Beginner Illustrator Tutorial using Shapes Pathfinder

Beginner Adobe Illustrator Tutorial using Shapes

In Adobe Illustrator, Tutorials by Jason Secrest

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial using Shapes and Pathfinder

In this beginner Adobe Illustrator tutorial using shapes and the pathfinder panel through a fun step by step cartoon illustration. We will be using the ellipse tool, fills, pathfinder, and warp effects to complete this easy character.

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 Warp Effects

We will be adding blend and warp effects to create more organic shapes within our cartoon characters to give you more building tools and options.

Pathfinder

Our goal is to simplify pathfinder in the next few step by step tutorials by practicing and going through as many different options to build up your confidence.

ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR

ACTIVE LEARNING

VIEW GETTING STARTED GUIDE

Align to Selection

Always think what you are aligning to and then do a double check of your settings. We will typically align objects (to selection) and then group them to maintain.

Thought Process

Most of you will actually choose the correct Align Button without any trouble, the issue is not checking if it is Aligning to artboard or selection. It will crash into the middle of the artboard so it is pretty obvious when Align to Artboard is Selected.

Align to Artboard

If you are building in the center of an artboard this is extremely helpful or it can be frustrating. The main trick is to Group Objects and then Align them to Artboard. Again, they will crash into the middle to let you know they are not grouped.

Group Objects

Easiest way to think about grouping is when you have two objects aligned on opposite sites of the center line. These will be the objects that will crash into the center when Aligning to Artboard.

Pathfinder Minus Front

1. Have 2 overlapping shapes selected. One shape will be in the front and this is the cut away shape. (I colored this one garbage green since it will be trashed after we click minus front). (Use fills only)

Shape Builder (alt/option) Delete

2. Have 2 overlapping shapes selected and click the Shape Builder tool. Hold down alt/option and click on areas you wish to be deleted. Wait for the shape to grey out. (Use fills only)

Pathfinder Unite

3. Have 2 or more overlapping shapes selected and click on the pathfinder unite button. The 2 shapes will merge together. (Use fills only)

Shape Builder- Combine Shapes

4. Have 2 or more shapes selected and then click on the shape builder tool. Click, Hold and drag across the shapes you wish to combine. Do NOT hold down alt/option.

Opening Color Swatches

Open the Swatch Window. On the bottom left hand corner you will see the Open Swatch Libraries icon. At the bottom of the drop-down menu you will see Open Other Library. Go to our resource folder in the Color Palettes folder to Open ASE files. The ASE files have been created to make your life easier while going through the Challenge Series. Once you open the Library- click on the folder icon next to the swatches to move them from the library to the swatches.

Coloring with Fills

One of the easiest and fastest ways of filling in your color is through using Fills. The main thing to look for is enclosed shaped. We have done nothing but build with Shapes so coloring is super easy. Keep this in mind as you are going through the other tutorials where we don’t have any shapes.

Gradient Panel

Select each color using the Magic Wand Tool (Adjust to Tolerance 5) each color. Add on a Radial Gradient to the frosting layers (3). Use the lightest and Darkest Color Swatch from the color set of 3. Adjust the slider to control where the values hit. Troubleshooting: Double check your fill is in front and not your stroke.

Gradient Tool

You can use the Gradient Tool to gain some control over where the gradient hits on your shapes. The tool will control the same features that are in the panel. I use the tool when I don’t want to guess and check angle degrees or aspect ratio percentages.

Saving + Exporting Files

First off, the Asset Export Panel in Adobe Illustrator CC is amazing. Go to Window – Asset Export. You can do everything from this Panel. Now the tricky part is most of you have a specific answer of “where” you are exporting to. So the easiest answer, that is super lame is… have you looked up the requirements for them yet? Not only will you get the requirements, but you will also get free downloads and templates. Any good printer will provide you with free templates.

FUN PLACES TO START

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STEP #1: Follow Along to our Free Beginner Guide + Tutorials. This is a great place to start if you are New to the Website or Adobe Illustrator. We have added on a 2nd Beginner Guide for this year.
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STEP #2:  Our Tutorials use our Brushes quite a bit during the Line Variation and Editing steps. You can Download + Install our 200 Illustrator Brushes to follow along.
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STEP #3: We have over 100 step by step tutorials for you to follow along and learn Adobe Illustrator (100 Hours). Visit our Getting Started Guide for our Brushes, Resource Folder and Full-Length Tutorials.