10 Techniques Every Beginner Needs to Master | Adobe Illustrator Tutorial

If you’re a beginner with Adobe Illustrator, this video is for you! We will cover 10 essential techniques that every beginner needs to know to level up in Illustrator. I’ll show you tips and tricks for creating shapes, adding fills to shapes, and even creating more complex shapes using the Pathfinder (or Shaper Tool.) You’ll also learn how to use the new Intertwine feature and even the power of smart guides (which are a powerful tool for aligning and distributing your shapes.) Additionally, I’ll explain how to use clipping masks to trim your artwork and designs, as well as how to align shapes and distribute them evenly. Finally, I’ll show you how to export your artwork from Adobe Illustrator so you can share it with the world. With these 10 techniques, you’ll be on your way to becoming an Adobe Illustrator pro!

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1. Creating basic shapes tips

Hold shift to make perfect squares and ellipses (and any other shape.)

Hold down Alt/Opt to drag the shape out from the center.

Hold down Shift while dragging a shape to drag it in a straight line.

Drag the corners of shapes to round them. TIP: Grab the Direct Selection tool (white arrow) if you’re having trouble seeing the handles to drag rounded corners.

2. Object Intertwine

Drag out a few rectangles and fill them with different colors.

Round the corners and rotate to make some kind of hash mark.

Select all the shapes by dragging a selection over them with the Selection tool (the black arrow.)

Now go Object>Intertwine and draw circles over the intersecting areas you want to appear intertwined. Done!

3. Smart Guides

Turn on Smart Guides by going View>Smart Guides.

Create a series of squares and Alt/Opt + drag to make copies and show the different ways that the boxes click together and present information immediately.

4. Grouping Artwork & Copying it

Select all of the boxes that have been created and check out the Layers panel to see how many objects are there. We can group these selected objects together to make it a little easier to work with them.

Before we do that, let’s copy these boxes and make a little shadow underneath them.

Select all of the boxes and go Edit>Copy. Then go Edit>Paste and we will see how the new boxes are dropped anywhere on the artboard.

In this case, we could use the Smart Guides that we just learned about to click these together again, but it’s far faster to paste the boxes right in place.

Do this by going Edit>Paste in Front/Back instead of doing the standard Paste function.

We want this to be pasted “in back” because these boxes will be the shadow of our boxes. All we need to do is change the fill color.

Select the fill color and change it to black and use the Move tool and Shift + right arrow and Shift + down arrow to nudge the shadow down and over to the right a little bit.

Check out the Layers panel again and notice all the shapes we now have created. Imagine how complex this will become with larger and large illustrations and designs.

We can quickly make it much easier to control and adjust our artwork by grouping things together.

If we wanted to make the shadow color a dark gray instead of black, we’d have to select each shape and change the color. That takes too much time.

Instead, we can select all of those black shapes once and go Object>Group and now they are in one clickable group. Do the same with the white boxes.

Now look at the Layers panel and see how clean it all is. You can open any group to see all of teh individual shapes still retained inside of the groups.

5. Applying and editing colors, gradients-and freeform gradients, and patterns

Double-click into the top white box group so you can select individual boxes to begin playing with fills and strokes.

Show how to change fill/stroke with the toolbar.

Show how to use the Swatches panel.

Show how to use the Color panel.

Load in more patterns via the hamburger menu in the Swatches panel and add a pattern to a couple of the boxes.

Show how to add a gradient with the toolbar.

Show how to add a gradient with the swatches panel.

Show how to add a gradient with the Gradient panel.

Build and edit a gradient in the panel.

Build and edit a Freeform Gradient in the panel.

You can also add gradients to a stroke.

6. Understanding and using the Pathfinder panel to divide and trim shapes

Create some shapes with any fill you like.

Open the Pathfinder panel by going Window>Pathfinder.

Move the shapes so they overlap a little and start playing with the different Pathfinder options and see what they do.

Pathfinder will be one of the most invaluable tools for creating complex shapes from basic shapes with ease.

7. Utilizing the Align panel to align and distribute objects (Align to Key Object!)

Take multiple objects and align them to the center of the artboard using the Align panel.

Take an object and align to another object by setting that object as the key object.

Take multiple objects and distribute them across the artboard (or key object!)

8. Using the Clipping Mask tool to hide parts of an object

Create a simple shape above the ice hockey player artwork and use that shape as a Clipping Mask.

[Recording note:] Show a complex shape that won’t work as a clipping mask and how to expand to the point where it will work. (Make a star/burst design using a 30pt line and transform.)

9. Global color in shapes and gradients

Ungroup and use the Magic Wand tool (set to zero tolerance) to select a dark blue from the hockey player and convert that to a global color. NOTE: This newly-made global color is now filling the shapes we selected and it’s available to fill any other shapes we want as well.

Select a light blue from the background with the Magic Wand tool. Convert this light blue to a global color.

Use the two new global colors in the gradient that makes up the background.

Double-click the global color swatches in the Swatches panel and make changes and see how all the colors attached to this global color change as well.

10. Exporting and saving artwork in various file formats.

Export artboard or entire visible areas with File/Export As

Export the selection with File>Export Selection

Use the Export Assets panel and create multiple assets and versions with this dialog and export them to wherever you want on your hard drive.