Introduction to Illustrator

When you first open up Adobe Illustrator, it looks very similar to Photoshop because all the tools are in the same layout. What separates Illustrator and Photoshop is that Photoshop is a raster based programme that uses pixels to make up images, whereas Illustrator uses a vector. A vector makes images up through coordinated, like on a map, and there are different points and paths. On Illustrator the unit of measure is pixels per inch (PPI), which is different to Photoshop that measures in DPI. The two pieces of software use different measurements because Illustrator works on maps as opposed to colour.

Within my first lesson, introducing me to Illustrator, I learnt how to set up documents and that you should use print documents for standard work (as seen below). For printed documents, you have a bleed area which is usually 5mm (as seen below). This sits alongside work and it allows there to be overcuts and accurate cuts, so it doesn’t really matter when an image comes off the page. Just beyond the bleed line there is also a slug area, which is an area of information.

newdoc on illustrator bleeding

Illustrator was first was first set up to allow you to trace things. Whenever you use Illustrator you start with a graphic at the back and stack the detail on to create layers of detail, like paper. Unlike Photoshop, there are also multiple ways of using the tools. I have found that Illustrators way of conducting tasks is a lot more easier than Photoshop. Illustrator allows you to command CTRL+Z to go back which is very simple, whereas Photoshop is a lot more complicated.

I also now know what the simple tools do in Illustrator. The black pointer is for moving, scaling and rotating things. Whereas the white pointer moves specific points, paths and angles. The pen tool is used to create shapes and outline. When using the pen tool, you click on a point and then click on the point where you want a curve to finish. When you’ve clicked on the second point you should keep hold of it, which should then allow you to alter the line to the right curve you want. I think I picked up this skill fairly quickly and I was able to outline a typography sketch I found on Google, without a lot of complications or confusion (as seen below).

pen tool

As a journalist Illustrator will help me create logos and graphics for my pieces of media in the future, and for this purpose I think it’s a really helpful tool.


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