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Perhaps one of the most daunting things about using Illustrator is what I call this blank screen that we start out with. This is especially true for people who are new to using Illustrator. For example, when you create a new document, I will just press Command+N or Ctrl+N to create this document and I will use my letter size page. I am actually basing this in my Print profile, but I just want this to be a wide format, a landscape instead of a portrait view and I'll click OK. So now I have this page here. It's a blank page. I've got all these tools in the left side, and we've got all of these panels in the right side over here, and I have a blank screen and I don't know where to begin.
If I have a really good idea in my head about what I want to create, I could start to put some stuff on my page, but usually when you have a blank page like this, it's just a little bit more difficult to kind of get an idea about where you want to start. This is different than other applications, for example Photoshop, where nine times out of ten you are actually opening a photograph and you're going to start working with a photo. So what we do inside of Illustrator? When we want to draw artwork, we want to create artwork, I find it very useful to actually first draw your ideas out on paper. It just gives you a better way to visualize what you are trying to create so that when you get into Illustrator you at least know where to begin, where to start from.
So in this project, I really want to work on drawing that nice cute little zebra that we've seen before and if I go here to that File menu, I can choose Place, because I want to place an image now as my layout and in Chapter 2 over here of my exercise files I am going to choose this file called misterszee.psd. If I click Place right now, it now puts this image onto my page and I am going to be using this image as a base for my design. It's a sketch that I have created with just pen and paper and I just scanned it in and then I have placed it now here into Illustrator.
The concept here is that I at least have something to look at. So in my head I have a really good idea about where I am going to start. Perhaps most importantly sketching allows us to visualize the shapes that we are going to need to draw. We build artwork by creating simple shapes and then combine them or subtract them to create more complex ones. Well, now by looking for example at his stripes, I might say, oh you know, I can use some ovals to create those strikes. So the more work that you can do on pen and paper, just by sketching your ideas and then bringing them into Illustrator as an image, it gives us a great way to get started with our artwork.
As long as I have an idea and I can visualize what shapes I am going to need to create my artwork, then that's going to get it out from me to use as a sketch. Now in the next movie we will talk about how once we bring our sketch into Illustrator how we can set it up to make it easy for us to create our trace.
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