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Best of the Vector Web – April 2011

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Each month, we search the web for the best vector-related content and showcase it here for you all to enjoy. This month, we showcase high quality tutorials on using vector patterns in your illustrations, adding killer chrome to your text, giving your identities skulltastic flavor, and more. We have loads of tutorials, in addition to inspiring articles, resources, and useful freebies inside. Dig into April's illustration and design material for vector enthusiasts.

Vector Tutorials

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    Add Depth to Abstract Illustrations

    George Chichinadze uses Illustrator and a bit of Photoshop in this beginner tutorial to quickly create a strong sense of depth in abstract work. The techniques used here are easy to implement and the results are attractive. A great tutorial to give a try and work on your composition skills.

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    Hot Rod Monster Design Process

    Philip Hepler here from 316 Graphics shows us the design process behind the next Arsenal vector pack. The concept is a lot of fun with some hot rod elements which later turned into a vector set inspired by the art style of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. Learn all about the design process for this fun vector pack. You can also watch the vector brush process video as well.

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    How To Create a Cool Chrome Text Effect in Illustrator

    Follow this step by step tutorial from Chris Spooner on how to create a super cool retro chrome text effect in Illustrator. Learn to use a range of gradients to give the impression of bright highlights, then take the text into Photoshop for some finishing touches. This vintage text effect is easy to create.

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    How To Create a Stylish Skull Based Vector Illustration

    The skull and crossed pistons mark is a popular adaption of the tradition skull and crossbones symbol and is commonly seen in motorcycle culture, amongst other counter-cultures. Follow this beginner Adobe Illustrator tutorial from Chris Spooner and learn how to create your own underground skull & crossed pistons graphic. You'll start with a simple sketch, then build up the detail using a range of linework and vector shapes.

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    Create a Seamless, Mexican-inspired Pattern

    Mexican prints are known for their bold colours and beautiful flowery, repetitive geometric shapes. In this tutorial, Berlin-based artist Amrei Hofstätter (aka Vertico's Puppets) will show you how to create a complex, colourful pattern by using just two simple geometric objects in Illustrator. Amrei will also show you how you can turn your artwork into a pattern swatch that can easily be used to fill other shapes. You'll also learn what details are important when you create a seamless pattern.

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    How to Make a Realistic Vintage Typewriter in Illustrator

    In this intermediate Illustrator tutorial you'll learn to use gradients, opacities, a process of shape building, as well as vector textures to create a realistic retro typewriter. There are a lot of steps, but the process feels doable, as so much detail is explained thoroughly.

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    Create a Kaleidoscopic Effect

    Martin Sati shows you how to add motion to your vector shapes in this intermediate tutorial. The artist shows you how to work with organic circular compositions, blend vector patterns into each other, and place various scenes into a larger composition. He works on each section much like placing bricks, makes sure it all flows together, after creating numerous textures, shapes, and recognizable figures. Great process.

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    Animating Blends in Adobe Illustrator

    Jeff Witchel creates a flag waving animation using Illustrator in this beginner video tutorial. He uses the Warp > Flag options to bend the flag, and creates multiple instances of the flag in different positions. He gives some tips to add some randomness via horizontal and vertical distortion, as well as some scaling. He uses specified steps for creating the blend of these various grouped flag objects. Then he exports as a Flash SWF file as layers to animate these blends.

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    Skeleton Stroke Lettering in Illustrator for Custom Type

    There are so many great fonts available out there that you can use for your design work, but how about drawing your own font? In this tutorial, Trisna shows us how to create letters (like Futura font) from scratch using a method she calls "skeleton stroke." This brief beginner level tutorial will take you through some simple, yet powerful vector-drawing techniques using Illustrator.

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    Create an Ornate 3D Gift Box in Illustrator

    In this illustration/drawing tutorial, Jasmina shows us how to create a gift box using Adobe Illustrator. You'll learn to use color gradients, vector shadows and blending in order to achieve a semi-realistic, glossy look. For beginners, this tutorial will also be a practical, hands-on lesson on the Blend Tool, one of Illustrator's most powerful tools.

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    Create a Stylish Print Ready Flyer

    This tutorial from Ainsley over at Bloom Web Design shows how to create a print ready flyer in Adobe Illustrator. This tutorial is excellent for beginners, and also the Photoshop mockup steps are covered as well.

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Vector Inspiration, Articles, and Resources

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    Improve Your Illustrator Skills

    Over at Noupe they rounded up an assortment of high quality Illustrator tutorials this month, which is aimed at beginners to learn some basic skills. There is a vast assortment of tutorials selected from various Illustrator blogs that showcase the depths and explore the possibilities of working with Illustrator. These tutorials will be helpful in building up your AI skills and their may be some you've missed from recent releases, so jump over there.

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    Heavy Metal Revolution - How Rock Art Became Hip Again

    If you're not a metal fan, then you probably have an image of the genre that consists of violent gore, skulls, and sadistic imagery, which dominated heavy metal cover art in the 80's. Today though artwork is interpreted more artistically and often with a greater level of intuitive connection with the audience, which imparts the dark essence of the music. Read about some of these contemporary artist's processes, many of which use Illustrator and Photoshop, along with traditional techniques in their work.

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    The Work of Max Huber

    Time to grab some retro inspiration. Veerle Pieters shows us a sample of the work from Swiss graphic designer Max Huber, from late the 50's and early 60's. The selection of work on display shows his dynamic use of color, composition and geometric shapes.

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    The Renmen Project x Blood Sweat Vector

    This project is one of the most ambitious and detailed of the Renmen Project pieces, and the first large group Blood Sweat Vector collaboration projects, bringing together 12 BSV artists to create a series of unique and fresh new Typographic illustration artworks. Artists were organized in to pairs to work together on 1 letter from the word "RENMEN," (which is the Haitian word for LOVE).

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    10 Ways to be More Efficient

    If you run a studio, or even a one man shop, you're much more than just a designer or illustrator, you're also a business owner. This article imparts some practical advice on running a design studio and keeping projects on task.

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(FREE!) Vector Downloads

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    Font Collection: 10 Interesting Free Grungy Fonts

    Jacob Gube brings us a carefully collected assortment of stylish, free grungy fonts. This collection of fonts features distressed, grungy fonts that are perfect for when you want to make a messy design. The fonts are organic in nature, and often mimic hastily written, scratched or aged handwriting.

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    A Collection of Free Adobe Illustrator Floral Vector Files

    This collection published last year by NaldzGraphics, but I just came across them recently. There are a number of free floral vectors roundup up here, which could come in handy this spring and summer.

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    7 New High-Quality Free Fonts

    One can never have too many fonts in their design resource library and Web Design Ledger regularly brings us roundups of free high quality fonts to add to our collection. Minaeff Ect typeface looks particularly interesting. Enjoy!

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    25 Best Fresh Icon Sets From 2011 All In One Place

    This is a great compilation of all the best icon sets that where all created in 2011. While most of these are not vector, a few are, and all of them will be a great addition to your collection of free design resources. Download and enjoy!

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    Set of web label element 5 set

    This set of vector web label elements from Vecto2000.com looks tasty. This high-quality vector is available free to download, so jump over and grab it.

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