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 mixing vector techniques with photography, we learn how to create vintage style lettering that has a grainy retro style, dive deeper into Illustrator's 3D tools, and more. We have loads of tutorials, in addition to inspiring articles, resources, and useful vector freebies inside. Dig into January's illustration and design material for vector lovers.
Merge Vectors with Photographic Imagery
In this tutorial Neil Stevens shows us how to merge abstract, colorful vector shapes created in Illustrator with photo imagery in Photoshop. The results have a wonderful, retro feel. Learn to merge a few found images, and mix them in with vector shapes to create a unique editorial illustration.
Custom Dusty Type Treatment
This awesome tutorial from Ryan Putnam over on Vectips shows us how to create our own custom type effect that hinges on using Grain Effects and Live Trace in Illustrator CS5. I can't wait to try the techniques in this tutorial in my own work, and give it a grainy, dingy, dusty style that while vector, will feel like it's hand made.
Photoshop & Illustrator Tutorial: Organic Texture and Shape Effects
Illustrator François Leroy shows us how he crated his work for the exhibition by the Designers Against Child Slavery campaign. Learn how he creates blended vector shapes, then mixes them on a large canvas in Photoshop with a photo, and adds numerous subtle adjustments and effects, such as drips.
How to Create an Isometric Shopping Basket Using Illustrator, Phantasm CS and VectorScribe
Learn how to create a shiny, realistic shopping basket icon in Illustrator using vector 3D modeling techniques, as well as the Phantasm CS and Vectorscribe plugins. Discover how Iaroslav Lazunov adds shine, shading, and all the professional touches to this vector icon.
Illustrating with the Gradient Mesh Tool
In this video tutorial Jeff Witchel shows us how to work with the Gradient Mesh tool in Illustrator. This tutorial covers techniques like transparent overlay, adding anchor points, as well as sampling color.
How to Illustrate a Lighthouse
Follow along with Alexander Egupov as he demonstrates in detail how to illustrate a vector lighthouse in Illustrator. Walk through the basic shape construction, then into the more advanced parts of the tutorial that use the Gradient Mesh tool and Opacity techniques to color the work and give it a shiny 3D quality.
Create A New Year Card in Illustrator
Learn how Nguyen Ngoc Bao crated a New Year Card in Illustrator. This tutorial features the creation of a cute dragon inside of puffy curled clouds. Clipping Masks, gradients, blurs strokes and more techniques are covered in this detailed workflow.
Learn How To Create a Tree From Scratch in Illustrator
This beginner Illustrator tutorial by EntheosWeb will teach you how to create a beautiful maple leaf tree from scratch using Illustrator. First you'll use the Pen Tool to create the leaf and then create a custom brush to make many leaves of different sizes.
Create a Cute Bird's Nest in Illustrator
In this intermediate Illustrator tutorial Simona Prefundner shows us how to create a cute bird's nest icon. Learn how to create a fragile vector eggshell inside a nest using the Pen Tool, bringing it to life with the Gradient Tool, symbol tools, and finishing it up by adding shadows and highlights.
Set ALL the Things Script
Rype shows us how to batch transform object in Illustrator using the Set ALL the Things Script, which is a handy tool to add to Illustrator. Currently within Illustrator, there is no wash way to do this, except by adding this script.
Illustrator Tutorial: Holland Tulip Field
In this Advanced Illustrator tutorial Abolic shows us how to create a tulip field scene. The Gradient Mesh tool is used extensively to create the tulips in various colors. This is a gorgeous work and each step to create it is well documented.
Vector Inspiration, Articles, and Resources
40+ Fresh And Useful Adobe Illustrator Tutorials
Put together by Noupe, this collection of Illustrator tutorials from last year has some of the best from across the web. Many of these are well detailed, step-by-step guides put together by talented designers and illustrators.
Showcase of Logo Designs with Detailed Patterns
Chris Spooner showcases a collection of well designed logos that put detailed patterns to good use. See how the designers have combined shapes to produce intricate logos that draw in the viewer - great inspiration.
Children's Illustration Grows Up
Alice Ross shows us the key features that make children's illustration interesting and successful. It's critical that children's illustrators have fertile imaginations, are able to craft captivating characters and exciting worlds. A good feel for the absurd and nonsensical certainly helps, as well as having the ability to revert back to your younger self. Learn more about illustrating for children with great classic example from Dr Seuss, among others, as well as modern children's illustrations.
365 Awesome Designers
Over on Computer Arts Garrick Webster shows us the project 365 Awesome Designers. This project by Matthias Mentasti is a great place to get design and illustration inspiration. The site was put together in WordPress and links back through to portfolios of images in Dribbble. The work featured has a taste for grainy textured retro illustration styles, my favorite.
Anchor Points: Hyaku
The Hyaku of Japanese illustrators create chic modern vector illustrations. They are inspired by all sorts of pop culture and fashion references and have a unique retro feel to them. Learn more about this successful illustration team over on Vectips.
Swissted is the project of one, Mike Joyce (the NYC-based designer). This is an interesting project that takes hardcore punk and indie show flyers and redoes the posters in swiss modernist style posters. Lots of angular layouts, grids, transparency and scale. And he’s done so many! Take a gander, it’s fun to look through. Each design is set in Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Medium, all lowercase
(FREE!) Vector Downloads
Exclusive Vector Freebie: New Social Media Icon Set
Noupe released this awesome set of 25 social media vector icons. They are created in Illustrator CS5 by Jasmina Stanojevic. They are free to download and use. The download contains a ZIP file with the original AI file and an EPS version as well. Icons are available for use in personal and commercial projects.
96 Vector Icons
These minimalist icons are designed to look great on any background The free download includes both black and white versions, ready for use. There are multiple free vector icons in this set in various sizes of PNG exports. The fully editable Illustrator file with all the icons is in the download as well.
12 Floristic Designs
This is a nice set of free vector florals available in AI format. They are designed by creative_alys and released by Vecteezy. Grab these floral designs for free today. If you're looking for more, then check out our big post Massive Collection of Vintage Vector Graphics: Floral Borders, Corners, and Frames.
350+ Free Graphics: Vector Arrow Symbols and Shapes
This article hosts an assortment of arrow symbols, shapes, and icons, all available for free download. If you’re looking for arrow graphics, with various styles, such as flat silhouettes that curve, hand drawn elements, or sharp edged classic designs, then jump over to this large collection. They are available in EPS, CSH, AI and other vector formats for free download.