adobe illustrator tutorial for beginners cat

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial using Shapes

In Adobe Illustrator, for Beginners, Step by Step Adobe Illustrator Tutorials by Jason Secrest

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial for Beginners

In this Beginner Adobe Illustrator Tutorial, we will be going through our anchor point guide to build our cartoon character using shapes. I have been getting a lot of requests for more tutorials on building characters using shapes. This tutorial is part of our Brushes 101 Series.

adobe illustrator pen tool cat
Building with Shapes

Shapes are a great way of building your characters especially as you gain experience with blend, warp, shape builder, and pathfinder to create unique shapes.

Adding Brushes

We will be adding our cartoon brushes to add line variation to our line width. These brushes are located in our resource folder and our easy to install as a new brush library.

Halftone Effects

We will be adding on an effect using the gradient tool and the color halftone pixelate effect. We will be also walking you through the live trace panel.

Zoom In

All of our initial preferences are designed to gain more control over what you are clicking on. The more you can zoom in and see your anchors and handles the better.

Smart Guides

Under VIEW make sure you have your smart guides turned on. Under your PREFERENCES (smart guides) you should definitely have your anchor/ path labels selected.

Anchor and Handle Size

In your (general) PREFERENCES there is a setting which can enlarge your anchor points and handles to make them easier for you to see before clicking.

Direct Selection Tool

The white arrow can grab and adjust the anchors, handles, and paths. All of the other settings are designed to let you know what you are selecting before you click and drag.

Adding on Line Variation using Cartoon Brushes

You will have more control over the placement and width of each of your lines using the Cartoon Brushes (Download + Install). The process will be a combination of using the Brushes to get down the initial thickness and stroke width. The second step will be modifying the placement of the variation using the so we can edit later. This 2-Step Process allows for more control over your Line Variation compared to using your Tablet with Pressure.

adobe illustrator cartoon brushes

Download Brushes

1. The Direct Download will make it very easy to download the zipped brushes file. Simply Extract All of the contents and follow along with the rest of the video.

Open Other Library

2. In your Brushes Panel, Window - Brushes. In the Bottom Left Hand Corner you will see a Brushes Library icon that looks like books. Click on it and scroll down to Other Library. Open Brush Library from folder.

Adding Line Weight

3. Depending on your own Style or preference, I would recommend adding a little more line weight to your artwork. The mistake I see a lot of beginners make is keeping the line weight at 1pt.

Cartoon Brushes

4. We have 17 Brush Libraries in our folder. You can use any one of them during this tutorial. All you have to do is line up the thin edge which will be floating in space. The Thick ends will represent our values which will be merging into other areas and strokes.




How to Apply Textures

cartoon brush set
STEP #1: DOWNLOAD + EXTRACT OUR ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR BMP TEXTURE FOLDER. The Texture Folders will come to you zipped. Extract All before using in Adobe Illustrator. The BMP Textures are ready to use once you have extracted the folder. There is no installation needed to use BMP Textures, simply file place over your finished design or artwork.
comic strip brush set
STEP #2: FILE + PLACE BMP TEXTURES INTO YOUR WORKING ARTBOARD. Place a BMP Texture over your finished vector artwork. Simple File-Place. I recommend scaling the texture to fit over your completed artwork before you export or save. Simply scale the texture file using the Bounding Box or the Properties Panel. You can scale the texture to fit over the asset or the entire artboard.
mascot brush set
STEP #3: ADJUST TEXTURES USING THE TRANSPARENCY SLIDER. Adjustments to the texture file can be made in the Transparency Panel in Adobe Illustrator. If you are looking to Blend the Pattern toward your Background Color, you can simply click on a Color Swatch to Change the Color of the BMP Texture. Use the Transparency Slider to adjust the opacity for subtle texture overlays.
Free Bonus: I have included the  Anchor Point and Tablet Friendly Guides (as a Free Bonus) to Follow Along with the 50 Step by Steps on the Website or the 100 Beginner Tutorials Playlist on YouTube to Learn the Basics of Building, Applying Brushes, Editing, and Coloring in Adobe Illustrator. Follow Along with the Tutorials or use the Brushes with Your Own Artwork.



How to Color in Adobe Illustrator

One of the easiest and fastest ways of filling in your color is through Live Paint. Live Paint Bucket is a part of the Shape Builder Tools which builds the shapes in the exact shape you need it. Select All. Go up to Object - Live Paint - Make. If you have a grayed out Make it simply means you didn't have anything selected. I do recommend Deselecting by clicking on your artboard before clicking on a Color Swatch. *Remember Everything is still Selected so it will Color the Full Selection if you click on a Color Swatch with everything selected. Click on the Live Paint Bucket (K) and Click to Dump Color. It will feel like the Paint Bucket in Adobe Photoshop. 

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