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Best of the Vector Web – August 2010

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Read Time: 8 mins

As you know, each month, we search the web for the best vector-related content and showcase it here for you all to enjoy. This month, we found some really great tutorials on vector character design, creating charts in Illustrator, and vector skulls among others. We've also expanded this month's offering. We have the regular articles and freebies sections, with some high quality fonts front-lining this month, and we've added sections on inspiration and quick tip tutorials. August was another vector loving month, so let's check it out.

Vector Tutorials

  • Craft an original character in Illustrator

    In this PDF tutorial series by Alexis West learn to craft characters from everyday experience, with a bit of added imagination and creative doodling. After creating your character move on to part two where you Create a captivating background. Part one is linked to below. There are some great tips in this series and the results are phenomenal.

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  • Iconic Poster Design Tutorial (with video)

    This beginner targeted tutorial shows you how to use stock elements to create a professional and compelling poster design using Illustrator and Photoshop. Jeff Finley, one of the principles at GoMedia, leads us through this design of his. There are both a 30 minute video and a written tutorial detailing this design process, so loads of details and tips to learn from.

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  • Gradient rings in Illustrator

    Learn how to create simple gradient rings to use in your next infographic. Veerle shows us how to transform blends into brushes, that when applied to circles in Illustrator form the foundation for an attractive graph style. She takes these techniques further in her tutorial Gradient ring chart in Illustrator where she get's a bit more complex with this attractive info style.

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  • How To Create a Detailed Vector Sugar Skull Illustration

    Chris Spooner shows us how to create a super sweet traditional style sugar skull. A mixture of advanced Illustrator tools are used to build up this decorative design that pays homage to the Mexican Dia de los Muertos tradition. While this skull keeps to black and white line art, you can certainly take your skull into a multitude of colors.

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  • Give Personality to Character Art

    If you want to create a series of characters on as sweet theme, then look no further. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create characters from scratch, from sketching through creative Illustrator techniques. Learn to give your characters traits that allow them to stand out with personality and distinction.

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  • Work brighter and faster with Live Paint

    This tutorial covers working with the Live Paint tool to create bold, colorful illustrations. This tool allows the vector artist to work very fast. With this workflow all artwork is on one layer, which makes your AI files simple to work with. Learn a quick path to transforming your line work into clean, vibrant, print-ready files.

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Vector Quick Tip Tutorials

  • Master gradient meshes

    Luke O'Neill demonstrates how to use the Gradient Mesh Tool to create simple creative elements. He covers the basics of meshing tubular elements, spheres, and other shapes, while offering quality advice along the way.

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  • Quickly Toggle a Perspective Grid's Visibility

    Over on Vectips, Ryan Putnam often put's together some great quick tips for working in Illustrator. If you recently purchased Illustrator CS5, then you should master the new keyboard shortcuts for the Perspective Grid, and this quick tip shows you how.

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  • Distort Linear Gradients in Envelope Distorts

    This is another quick tip from Vectips, this one with a more artistic focus. Ryan shows us how to use Envelope Distorts, and the focus here is on an experiment he did with distorting liner gradient. He comes up with an energetic result, and I can imagine this being something one could pull into Photoshop and take even further. This is the kind of thing that feels cool, but will require some creative thinking to put this to use in your work.

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  • New essential series: 10 tips to avoid publishing pitfalls in Illustrator

    Astute Graphics, the makers of the awesome series of Illustrator plugins Phantasm CS, have recently ramped up their blog post publishing. This month brings us numerous tips on publishing issues to watch out for, such as the potential perils of linked artwork, black not set to overprint, avoiding excessive ink coverage, and more.

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Vector Inspiration

  • Demons & Diamonds

    Creative collaborations can be some of the most interesting projects to witness come together. Jared Nickerson, worked with Cuypi, ZombieCorp and Niark on an illustrative design project. Check out this unique player card deck, made by some of the best vector illustrators around. This isn't in production yet, but you can catch a sneak peek below.

