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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 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 Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Using the Join Tool in Illustrator CC

using the join tool in illustrator cc

Illustrator CC is always evolving. It now includes the Join tool, introduced in late October of 2014, for merging paths.

How is this different than joining paths with the Pen tool? Instead of creating a straight line between two points, the Join tool extends both paths and creates a new point where they intersect.

It’s a pretty cool effect but it helps—as with most Adobe innovations—to see the tool in action before you attempt to use it on your own.

So join Deke McClelland for this brief look at Illustrator’s new Join tool.

By John Roshell | Friday, August 7, 2015

Create a Font — Out of Your Own Handwriting


When people find out I’ve created hundreds of fonts for the comic book and video game industries over the last 20 years, one of the first things they ask is, “Can you make a font of my handwriting?”

The answer is “of course!” But even better, you can create a font out of your handwriting!

It’s actually not too hard to get a basic font up and running using your smartphone camera, Adobe Illustrator, and Glyphs Mini, a low-cost but remarkably powerful little font editing app. You can buy a license for Glyphs mini from the Apple App Store or the Glyphs site for $49, or try it free for 30 days.

Trust me: Typing out words in a font you’ve created is a thrill. So let me show you how to make a handwriting font.

By Lauren Harmon | Tuesday, August 4, 2015

An Optical Illusion in Illustrator — with Deke's Techniques

optical illusion in illustrator

Which way is up?!

When you see the orthogonal pattern in this week’s episode of Deke’s Techniques, you might not be able to provide an answer.

Because of an interesting optical effect (a combination of a repeating tile pattern and some clever shading), it appears as if any given row in the design is simultaneously coming toward you and receding away.

By John Roshell | Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Making of a Comic Book Page: Start to Finish

comic book page start to finish

San Diego Comic-Con is in full swing this weekend. For nearly 150,000 people, it’s a chance to dress up as a Stormtrooper, or a zombie, or a zombie Stormtrooper, and get the skinny on the latest video games, comic books, and movies.

But for those of us who work in the comics industry, Comic-Con is our annual opportunity to meet face-to-face with the people we collaborate with the rest of the year. Back in the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, comic books were created start to finish in one big office. But now writers, artists, letterers and colorists—like creative folk in many fields—can live and work wherever we like.

For example, the Eisner Award-winning comic Astro City is written by Kurt Busiek in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, drawn by Brent Anderson in the San Francisco Bay Area, colored by Alex Sinclair in San Diego, lettered by me and my Comicraft cohorts in Santa Barbara, and coordinated by editors Kristy Quinn and Molly Mahan at the DC Comics office in Burbank. The comic and its creative team celebrate Astro City’s 20th anniversary next month, so our system must be working!

Here’s a peek behind the scenes at how Astro City is produced, from the moment the script is finished until files are delivered to the publisher for printing.

By Lauren Harmon | Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Creating a String of Pearls in Illustrator—with Deke's Techniques

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 1.20.59 PM

Learn how to add a unique decorative border to letters or other objects by creating a string of pearls from scratch in Illustrator, using the tricks shown in this week’s Deke’s Techniques.

Deke enhances this sweet and simple “XO” taken from a dingbats font, but you can choose any object with path outlines.

By Lauren Harmon | Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Convert Corner Points to Smooth Points in Illustrator

convert corner points to smooth points in illustrator

Want to achieve more organic-looking results in your drawings? Learn how to convert corner points to smooth points in Illustrator and get the super smooth results you’ve been looking for.

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