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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
We're going to be working on a couple of projects in this chapter and this is the first one. It's a file called Anasazi stop.ai and it's found inside the 06_Edit_transform folder. And what we're seeing on screen is an Anasazi stop sign, you know back in the ancient Navajo days in this country, back in the cliff dwelling days. Back in the really cool Plains Indian days when you came to an intersection, you would see this sort of Anasazi stop sign, that was warning you to stop.
Something that obviously I haven't learned to this day, how to stop. All right anyway we're going to be drawing this fanciful stop sign. Obviously they didn't have this stop sign back in those days. That whole thing was a ridiculous, ridiculous premise, but we are going to be creating it because it's cool, darn it, and it's really just a combination, ultimately, of a line and a spiral, but it's more than that, as you'll see. It takes a good deal more work than just drawing a line and a spiral but that is where we're going to start. Now if you look at the Layers palette over here, you'll see that we have basically the progression of this illustration from one stage to the next. So why don't we go ahead and take a look at it. I'm going to start with the bottom layer here, the elements layer and this is where you and I are going to start creating this project as well and notice that all it is is two lines.
So one line drawn with the Straight Line tool, another line drawn with the Spiral Tool. Sort of a clumsy spiral, but that's the Spiral Tool for you. It draws clumsy spirals that need to be modified as we'll see. Both of these lines are stroked. You can see the Stroke palette right here. Both of them are stroked with a line weight of 24 points, so pretty darn thick, and then we have a round cap and a round join as well. I'm not really taking advantage of the round join inside of these lines, but I am taking advantage of the round caps, darn it, and I should note that strokeD lines like this are good place to start when you're trying to create this kind of artwork. If I go back to the big unite final illustration here, you can see that these are really filled shapes, these are big filled shapes here, but notice that each one of the fingers is a consistent width and then the spiral is a consistent width too. Now that would be a bear to draw.
If I was just sitting down with the Pen Tool like way back in the old, old days of Illustrator when we didn't have any of these fancy functions that we have now. If I was trying to create this kind of thing with the Pen Tool from scratch, it would really take a lot of effort, whereas nowadays it's pretty darn easy, because we can just start with these stroked paths and build from there. So what I'm trying to say to you is we're not going to be doing any drawing inside of this entire chapter. We're just doing editing and transforming work, mostly using the arrow tools and a few other tools on the side, as you'll see.
So we'll start with these guys right here. Then we'll move on to these elements, where I've gone ahead and replicated the straight line to make some fingers and I've moved them into various positions here. I've also stretched the spiral to make it a better looking spiral, so it's no longer the clumsy spiral. And then I go ahead and outline these strokes, so you can see now their path outlines, instead of being stroked straight lines and spirals, and then we're going to go ahead and scale these items to fit so that the spiral and the lines match up with each other, that is the spirals and the fingers match up with each other, and then I'm going to go ahead and stroke the entire thing in order to make the lines thicker.
And then finally of course, we end up filling and adding some drop shadows and a few other niceties in order to create the final version of the Anasazi stop sign that you see before you now. So that's what we're going to be doing over the course of these next few exercises. I hope you join me because I think you're going to learn a lot.
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