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  • Weekly Vector Inspiration #85

    Ryan Putnam puts together yet another hodgepodge of some of the best vector illustrations and designs on the web. He has a great eye for high quality work. If you're looking for inspiration, then check out this roundup, with artwork on vector zombies, isometric army men, and more.

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  • Interview: Illustrator Ray Frenden

    In this interview Ray talks about his stylistic evolution towards more realism in his work, and how early on he didn't really worry about style, but just let his muscle memory and interest evolve. Ray learned to draw quite a bit digitally with a tablet before jumping back into traditional techniques and he tells a great story about this, as well as his thoughts on various mediums he works in. He points to a classic illustration resource in this interview as well, Leif Peng's Flickr account.

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  • Inspiration, Patterns for Colouring

    This post shows a few recent submissions to Patterns for Colouring which is a site you can download patterns from and color them in, it's great for kids. It's something fun you could contribute a vector pattern to, if you're looking for a creative side project. Here is Stephen Chan's recent submission of a happy Escher inspired pencil city.

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  • Job Wouters

    This post is a quick look at some of Job's hand lettered work. Much of what's featured here is a sample of his club flier work, which has a timeless feel. If you appreciate a vast array of various lettering styles, then his portfolio is a must see as well.

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Articles and Resources

  • When Pixels Snap: Antialiasing in Illustrator CS5

    This article from Mordy Golding of Real World Illustrator discusses the new Align to Pixel Grid options in Illustrator CS5. He characteristically covers the topic with quite a bit of depth, so you'll learn not only how these antialiasing tools work, but also their peculiarities as well. If you use Illustrator for web or interface design, then this is a must read article.

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  • Where does our alphabet come from?

    This mammoth article recounts the history of the Roman alphabet. How various groups and civilizations contributed to it's development, and the movement of written pictorial representations towards more abstract symbols. The article is beautifully illustrated with large images to compliment the story of our ABC's.

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  • Starting your own shirt line. PART I: Start – Up

    If you're interested in started your own shirt line, then jump into this first part of a series on the subject. Steve Knerem shares his experience and examples of his creative style, research, business sense, and more. Learn how to launch your own line of T's.

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  • Blogging for Artists Part 1 – Why It's Important

    Melanie Matthews walks us through the advantages of blogging for artists and illustrators, from establishing yourself as a respected expert to building your brand and more. She continues this series in Blogging for Artists Part 2 – What to Blog with more hands on advice on what to start writing about.

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  • Craft Is Not A Dirty Word – A Short Essay By Brian Bowes

    Brian Bowes encourages us to put our nose to the grindstone, develop our craft through putting in the time of deep practice. By practicing our craft on a timed basis daily we can continue to grow through hard won successful steps. The reality is that becoming an illustrator isn't easy and requires a commitment to craft through hard work.

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(FREE!) Downloads

  • 30 New Free High-Quality Fonts

    Smashing Magazine put together a collection of free fonts this month, which is a must see. If you're looking to add more no cost, high quality fonts, to your collection, then check this post out. Quite a few comment about the font Piron in this post.

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  • Friday Fresh Free Fonts #63

    Abduzeedo is another great source to find free fonts on a weekly basis. The collection here isn't large, but it's a good quality selection, and worth checking out if you're looking for more free fonts. They have some sans-serif fonts with interesting characteristics, which add some character while keeping a professional look.

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  • Mustache Buttons!

    Mustache's are a fun trend that your friend Andrea Austoni has decided to illustrate on. He's created a set of Mustache Buttons. There are some funny comments about this over on Dribbble, such as "Absolutely useless and absolutely entertaining. Nice work." My favorite is the Magnum P.I., what's your favorite?

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  • Golden Black Vector Set

    This free sample set from Chris Parks of Pale Horse Design is available to download. It has a hand crafted, ornate feel, which may be perfect for adding that right drawn vector element to your next design.

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  • Office Icons

    These four office/educational related vector icons contain a phone, pack of books, chair, and a desk. They are all designed well and have a glossy feel. The angle of the icons is head-on, and looking down a bit. Grab them if you need to represent an office element in your next design project.

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