Must-Know Adobe Illustrator Tips & Tricks for Beginners

Posted on March 10, 2013 by Jake Anderson

Adobe Illustrator is superb graphics-creation software. The designs can be drawn to scale within a grid without compromising on the aesthetics. Illustrator is commonly used in designing company logos, geographical mapping, creating illustrations and cartoons, designs for packaging materials, textile designing, drawing pictures that look like photos or portraits, and other categories of art work. The images can be small or big, but the resolution will always be excellent and without distortion.

adobe illustrator logo

Here are some tips and tricks for beginners on how to use Adobe Illustrator:

Creating the basic design

The first stage will naturally be categorization of the drawing – is it a cartoon character you are creating or a company logo? Once the style is decided, Illustrator provides numerous tools to create your basic design:

Creation: Click on the Hand icon and you can navigate through the design. With the Pen and Eraser options you can start drawing. Each tile in the grid is movable so that only that tile can be modified. You can use the Transform button to modified sections of the drawing and then place that tile into the grid.

Modification: If a design requires bolder strokes to create more emphatic lines, you can change the size of the Pen tip. Correspondingly, the Eraser can also be enlarged or reduced in size to suit your requirement. Of course, the usual Undo button is always there in case you change your mind. If you are still undecided, you can rely on the trustworthy Redo option.

Now that the foundation of your design is set, there is a cute icon that looks like a medicine-dropper. Just click on this tool and you will have a whole range of colors with varying shades at your disposal. You can select colors of different brightness and contrasts to suit the theme of your design.

Adding depth to the artwork

Creativity also implies uniqueness. To enhance your design, adding layers to a design will give it depth and a 3D effect. This is how you do it:

  • Click on the option “Layers”.
  • Now click on the Plus button and a blank layer is in the forefront for you to draw something new.
  • Use the Pen and Eraser tools to draw the content of the second layer and use the color palette to fill in the tints till this particular design is completed.
  • Click on the handle-shaped tool on the right side of your screen and drag the layer behind the first one.

If a particular layer seems out of place against the rest of the design, you can even delete it completely so it’s definitely not a point of no return. Never worry about being creative. With Adobe Illustrator everything is reversible and/or changeable.

Forming a cohesive art piece

The latest Adobe Illustrator has a unique tool called “Pattern Options”. It helps blend the different shapes, layers and colors into an artistic whole. Since each layer is made up of a grid with rows and columns, it is very easy to do partial modifications and set the modified bit into place again. You can repeat this process till the overall effect, with all the layers in place, looks perfect.

The “Pattern Options” really speeds up your artwork. The Copies button can be used whenever a particular pattern is repeated. You won’t need to redesign that bit over and over again. Also, if you want to move a particular section, you can move the tile on the grid to another section of the layer. You can even overlap the tiles in the grid that forms one layer. This gives a single layer greater depth.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to use Undo and/or Redo buttons. 

Of course, you want the drawing on the top layer to be prominent and only some sections of the lower layers to show in the finished design. The background of the lower layers has to be deactivated. The “Dim Copies To” button is great for changing a particular section of a particular layer from opaque to translucent. Once all the background layers are adjusted with this tool, the different designs will merge into one creative and seamless illustration. Adobe Illustrator is easy to use and has very dynamic tools to create really attractive and creative artwork.

About Jake Anderson

This is a guest post by Jake Anderson of, a site that offers savings and current information on services.

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