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To sketch or not to sketch?

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: To sketch or not to sketch?

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.

To sketch or not to sketch?

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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This video is part of

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  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. The evolution of vector drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      27s
  2. 39m 2s
    1. Plotting points vs. drawing paths
      5m 36s
    2. Drawing artwork vs. building artwork
      7m 59s
    3. The keyboard shortcuts you HAVE to know
      8m 52s
    4. Groups and layers really do matter
      3m 11s
    5. Taming Smart Guides and the Bounding Box
      10m 53s
    6. Do you need a drawing tablet?
      2m 31s
  3. 47m 51s
    1. To sketch or not to sketch?
      2m 32s
    2. Setting up a template layer for your sketch
      3m 37s
    3. Optimizing default settings for drawing
      5m 27s
    4. Using the primitive shapes tools
      5m 7s
    5. Mastering the modifier keys
      2m 8s
    6. Mastering the transform tools
      6m 37s
    7. Creating curves with the Reshape tool
      6m 44s
    8. Using the Smooth tool
      3m 35s
    9. Using Simplify to create smooth paths
      3m 2s
    10. Recording an action for the Simplify command
      5m 2s
    11. Mirroring art for speed and accuracy
      4m 0s
  4. 50m 18s
    1. Deconstructing the Pathfinder panel
      1m 56s
    2. Using the Shape Modes functions
      12m 4s
    3. Using the Pathfinder functions
      13m 4s
    4. Understanding how compound shapes work
      11m 45s
    5. Understanding why compound shapes exist
      7m 32s
    6. Exploring additional Pathfinder options
      3m 57s
  5. 52m 51s
    1. Why Live Paint was created
      10m 45s
    2. Creating a Live Paint group
      4m 21s
    3. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      7m 8s
    4. Using Live Paint with open paths
      5m 6s
    5. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      3m 42s
    6. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      5m 34s
    7. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      6m 28s
    8. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 59s
    9. Understanding how Live Paint works
      6m 48s
  6. 27m 37s
    1. Why the Shape Builder tool was created
      4m 18s
    2. Focusing on the big three: Add, Subtract, and Divide
      2m 27s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool to add and subtract artwork
      9m 50s
    4. Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork
      3m 48s
    5. Building and coloring artwork at the same time
      3m 50s
    6. Using Gap Detection with the Shape Builder tool
      3m 24s
  7. 23m 2s
    1. Understanding how variable widths work
      8m 25s
    2. Modifying width points along a path
      7m 9s
    3. Saving time with width profiles
      5m 14s
    4. Turning variable width strokes into filled paths
      2m 14s
  8. 28m 21s
    1. Understanding how the Pen and Pencil tools differ
      4m 41s
    2. Adjusting the behavior of the Pencil tool
      7m 5s
    3. Using the Path Eraser tool
      1m 17s
    4. Drawing with the Calligraphic Brush tool
      5m 43s
    5. Drawing with the Blob Brush tool
      5m 53s
    6. Using the Eraser tool
      3m 42s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Looking at the VectorScribe plug-in
      2m 16s
    2. Next steps
      1m 28s

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