn down and realish I added some white on the red accents and used the smuge tool to blend the white in and make it look like the red was wearing off.  The one challenge  I ran into was that my items didn’t want to really line up that well but with a few more effects they started to look better and its not noticeable.  The biggest tool I used for separating everything was the Quick Edit Mask Mode tool this made my selections WAY prettier and cleaner than it I just left it as it was.  The final thing I plan on fixing when I get back from spring break is the hair.  I got them placed where I want the now I just need them where they look more in the picture than a bland flat surface.

This is the last day of the week so Spring Breaks starts today!!!! This means I can SLEEP in!!!!!!!!!!

Day 14

Today I got back from spring break, and boy I’m not ready to come back. I was working all week and I would like to have just a few more days to sleep more.

The first thing I did was go back through a few things I had early touched when we were leaving for break then I got caught up and went on with what I hadn’t learnt. The first NEW thing iI worked on was clipping masks and how to use them. The way a clipping mask works is you can take a simple shape like the circle drawn up and place it over a certain object like the picture of the woman.  The next thing you do is select both the circle and the object (the picture) and go up to your edit menu drop down, find clipping masks fly out menu, and click on create mask.  Once you do that you’re done with the piece of art work you are making a mask for. You don’t only need to use simple shapes either you can take a path drawn by your pen tool and make a mask out of it too.

Next I went over how to take a psd. or pdf. file and make it a vector based piece of art.  This was actually a whole lot  simpler than it sounds. i can take the non vector based file I have pave into Illustrator and then use the trace button in the object menu bar right above my artboard. That will roughly trace it into a vector path object the I am able to drop down the trace panel and modify the colors that I lost change the noise, paths, and corners and finally make my object a 100% vector bases piece of art within a matter of minuets.


After that I went on and learnt how to print off my objects.  This is the simplest thing so far in the course to be honest but that is because I am very well acquainted with printing objects.  the only thing different is some of the menu options which want even that different just pretty much different names  and a few different functions of them.

Then there was the packaging  files.  This was like simple saving but it allowed me to just make simple objects into pdf files

Next I learnt how to modify selected portions that I copy into photoshop.  I can take these objects I copy go to their layer on Photoshop double click on an icon in the bottom right corner of the preview picture of that layer and it will open the object in its original format (Adobe Illustrator) and modify it and make it chance itself on photoshop.

Finally I went over the way to change a file into a legacy file which means I pretty much made it available to be modified on a older version of Illustrator

Day 15

So today I talked to Mrs Frascht about getting me some new courses set up being that I finished my first course yesterday so I told her id like to do more on Illustrator and she went through the illustrator courses and picked out 6 or 7 of them for me to go through.  Being that I had pretty much unlimited knowledge at my finger tips at this moment I went through and listened to each one of the introduction chapters on all the courses she picked out for me and I selected four of them that I just couldn’t pass down. The four courses I selected, in this order I plan on doing them, were Tracing Artwork with Illustrator, Drawing Better and Faster with Illustrator CC, Perspective Drawing with Illustrator, and Illustrator CC 2015 One-on-One: Advance. After emailing the courses to Mrs Frascht I went ahead and Downloaded the Exercise files for the courses so that I would already have them at had but I compacted them into a file of their own so that I wouldn’t have a lot of clutter on my desktop.

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The reason why I don’t have the tracing course files in my AICC file is because that is the next course I plan on doing and I just want to be able to open up one file and be right there at it.

Today in Career Center I was finished with what was planned out for me until next week so i was researching college for graphic designing and digital arts.  One of my teachers told me that there is one on either Pennsylvania or in Philadelphia.  If iI cannot find me a good colleage for graphic designing or digital arts for me to really develop a mastery for my love with technology I platoon going to Bellingham, Washington and work for the FastCap Co. there.  In a nut shell FastCap is a company that produces a lot of packaged small goods.  They also make multiple wood working tools for carpenters and hobbyists.!prettyPhoto

This is a link to their work and they have 3 other sublinks for their office settings and how they really strive fro the goal of making a very neat, simple, and flexible setting.

I had mentioned FastCap yesterday I believe thats why I’m going on a way to show you why they really are.