They say you can't teach an old designer new tricks, and before I started working with Tuts+ I would have agreed. After recently publishing our 1000th post on Vectortuts+ (The same week as Nettuts+ and Audiotuts+) I thought I would share a few of the Tutorials and Quick Tips that I have thoroughly enjoyed during my time as Associate Editor. Which Vectortuts+ Tutorial stands out for you? Let us know at the jump!
Accentuating with Color in Vector Illustration by Alejandro Fuentes
I'm going to cover a complex project covering different techniques. While this tutorial gives advanced instruction on color control and correction, it also covers numerous other techniques, and a complete workflow from sketch to finished graphic. Quite honestly, this tutorial could have been named several different things, so there's a lot here to learn here!
When I first saw this Premium Tut I immediately bought myself a subscription to see how this image was made (it was just before I started working for Tuts+). I always thought Alejandro Fuentes used Photoshop to ink, so I was really excited to see one of my favorite Illustrators using vector in a way I hadn't thought of before. As promised in the introduction, this tutorial teaches so many great techniques and definitely stands out as one of my favorite tuts of all time!
How to Create a Realistic Egg Vector Egg by Iaroslav Luzanov
In this tutorial we will learn how to create a vector egg shell with white and yolk. We'll use Illustrator tools, such as: the Opacity Mask, Envelope Distort, Texturizer, and Gradient Mesh. Find out how simple the techniques are to achieve this excellent result. Learn how to master lighting, perspective, reflection and surface texture to bring realism to your work.
Where do I even begin with this one? When I first saw this tutorial I could have sworn it was a PSDtut. I had no idea something so realistic could be made with Vector. The best thing about this Tut is that it's also very easy to follow, the realism comes from some well used gradient techniques and a good eye for perspective. Iaroslav is the master of simple yet effective Illustrator techniques, if you like this Tut you should check out the rest of his tuts!
Create a Rationalized, Geometric Wordmark and Ambigram by Alex Beltechi
If you want to learn how to create your own graphic identity, through the creation of your own geometric letters, ambigram mark, then this detailed tutorial is for you. The process involves using curves that are created by aligning a series of proportionately scaled circles. Their radii are determined by precisely angled lines and font weights are metrically specified. Simply put, nothing is left to chance!
This is the Tut I have been searching for! For those who don't know, I have a university degree in design, but somewhere along the line we didn't learn this particular technique of logo creation. I've attempted to recreate the process myself but all my attempts seemed to miss the mark. Alex Beltechi clearly explains the process of creating geometric letterforms from start to finish in this professional tutorial. This one is definitely on my list of "Things to draw over the holiday break".
Keep the File Size Down and Spice-up our Vectors with Bitmap Textures by Jesse Hora
A common concern is that vector textures create extremely large files. In this tutorial I will outline the process of creating and using bitmap textures. This will help you cut the file sizes down without compromising your image.
Before I read this tutorial I had no idea that a placed .tiff texture could be colored using Illustrator Swatches. Finding this out was a pleasant surprise as it was so simple, yet so effective. It also keeps the file size down, which is always a bonus when I'm sending files via the internet.
Super-Slick, Screen Printing Separations with Illustrator by Chad Holmes
In this tutorial, we will explore the process of taking your design from the screen to the shirt. Specifically, we'll address one of the biggest headaches for a designer – separating your design for print. The steps in this tutorial will show you how to keep your clients looking good, and your screen-printers sane.
You should always keep your printer happy, no matter what, and the best way to do it is to make sure your files are set-up perfectly and don't require changes! Mastering the art of creating screen printing separations can be tricky if you're unsure how. I really like this Tut because it takes you through the process of creating the image and then teaches you how to prepare it for the printer. This is especially useful for people who already have illustrations that need to be made into separations.
Create a Glowing Neon Sign using the Appearance Palette by Jared MacPherson
This tutorial shows the potential of the Appearance Palette in Adobe Illustrator. We'll be building an elaborate neon sign, utilizing the Appearance Palette to speed up the process and remove the need of drawing complex paths.
The Appearance Pallet is the best thing to happen to Adobe Illustrator since transparency in gradients! I love this Tut as it shows how to easily make a glowing neon sign that was previously a nightmare in older versions of Illustrator. The best thing about the Appearance Pallet is that you can save the styles for later, so once you've finished you can apply the styles to whatever you like. This Tut also has a Screencast version made by Ryan Quintal.
Core Art Skills - 6 Part Series by Ben Mounsey
Vectortuts+ is excited to bring you a new five part series on core art skills. In this series, Ben Mounsey will be sharing in-depth knowledge and analysis of the skills required to become a better illustrator. Ben will be outlining four main skills; using sketchbooks, life drawing, working in traditional 3D and using traditional media techniques for your digital work, culminating in a professional tutorial that will knock your socks off!
This series is great for all skill levels and you'll be surprised how a solid understanding of traditional methods can greatly improve your digital workflow. Let's get started!
