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In this installment of the Illustrator Insider Training series, Mordy Golding shows how to draw vector artwork quickly, precisely, and efficiently—without having to think about technical concepts like anchor points or control handles. The course highlights intuitive drawing techniques using the Pathfinder functions, Live Paint groups, Shape Builder tool, and variable-width strokes. It also describes the sketching workflow and features in Illustrator that use pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, allowing designers to focus more on their creativity.
It's important to realize that variable widths are really just stroke attributes. They're no different than regular strokes that you apply to your artwork, and from a production perspective sometimes we may think about when we send artwork out to other people to work on, we want to convert all of our stroke outlines to actual filled paths. The reason why we want to do that, especially with logos or artwork that's going to be reused many times, is because when people scale artwork inside of Illustrator they may have different settings for those options.
For example, if I go to Preferences here, I'm going to choose Illustrator here and choose Preferences and I go down to where it says General, and again if you're on Windows you would choose Edit and then Preferences. You can see there is an option here called Scale Strokes & Effects, which right now is turned off. That would mean if I took Mister Zee right now and enlarged him to 300%, my stroke weight would not scale along with the artwork. The paths would get larger, the artwork would get larger, but the stroke weights would all stay the same.
Now again, there may be times when you want that to happen and maybe times when you don't, but usually when you create artwork, well like I said logos or artwork that's going to be used in many, many different ways or applications, you probably don't want to keep artwork which stroke weights intact and you want to convert them to actual filled paths and that way they'll always scale correctly. So I'm going to click on the Cancel button here. I'm just want to show you that if you select some paths, for example I'll select these three paths that each have widths applied to them. I can go up to the Object menu and choose Path and then choose Outline Stroke, and when I do so, Illustrator now converts those to actual filled paths.
So they're no longer editable as strokes. I can no longer modify their widths using the Width tool. They're treated as regular filled objects inside of Illustrator. So if I know I want to lock down the look of my artwork, I know I'm not going to be making any other changes to this artwork, I might choose to select all my strokes and convert them to filled paths in this way to ensure that the integrity of my artwork remains constant, no matter how it's used, no matter where it's used, and no matter who uses it.
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