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Best of the Vector Web - February 2012

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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 creating photorealistic vector illustrations, drawing with a graphics tablet, designing vector characters, and more. We have loads of tutorials, in addition to inspiring articles, resources, and useful vector freebies inside. Dig into February's illustration and design material for vector lovers.

Vector Tutorials

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    Creating a Photorealistic Vector Illustration

    Learn how Grand Prize Aleksey Oglushevich winner of CorelDRAW International Design Contest in 2009 creates realistic vector illustrations. His work is stunning, and while the process for creating this detailed work is time consuming, the process is described well. Very inspiring work.

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    Create a Striking Exhibition Poster

    In this tutorial Luke O'Neill shows us how to create a simple exhibition poster design, with tips on how to manage assets. Learn how to create a simple logotype, use typography properly, integrate images, patterns and more.

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    Vector Drawing with a Graphic Tablet (Part 1 – Path Creation)

    Learn the basics of drawing with a Wacom Graphic Tablet in Part 1 of this comprehensive tutorial series by Iaroslav Lazunov. If you're interested in learning how to use a tablet to draw vector graphics, then this is a must read tutorial series. Continue on with this workflow learning to create professional linework and color with a graphic tablet in Part 2. Jump to part 1 below.

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    Video Tutorial: Using Illustrator's Appearance Panel

    In this short Illustrator video tutorial learn how to work with the power of the Appearance panel. Steven Bonner shows beginner Illustrator users how to take advantage of this tool. He demos how to fill an object, work with multiple strokes, and more - all inside the Appearance panel.

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    Create a Creamy Ice Cream Poster on Illustrator

    In this tutorial by Marcos Torres learn how to create shading and highlights by layering vector shapes. This tutorial starts with rough sketch exploration, then makes maximum use of the Pencil Tool in Illustrator. Build up each area of the illustration from back to front, from dark colors to light. Applying the same workflow to the text makes for stylish results.

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    How To Create a Cool Vector Yeti Character in Illustrator

    Follow this step by step Illustrator tutorial by Chris Spooner that shows you how to create a fluffy character. The workflow is great for beginners to follow. It shows how the basic shape tools can be used to compose the majority of the character, and then how the brush tool can add furry personality quickly.

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    Sculpting Signatures in Illustrator

    Discover how to create a stylized digital signature in Illustrator to drop onto your artwork when you are finished. The workflow in this video tutorial by Corey Barker begins with using the Pencil Tool and a pressure sensitive tablet to first draw your signature. You'll then learn to use Illustrator's Width Tool to add some calligraphy style to your vector signature.

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    Create a Jeans Vector in Illustrator

    Nguyen Ngoc Bao shows us how to create a jeans texture in Illustrator. Add shading and highlights with the use of gradients and Opacity. You'll learn how to use blends, gradient, add effects, create strokes in the Appearance panel, and more.

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    Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: Creating a Disco Ball

    Jasmina Stanojevic shows how to use Illustrator's 3D tools to create a dimensional ball and place a checkered pattern on it. She then walks through the process of coloring it with golden gradients. You'll also learn how to add spots of shine on the disco ball, which along with added light rays make the graphic pop.

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Vector Inspiration, Articles, and Resources

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    25+ Illustrator Tutorials for Creating Vintage Graphics and Retro Illustration

    These tutorials are a collection of tutorials that show you how to create vintage illustrations, and retro graphics using Illustrator effects and a variety of professional workflows. They will teach you how to create retro characters, add a vintage textural look to your vector work, combine text with graphics for timeless vintage branding, make retro design items to add to your portfolio, such as 50's era posters, and more.

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    Tips: Coming Up with Design Concepts

    As designers, we're problem solvers and creatives. We're expected to come up with both interesting and effective solutions. Learn approaches that successful designers have found helpful to push through creative blocks.

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    Tips: Typography Tricks

    Grab a handful of helpful typography tips, such as viewing logos upside down to see how the shapes work together. These are some interesting tips on testing typography in multiple formats and sizes, as well as advice on creating unique, project specific, typography.

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    10 Pro Tips for Art-Directing Magazines

    Tank's Liz Muller shares her top tips for creating magazines that have a feel which matches their content. She gives advice on how to manage a magazine team and creatively collaborate. You'll learn the importance of limiting font selection, working with a grid, and letting the glamourous images take center stage on the page.

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    Weekly Vector Inspiration #159

    Ryan Putnam of Vectips delivers another collection of vector awesomeness. He has a great eye for exciting vector work. If you're looking for inspiration, then check out this roundup, which showcases vibrant new works by DXTR, Alex Mathers creative geography based works, wonderful character design work from multiple artists, and more.

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    Javier Garcia

    Beautiful work from Javier Garcia. His retro style design work looks like vintage graphics from a bygone era. He has an energetic, light-hearted feel that combines shapes with hand drawn touches. He captures the feel of a rustic record sleeves in this personal project.

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    T-Shirt Screen Printing: An Introduction

    Blake Poutra describes the challenges of taking artwork from the computer screen and working to get a similar result on a T-shirt. It's a technically challenging process. He gives tips on how to avoid too much detail, choosing correct PMS colors, trapping properly, how registration works, and more. He discusses how to work within the limitations of going from screen to fabric and how to achieve quality results.

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(FREE!) Vector Downloads

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    Free Fonts to Make a Great First Impression

    Typography is an essential part of good design. Noupe released a collection of current fonts that will help set your designs apart. Whether you use these quality, professional free fonts to set off your website to new visitors or use them in your next design project. Jump over to the download and add these to your type collection.

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    10 Extremely Good Free Fonts for Your Designs

    Here are some high quality free fonts to add to your type library. There are a variety of styles, such as line based designs, bevel styled fonts, sans serif and more. Many have a classic, retro feel.

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    Free Vector Set: Alas, Wings, Valquirias, Valkyries

    This free set of vector graphics is a large EPS set of vector wings. Many of these are fit for adding to fantasy characters or to add interest in surrounding a design. Grab these vector graphics as a free download on Vecteezy.com.

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    Free Vector Round Pointers

    These 3 stylish, rounded pointers are available from Vecteezy.com. These free vector graphics are great for pointing out locations in an illustration or design. They are available in free vector EPS format for download.

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