10 QUESTIONS from users of ILLUSTRATOR CS2/3
Over the past couple months I have been receiving some cool some odd questions regarding to Illustrator. This is nothing like a tutorial or answers how to draw things with step by step pictured instructions but some information about things people are curious about so Here I want to share the questions and answers.
1- Do I need to expand Illustrator brushes and why?
Yes, expanding the brush actually turns it into a shape which you can fill with different colors, change outline or shape itself, so it’s recommended to expand custom brushes to shapes, especially for stock it is a must.
2- How can I find open paths and close them easy?
I have a topic that you can download 2 small plugin to find and close paths in 2 steps. READ HERE
3- Do I need to use a graphic pad to create characters?
I recommend WACOM tablets as I have been using it for a while, so easier than mouse, fully adjustable with pressure settings, you can draw almost anything with tablets, mouse is a pain in the a…If you are serious about drawing complicated images such as hair, florals, eyes or cartoon characters Wacom is the way to go.
4- How can I create swirly florals?
:) well this has been a serious question, I got over 100 emails about it. I must admit, there is no easy 1 step plugin or tool to create florals, you can purchase brush sets or flower vectors as they are already drawn and ready to use but if you want to create your own florals first you need a graphic tablet, second understand to use pen tool (create outline of the shape) become familiar with it, practice to control pen’s movements and pressure.
Creating a floral shape is not that difficult, for the stem , just draw a nice curly line, when you are satisfied with the thickness and shape just expand the line to turn into a shape. Under OBJECT menu, select PATH/OFFSET PATH to change the thickness of the stem, you can set – or + 1,2 pixels to make it look more thinner or thicker.
for leaves, well, this would be challenging for most, but I prefer to go natural hand movements with paintbrush tool. Select a round brush from your brush library, double click on the brush and set the diameter section to PRESSURE , and if you are naturally skillful at drawing :) you can use this pressure very easy to control. And just go with the flow, draw a nice curvy leaf with pressure is on, try many times till you like your leaf, add some natural strokes coming out from the stem you created, after some practice you will be drawing stems, curls and leaves easier.
For those who does not want to draw but have it. HERE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD some free samples and purchase sets:)
5- How can I create seamless patterns and wallpapers?
Manual it is very difficult to align patterns, but I am talking about complicated patterns. I am suggesting 2 wonderful program that can change your life about patterns. First you need to create a very simple pattern, could be a spiral which you can easily create with illustrator spiral tool (don’t forget to expand) then a simple leaf and maybe dots around and a stroke, group them. Then what? Here with your simple pattern you can create hundreds of different patterns seamlessly. And I promise they would not look same.
First program called XTREAM PATH , it’s a plugin has 36 wonderful path editing tools in it. But wallpaper and mirroring tools are the ones I am going to share here. You can create 17 different style seamless wallpaper or 1 unit pattern from your simple pattern. Very easy to use, you actually just click one of the wallpaper tools set it to one unit only or wallpaper setting and draw a shape on your pattern, ta da you will have a cool wallpaper repeating from the section of your actual pattern. It has great documentation to explain how to do things so I won’t be writing here. HERE IS THE WEBSITE for that plugin.
Second program is called SYMMETRYWORKS, wonderful little big plugin, you will love it. Here is the address to check this program out.It it just for creating seamless wallpapers so have it HERE
6-Converting to EPS8 killed my transparency and blending layers , what the hell happened?????
We convert AI files to EP8 for compability , so CorelDraw and Freehand users can open the vector image as is. But disadvantage of this conversation is you will be loosing all your paths with transparent and blending areas. Basically your top transparent layer get flatten to bottom layer and you loose this two layer, they combine into one shape which we all hate:) Simple way to avoid it should be not using transparency or any blending such as (overlay, multiply..etc) if you are doing conversation, also you will get open paths all over the image because of that. Don’t use it. Gradients are ok if they are not too extreme. Sometimes you can get weird colors after conversation with too many gradient areas.
7- How can I become a freelance illustrator? How about copyrights, agreements and all that stuff I need to know??
There is two websites I recommend, there is more out there but these two are my favorites. Check it out.
You need to create a custom agreement plan first. Set your Flat rate or hourly rate, deliver dates, project scope, how many revisions you offer (this is important so they don’t bug you for 20 revisions) and final delivery times should be set in the agreement, also you need to add copyright information to your agreement. If you are selling the copyrights to a customer, you should indicate that clearly with all circumstances. If not you still need to add this information that you are still holding the copyrights of the artwork you created.
If you are using another artist’s creations, be sure you purchase the right licenses such as a Stock pattern to be used on a wedding invitation should be licenced as EXTENDED LICENCE so they can run it unlimited times or how many times the licence limits it and make sure your clients know about it, just to avoid legal problems that can hunt you later:)
Apart from these you need to have a payment plan. I suggest 50% upfront before you even switch your computer on. 50% after project is done. If it is a bigger project with more than 10 or more images split payments in to 3 or 4. Never send anything original to your client before last payment is confirmed. Be sure add this plan to your agreement.
And last of all file everything, emails, payment documents (GET A PAYPAL account if you don’t have one), all files you created, never delete any file after project is done. They can hire you again for more same thing. Good luck.
8- How can I create Halftone dots?
I have a topic about this too which is kind a unfinished but you can still get a perfect halftone shape with the instructions. READ IT HERE
9- Where can I find FREE VECTOR STUFF ??
Hmm, that must be the most asked and searched question on Google, probably freebie people already know about these websites but I will write share here. Please read terms and conditions of the free files before using them.
10- How can I create brush or swatches and save them as a library?
After creating your image all you need to do is drag and drop your image into the brush or swatch library, delete all illustrator’s own library which is already there , drag and drop as many image as you want and save them by clicking on top right hand corner arrow/save library.. your library is saved. Very simple.
Please add a comment if you have any other questions in mind. Thank you.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL