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By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Flirting with Geometric Genius: Illustrator & Islamic Design


Islamic artwork is often based on complex geometry: shapes and lines that align precisely.

While it’s not strictly representative, this geometry invokes stars, plants, planets, and other elements of the natural world. It’s breathtaking to behold in person at sites like the Alhambra, a Moorish palace—and the imagery inspires designers around the world.

A Tunisian stained glass window inspired the Islamic design featured in this week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques.

Deke uses a picture of the window as a template in Illustrator, but if you follow along with his instructions, you can re-create the pattern on your own, from scratch.

By Doug Hills | Thursday, September 24, 2015

Create Your Own Pop Art with Manga Studio

Manga Studio illustration

In celebration of my new Manga Studio Essential Training course on lynda.com, I’m going to show you how to take a drawing and turn it into a piece of Pop Art.

You can take part in this exercise, too. You can download my original drawing, an attempt at drawing Breakfast at Tiffany’s-era Audrey Hepburn, as a Manga Studio file. So you can work right along with me!

By Anne-Marie Concepción | Thursday, September 24, 2015

Create a Keyboard Shortcut for the [None] Character Style in InDesign


Designers rely on keyboards shortcuts to get their work done faster and more efficiently in InDesign.

Font styles, for example, are much easier to apply from the keyboard than by scrolling through the Paragraph and Character Styles panels.

However there is one (and only one) character style InDesign won’t let you assign a keyboard shortcut to: the [None] style.

We’ll show you a workaround.

By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Create a Custom Smartphone Home Screen with Deke

smartphone home screen

Photos make fine wallpaper, but with the latest generation of smartphones, it’s almost as easy to add custom artwork to your home screen.

The key is to size the artwork correctly and position image elements so they don’t interfere with the phone’s interface.

In this episode of Deke’s TechniquesDeke shows how to use Photoshop to create a custom smartphone home screen, whether you have an Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone.

By Danielle Fritz | Friday, September 18, 2015

Hand Lettering Challenges for Designers

hand lettering challenges

All designers need a little inspiration now and then.

I was coming off of a draining advertising art-director role, feeling burnt out and desperate to revive my passion for the craft of design.

Intrigued by the hot hand-lettering trend, and having always harbored a love of sketching and typography, I set about creating mini hand-lettering challenges for myself—to take my design skills to the next level.

I won’t lie—it took time and persistence to learn these skills.

But in just a few years I’ve built a large reference library and growing portfolio of work, improved my ability to sketch multiple styles quickly, gained confidence in my lettering and illustration abilities, and pushed my conceptual thinking and writing skills.

And whether you’re new to hand-lettering or a seasoned pro, you can benefit from these challenges, too.

Give them a try!

By David Blatner | Thursday, September 17, 2015

Navigate Pages Using Bookmarks in InDesign

using bookmarks in indesign

Long documents can be organized in a number of ways: by sections, chapters, or categories. But all long documents contain pages—and pages are your best bet for navigating around in InDesign.

In this free episode of InDesign Secrets, I show you a trick for jumping to particular pages in InDesign with bookmarks.

By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wrapping Text Around an Image in Illustrator


Wrapping text around an image in InDesign is easy. In Illustrator? Not so much.

When graphics are on a separate layer in Illustrator, text wrap just doesn’t work. Luckily, Deke McClelland is here to show us a simple but elegant solution.

By Trish Meyer | Monday, September 14, 2015

Try Your Hand at Calligraphy! Start with These Pens

calligraphy tools

As a typoholic with a vast type library, I always thought I could find the perfect font for every job. But so often when designing a motion-graphics opening for a video client, I found the title required a more personal touch than even the most charming “handwriting” font.

So I decided to learn calligraphy.

Calligraphy is “continuous writing” with little to no touching up, and it ranges from very formal to very expressive. Depending on which calligraphic script (also known as style or hand) you want to write, you’ll need either an edged pen or a pointed pen.

Here’s a Just-Enough-to-Be-Dangerous Guide to traditional calligraphy pens. I’ve included a pair of videos so you can see how these tools work, along with a link to a Resources page if you’d like to do further research.

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