I encourage everyone to follow along with this learning series by Ben Mounsey. Traditional art skills can have some positive effects on your digital workflow and with the holidays fast approaching it's the perfect time to get yourself a new sketchbook and set some time aside to recharge your creative batteries. I really enjoyed this series, not only because it's important to have these skills, but also because it was presented in a fun and easy manner that was a pleasure to follow along with. I thank Ben for reminding me to sketch more!
- Part 1 — Welcome to the Course
- Part 2 — The Sketchbook
- Part 3 — Life and Figure Drawing
- Part 4 — Working in Traditional 3D
- Part 5 — Traditional Media Techniques
- Part 6 — Bringing It All Together
Finding Your Hand Drawn Lettering Voice by Chris Piascik
Learning to letter by hand is a journey, or at least it has been for me. Starting with a passion for letters and typography, I experimented with tracing type, fitting letters into unusual spaces, and discovering how to pull words and styles together cohesively. It can take quite some time for your compositions to come together, your focus tighten, and your voice to develop.
I have to admit that typography has never been my strong point, but saying that I also really love a good piece of lettering. This article is great because it outlines the main things to remember when creating artistic letterforms and is also part of an awesome series put together for a Creative Session on Illustrative Lettering. At the core of all creative solutions is a solid understanding of the rules and principles of design and harmony, and this post is a perfect example of how to achieve it.
Ace Hotel Wall Murals by Jeff Rogers
As a designer, I feel it's always a good idea to take on new and challenging projects when the opportunities present themselves. The way you solve problems and adapt to different situations is a big part of what defines you as a designer.
For example, when I was approached by Ace Hotel in NYC to do a series of murals that would cover multiple walls of some of their hotel rooms, I jumped at the chance… even though at the time I had no earthly idea how I was going to do it. I figured out a way though and now I use some of the techniques I developed for this project in other design projects, especially when I need to create hand made or illustrated typography.
I haven't attempted this project yet (so little time, so much to do!) but every time I see the images from this post it's hard not to drop everything I'm doing to go make myself a wall mural! I imagine just how cool it would be to sit back and relax while a giant version of my vector work makes my lounge room look awesome... in fact, this is another thing on my previously mentioned "Holiday to do list". What I really like about this project is that it demonstrates that vector can be used for so much more than a digital image living inside a computer.
Quick Tip: The Tilde Key Trick by Cheryl Graham
This screencast covers fun with the Tilde key and Adobe Illustrator. Works with any Shape Tool, the Line Segment Tool, the Arc Tool, the Spiral Tool, and more. Use this technique to quickly make complex shape patterns.
What I love about Cheryl's Quick Tips is that they're always so simple and effective. I think I spent about 10 minutes playing around with this trick, it's really fun! If I need to make a psychedelic illustration or retro space theme background, I'll be sure to remember this video. Cheryl constantly surprises me with Illustrator functions that I would never have discovered on my own. You can check out the rest of her Quick Tips via her profile page.
Quick Tip: The Real Deal on Creating Chrome! by Russell Tate
Vector drawing programs often supply templates for metallic finishes, but they can look like soft bands of blue and grey (silver) or yellow and brown (gold). Today I'm going to show you how to put a custom metallic finish with depth on your artwork and really turn your vector thing, into bling! Because I'm a simple kind of guy, there will be no transparency, mesh or 3D extrusion in this example, just a few cheeky tricks of the trade.
Sometimes doing things the traditional way will yield results that speak for themselves, this chrome effect is one of them. While most people will use a gradient fill to make a chrome effect, Russell Tate uses time honored illustration theory to produce this great piece of typography. Once you've made chrome in this way you'll never go back to gradient fills again (unless you're pressed for time).
Quick Tip: Using the Blob Brush and Eraser for Character Lines by Sean Kelly
In this Video Quick Tip you will learn how to use a digital drawing tablet in conjunction with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools to create character outlines. If you don't own a tablet, don't worry, you can still follow along with this Tut and achieve a great looking result. Let's begin!
The blob brush has changed the way I work on vectors and I often use it as a way to sketch out an image before I start to use the Pen Tool. This tool is even better if you have a Digital Drawing Tablet as it has pressure settings that make it a handy tool for digital inking. This tut is great as it takes all the guess work out of using the Blob Brush and Eraser together and shows you how - in just a few pen strokes - you can make a great looking character sketch. This tool is also perfect for story boarding.
Community Project Update:
Vectortuts+ loves Illustration and discovering new talent, so we're running a new community project that combines both, the Vectortuts+ Totem Project. The best thing is, you can be a part of it!
Hurry! Vectortuts+ Totem Collection 2 will be posted soon, you only have a bit of time to upload your artwork for this round.
Vectortuts+ Totem, Collection 1 was a great success and we've already had some fantastic artwork submitted for Collection 2. This is a reminder that it's not too late to add your own. For more information on how to participate in the Totem Project, and to see the artwork from Collection 1, simply visit Community: Totem Project.
If you have any questions about how to submit artwork, would like to comment on the Flickr Submissions or would like to suggest ideas for future projects, you can do so via our Twitter @Vectortuts or leave a comment at the end of this post.