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  • Writer's pictureMichael

Illustrator Class Tutorial Notes

Shortcuts & tools

-To duplicate an object: Ctrl + C + F, then drag it away.

-To remove part of one shape from another: Window>Pathfinder. Select both shapes and choose the pathfinding method you want (additive, subtractive etc.)  They will stay as 2 separate editable shapes. To merge them into one shape click the ‘Expand’ button in the Pathfinder window.

-Select several objects then go to the Window >Align panel. From here you can line up the objects on horizontal or vertcal planes.

-If you draw an object such as a rectangle or circle, it will either be drawn as a line, or as a solid block of colour- to switch between the two, click the small double arrow beside the two colour boxes in the toolbar. The box with the smaller box inside it controls the line, the plain large box controls fill.

-Underneath the 2 colour boxes in the toolbar are 3 smaller boxes- the first is ‘Fill’ and will simply apply the chosen colour to the selected object. The second is ‘Gradient’ and will apply the current gradient to the selected object. The third has a red line running through it and will remove any fill or gradient on the object and make the object transparent, leaving only its outline visible.

-Create a small circle and a large circle (with no fill) Select both then click Object>Blend>Blend options. For spacing choose ‘Specified steps’ and insert the number of steps you want. Then select ‘Object >Blend>Make’ to apply the transformation. This will duplicate and transform the first object into the second . This can be done with 2 different shapes to say convert a square into a star.

To add effects such as a glow, choose your object or text then select Effect> Stylise> then the necessary effect.  One useful effect which can be applied is adding arrowheads to the end of lines.


-To convert text to graphics:  Select your text, then Type> Create outlines.

-To separate text glyphs for individual editing choose Right Click> Ungroup

-Draw a curved line with the pen tool, then select the ‘Text on a path’ tool from the toolbar. click on the line, and your text will follow the curve of this path, rather than just be typed horizontally left to right.


-Choose an object and open the Gradient window. you can drag a swatch onto your gradient to adjust the colour or add an extra colour to the gradient. You can also adjust the type and angle of gradient from here.  The gradient will be applied automatically.

-Gradient mesh: Beside the gradient tool is the gradient mesh tool. select an object then select the gradient mesh tool. click inside the object to place a grid which can be adjusted and warped. You can place as many points as you like but placing more than 2 can soon get messy. Now click on any of the points in the mesh and double click the colour fill button and choose a colour- that colour will fill the object around the selected grid point.

-If you create a gradient mesh object and then place text over it- select both, then ‘Right Click> Make clipping mask’ to only show the gradient through the text.

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