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Best of the Vector Web - January 2011

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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 high quality tutorials on illustrative vector lettering, complex shading techniques, and creating attractive characters. This month has loads of tutorials, in addition to inspiring articles, resources, and useful freebies. January kicks-off 2011 with fantastic vector material to dig into.

Vector Tutorials

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    Creating an Illustrative Monogram

    Chris Comella (designer at Go Media) takes us through the creation of a juicy, creative monogram in Illustrator. Most designers need to sketch prolifically before jumping on the computer. Chris mentions he sketched a few waves to get the feel for what he was going for, but he does most of his creative jumps right in Illustrator. The results of this are awesome and it's great to see his free-flowing process.

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    Photoshop & Illustrator Tutorial: Give Your Art That Cosmic Look

    Most of this tutorial is in Photoshop, but there is a smidgen of Illustrator used. James White takes us through the creation of a "Cosmique" model piece. The steps to make this image are not difficult for the beginner, of course developing your rockstar designer's eye can take some time. Also don't miss his broadcasts, I love this one on the making of The Sword with Golden Text.

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    Create Retro Type with Smart Guides

    Steven Bonner shows us how to create a retro type treatment while demonstrating how handy smart guides are. He finds Illustrator's Smart Guides to be very helpful with precise alignment. He states, "are a feature that I can’t live without – I have them constantly turned on whenever I work." After working on the letter shapes in Illustrator, he also demos how to add some glow in Photoshop.

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    Create Complex Shades

    Roya Hamburger shows us how to shade complex vector shapes. After sketching, she traces her shape based illustration in Illustrator. She sees Illustrator as "more a tracing and shaping tool," and uses Photoshop to add the shading to her work. You'll learn how she creates brushes in Photoshop and paints with Linear Burn to get the look she's going for. The results of this artwork are heavily stylized and very cool.

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    Refine Your Logo Design Workflow

    Gareth Hardy covers his logo design process from start to finish. He works on a brand identity for a fictional environmentally conscious architectural firm. Even though this is fictional, he covers the brief and works through the logo design process in the same manner he would any client project. This logo is well done and a standard logo design process is covered. It's well worth checking out his Behance folio.

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    How To Create a Beautiful Vector Portrait in Illustrator

    Chris Spooner shows us how he creates vexel style portraits in Illustrator, the demo shows the construction of "Quorra" from Tron Legacy shape by shape. He keeps the number of shapes used to a reasonable number, which will allow those that walk through the tutorial on their own to get through the tutorial in a reasonable timeframe.

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    Design a Sexy Pin-Up Girl Character in Illustrator

    Another excellent tutorial from Chris Spooner this month. This one shows you how to create a sexy, vector pin-up girl. This character design process starts with a simple sketch. The manipulation of the vector linework and coloring in Illustrator is covered in detail, making this character come to life.

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    Create an Assortment of 3D Text in Adobe Illustrator

    Jasmina Stanojevic shows us how to create a variety of 3D text styles in Illustrator CS4, and how to unify them into a cohesive illustrative lettering effect. She applies colorful gradients, flower patterns, and more. She's demonstrates key areas to add the right shading and light effects to bring the illustration together.

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    Create a Dripping Icing Cake Font

    Ainsley Bevis shows us how to create some super yummy lettering. She crafts some cake letters with dripping frosting covering them. Learn how in this brief tutorial.

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    Create a Hellboy Poster in Illustrator

    Marcos Torres shows us how to create a Hellboy poster in Illustrator, shape by shape. He uses some interesting thin triangles placed close together for some of the shading. This tutorial is easy to follow and well done. Jump over to Abduzeedo to check it out.

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Vector Inspiration, Articles, and Resources

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    My Illustrator Shortcuts Habits

    Veerle Pieters shares with us some of her most used Illustrator shortcuts. Even if you pick up just one shortcut and put it to use, then it's well worth your time to jump over there and check them out. One that I don't currently use that she recommended is Cmd/Ctrl + U for switching between enabling and disabling Smart Guides. I'll have to start using that one.

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    Weekly Vector Inspiration #105

    Ryan Putnam of Vectips delivers another assortment of vector wonder and excitement. He has a great eye for awesome vector work. If you’re looking for inspiration, then check out this roundup, with artwork on colorful vector illustrations, vector lettering, and more. I particularly like the piece "Lonely" by JrDragao.

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    Interview with Designers James White and Fabio Sasso

    Simon H. interviews James White and Fabio Sasso for GoMediazine. In addition to learning a bit about the Montreal Meets event where these design rockstars recently spoke, you'll also learn about their passion for the work they do, which is contagious.

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    Marian Bantjes: A Woman of Letters

    Over on DigitalArts Neil Bennett discusses "I Wonder," with Marian Bantjes. In this interview you learn about her feelings on subjective design, creating wonderful print experiences, and the difference between typography and lettering. You can watch Marian Bantjes speak about the fascinating subject of Intricate Beauty by Design or learn more about her book "I Wonder" by following the link below.

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    Onesidezero / Brett Wilkinson

    Grain Edit takes a look at the work of Brett Wilinson. This illustrator creates imaginative worlds by incorporating geometric patterns and forms, vibrant colors, and mythical creatures. I love his use of simple shapes and strong colors to create otherworldly spaces.

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(FREE!) Vector Downloads

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    15 Best Sites For Finding Free High Quality Vector Graphics

    Daniel over at CreativeNerds shows us a bunch of sources for finding high quality, and free vector graphics. It can be difficult to find high quality vectors for free, but this article shows you the sites not to miss when searching.

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    Font Collection: 10 Free Excellent Monospaced Fonts

    Jacob Gube shows us a collection of Free Monospaced Fonts. These fonts are those whose characters have equal horizontal widths, and are suitable for programming because they make source code easier to read. These aren't often considered designer fonts, but this article lays out some attractive ones to consider.

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    10 Fresh High-Quality Free Fonts

    In this collection you’ll find a variety of styles, including hand-drawn, script, and modern. I really like the carefully drawn set "Five Minutes," it's a must download this month. Take a look at all these and grab the ones you like.

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    Retro Cloud Vector Graphic

    Dryicons have some excellent quality vectors available for free on their site. Be sure to read the usage guidelines carefully though, and consider whether you need these for personal or client work.

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    Tattoo Vectors Pack

    This is a fun vector pack of 15 vector items commonly made into Tattoos. The colors of these items jump out and compete with each other, but are also loads of fun. Grab Tattoo Land for free now.

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