Illustrator is one of the most powerful tools in the Adobe family. It’s incredibly popular with artists, marketers, graphic designers, and professionals. You can create really impressive designs with this helpful tool.
Experts and newbies alike can learn a lot about Illustrator. There’s so many features that you won’t be familiar with them all.
We’ve sourced some of the best tips and tools in Illustrator. You may not know about them all. After reading this though, you’ll be an expert.
Learn to Use the Smooth Tool
Some people may believe that the smooth tool is overused. Beginners learn to use it and sometimes never move on. However, learning to use it efficiently is vital.
No matter how good you are, there will be imperfections. These can stick out and make your work look slightly less impressive. This can be frustrating for you. This is where the smooth tool comes in.
The smooth tool does exactly what you think it does. It smoothes out lines and anchor points to make your images look high-quality and crisp. Learn to use it and your images will look better than ever.
Press and drag the smooth tool to smooth out a line. Once you release it, there’ll be less points. It’s a simple tool, but one of the best. Having it handy is the first step to becoming an Illustrator master.
I personally love the Scribble tool simply because it’s so versatile. As you can see in this link, there’s so many looks. You can make your scribbles childlike or professional. Typically, the Scribble feature is good for logos or even website backgrounds. It’s completely up to you how you use it, though.
This tool isn’t in the toolbox itself. Find the Scribble tool by going to Effect>Stylize>Scribble. You’ll have multiple options to choose from, such as Child-like or Zig-Zag.
“There’s also a tonne of customisable features such as line options and spacing which makes for a good experimentation session,” says Tina Goodwin, an Adobe Illustrator user working for UK Top Writers.
Learning to Use Swatches
Swatches are typically one of the first things that Illustrator users learn. For some people, the swatches window is open all the time. However, did you know just how many swatches there are available for you to download and use? This guide shows you just how you can download them for use. The more you use them, the more accurate your colours will be.
Swatches can help with anything. You can swatch the exact colour of a pineapple. Maybe you need an exact skin tone. They can do it. Don’t forget to highlight the ones you love for quick and easy access on your projects!
“When you’ve found a colour scheme or swatch that you like using, you can click the colour group icon, the folder that you can find to the left-hand side of the colour, so it’s always readily available” shares Darren Johnson, a designer for Elite Assignment Help.
The Copy Tool
This is a very simple tool, but it’s by far one of the most important. However, there are many variations of this tool that can save you time and effort.
For example, if you highlight what you want to copy, hold down ALT, or Option on Mac, and then simply drag the image, you’ll produce an instant copy in no time at all! You can also copy using the Layers tool. It all depends on your preferences. Find the method that works for you.
Using the Colour Guide
The colour guide on Illustrator is your best friend. Learning to use it can save you so much time and effort. Whether you’re looking for that perfect tint of red or an alternative shade that matches the colour scheme that you’re using, the colour guide is there to help.
All you need to do to use this effective tool is choose a colour you want to use. Then open the colour palette to start browsing every colour you can imagine.
“Never forget that there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of colour guide tutorials on the Internet and within the Illustrator documentation and tutorials. Learn how to use this guide to the best of your ability since colour is such an incredibly important part of your process” states Naomi Winter, a UX designer working for Top Canadian Writers.
This guide is a good place to start. The Colour Guide may feel intimidating at first. Once you get to grips with it, you’ll know what to do.
Master the Width Tool
Since you’re using Illustrator, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of brushes. You know how you can use and experiment with them for various creative results and effects. However, in some cases, these brushes won’t have the desired effect.
In these situations, you’re going to want to use the Width Tool. Although the tool is relatively new to the software, it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular. You can use it to create true depth to your images as well as generating a new style not commonly seen with other toolbox resources.
Videos are a good way to see how this tool works. Take a look and see how this artist uses the tool. You can then borrow these skills in your own work.
Don’t Forget to Sample Your Text
More commonly known as Text Sampling, this is an incredibly worthwhile skill to learn. For example, let’s say you’ve just written out a piece of text.
However, you know need to create five more lines of text with the same font size, design, style etc.
Instead of manually having to enter all the information to make it identical again, simply use the eyedropper tool, and it will copy the requirements of the original text into your new text!
Learning to Align Objects
One of the biggest tips I can share when it comes to Illustrator is learning to align your objects masterfully. You can do this by clicking the ‘Align Object’ button in the Align window. Sometimes, you’ll be looking for something with a little bit more control.
For example, if you’re looking for a way to align one object with everything else in your layer, simply click the object you want to use as your anchor object. Now click on the Align Object icon and all the objects you’ve selected, one or more will align with that object independently.
Sign on the Dotted Line
As you may or may not know, Illustrator doesn’t have a dotted line tool.
As irritating as this may be, there is a way around it. However, it may take some practice to get used to the technique. Firstly, you’ll want to make sure that you have your stroke panel open.
Then, draw a line as though you were going to draw a dotted line and then select the ‘dashed line’ from the stroke panel. When you want to produce a gap, set the dash to ‘0’.
You’re probably going to want to experiment with this a bit until you achieve the desired effects. There’s nothing you won’t be able to master by playing around with it. Once you’ve achieved the desired results, simply select the round cap option, and you’ll have a dotted line where you need it.
Creating Styled Graphics (Retro)
One of the most popular trends at the moment is creating vintage and retro-styled images and designs. Depending on your technique, this can take hours of manpower. This is especially true if you’re new to the platform.
However, you can create quick yet still high-quality retro effect designs using a ‘weathered’ overlay. Of course, you can search online and download countless presents and overlays that can use. However, not many people realise that there’s already one sitting within your Illustrator program.
All you need to do is to head over to the symbols palette and select ‘artistic textures’. From personal experience, the best symbol for this task is the charcoal symbol. Feel free to experiment with whatever works well for you.
Once you’ve found one that you like, simply expand the appearance. Change the colour to whatever you want and then cover your image with it. You’ll find it generates a vintage or retro styled overlay in no time at all!
As you can see, there are many little tricks and tools that can save you so much time with Illustrator. The best way to enhance your skills is to practice and experiment to see what you can create.
Once you’ve found the perfect techniques and tactics, you’ll be able to progress your skills. You’ll be able to create anything you like using one of the most powerful creative suites in the world.