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Best of the Vector Web - February 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 music cover creation, using Illustrator and InDesign to create affordable self promotional material, and more. We have loads of tutorials, in addition to inspiring articles, resources, and useful freebies inside. Dig into February's illustration and design material for vector enthusiasts.

Vector Tutorials

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    Book Cover Illustration

    Epic tutorial from Von Glitchka on creating a monster character to illustrate a book cover. He covers every phase of construction in exacting detail, which matches his working process. It's also great to see him using the same vernacular and working process as found in his book Vector Basic Training. This is a must tutorial to check out this month.

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    Self Promotion on a Budget

    Luke O'Neill uses some savvy design skills to create printed, and hand cut, self promotion package. You'll need an assortment of paper stocks, Illustrator, InDesign, an inkjet printer, and a few other supplies. Learn to create vector patterns, a folder template, your imagination, and put it all together into an effective mail-out on a limited budget.

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    Work with Type in InDesign

    In this tutorial Jo Gulliver shows some of her most valuable typographic tools in InDesign, those she finds most useful. She focuses mainly on the Character Formatting control panel to show how these options can be used on a day-to-day basis to help speed up your workflow. Learn to insert ligatures, control copy flow, and more.

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    Photoshop & Illustrator Tutorial: Put a Low-poly Spin on Music Cover Art

    Damien Vignaux shows how he created the cover art for his band "The Escapists," using mostly Illustrator and a dash of Photoshop. Learn how useful self posed images can be for a quick reference. This tutorial is mostly comprised of simple techniques, such as using the Line Segment Tool to create geometric faces, but the results are superior. It has a feeling of old war or socialist posters with a modern edge.

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    How To Create a Colorful Logo Style Icon in Illustrator

    Chris Spooner shows the technical process behind creating this vibrant icon, that fits the feel of some trendy brands being created today. While this doesn't follow a traditional logo design workflow, that isn't the point here, it does cover some excellent techniques for making a swirling, colorful logo. It has a three dimensional feel, gradients, depth, and variances in tone. Learn each step in how to make it.

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    How To Create a Sophisticated Business Card Design

    In this beginner tutorial, Chris Spooner shows step by step how to create a sophisticated, interior designer business card, made with a beautiful mix of colored stripes and simple design elegance. Learn how to set up your design file in Illustrator, create the card design to Moo.com dimensions, and export a print ready document.

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    Draw a Vector Traffic Cone with Adobe Illustrator

    Jasmina Stanojevic shows us how to create a shiny, fit for web use traffic cone icon, that is fully scalable for those that need additional uses for it, such as business cards, or signage. The build process is simple using the Pathfinder Panel and Illustrator’s shape tools smartly, and then the application of smooth gradients. The results are top-notch and the final artwork flexible for use. It's well worth taking the time to read through this tutorial.

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    Illustrator Eraser Tool

    Veerle Pieters delivers another elegant basic Illustrator Tools based tutorial, this time focused on the Eraser Tool. This is a tool not to make the mistake of overlooking. She shows how simple it is to use like a brush, as well as to clear out whole selected areas quickly, which is an excellent tip to make use of.

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    Vector Tutorial: The Making of a Vector Splash Page

    Follow along with Asmaa of Aivault as she shows how flexible Illustrator is for creating web artwork. She designs a custom illustrated web design that has a main illustration featuring a cute, cartoony house. She uses simple patterns to build up the texture of the house illustration, and the greatest feature of this tutorial shows is that it shows how flexible Illustrator is from start to finish. She transforms simple boxes into a lively web ready illustration.

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    Simple Warping Effects in Illustrator

    Corey Barker shows how to jazz-up your vector illustrations with stylish shapes made with Illustrator's Warp Tools. After drawing flowing shapes with the Pen Tool, use the Twirl Tool with default settings and a medium brush size to twirl the graphic. Watch the video to see how he clicks-and-drags quickly to get interesting results.

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Vector Inspiration, Articles, and Resources

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    Case Study: District With You & Me by Man-Tsun

    See the big picture process Man-Tsun uses to create an illustration. This artist from Honk Kong captures a vivid scene, with lively characters, very well balanced with detail and focus. Follow along through on site photo taking, sketching, and the vector build process. The shading, coloring, and final Photoshop touches are covered as well. Wow, really amazing work!

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    Break into Fashion Illustration

    Learn about the exciting realm of fashion illustration, some of it's historical underpinning, current trend-setters, and the nuanced peculiarities of this field. For from being just about selling clothes, fashion illustration works to connect with the viewer, encouraging desire and aspiration.

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    EFII Podcast Episode 69 – Rod Hunt

    If you're a professional or aspiring illustration, then you should be listening to the Escape from Illustrator Island podcast. If you haven't been turned onto it before, then jump over to an interview with Rod Hunt. Learn how this vector artist is redefining his approach to Illustration, promoting himself, and working with the Association of Illustrators.

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    Micah Lidberg on Grain Edit

    For pure visual inspiration of retro and hand drawn imagery, I just can't get enough of the site Grain Edit. Check out the details of Micah's illustrations that are featured this month - he incorporates hand drawn elements and type beautifully.

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    30 Inherently Useful Tools for Freelancers

    For those of you making a go as freelancers, or planning to soon join the fray, check out some much needed tools to equip yourself with. Success in creative freelancing is as much business sense, and preparedness, as it is artistic knowhow.

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(FREE!) Vector Downloads

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    Font Collection: 10 Stylish Free Stencil Fonts

    Jacob Gube brings us a carefully collected assortment of stylish, free stencil fonts. While these fonts are historically meant for spraying on sides of buildings, you may find the perfect use for them in a graffiti inspired illustration, so have at them.

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    70+ of the Best Free Fonts for Graphic Designers

    A glorious, huge collection of design friendly fonts to sort through, brought to use by Unstage. You're sure to find at least one free font to add to your list. I personally found the font Portal captivating.

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    15+ Two-Sided Business Card Templates

    If you're in a hurry, and need a business card yesterday, then grabbing a free template may be a good choice. Designious brings us a collection of nice templates to choose from, all of which are ready to print, that means you must only put your name on it.

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    A Collection of Free Seamless Vector Patterns for Designers

    Youthedesigner showcases a collection of free, seamless vector patterns to grab this month. Some of the retro patterns are quite nice. If you're in need of more patterns to use for background, adding clothing to characters, or more, then grab these now.

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    Dragon Vectors!

    Some of these are a little rough, but nice detail, and a worn vector dragon can serve as a great design element. It fits well with shields, and old chivalrous weaponry, as well as eastern themed designs. This pack of vectors contains six flying dragons for you to grab for free.

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