This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Understanding vectors in Adobe Illustrator

When I first started teaching at The Art Institute of Phoenix, back in 1996, I found that students who knew a particular software program, such as Adobe Photoshop, were reluctant to learn anything else. And *reluctant* is putting it mildly! Many students were absolutely belligerent about using Photoshop for everything. And I guess you can, if you must, design a logo in Photoshop. But Illustrator is the correct tool for this. Using the wrong software program is what I call *pounding in a nail with a screwdriver* - it's better to go get a hammer!

I guess that you can use just about any software program to create a logo, even Word, but if you know Adobe Illustrator, it is much easier and faster to use than anything else. But you have to deal with a concept called *vectors*. Unlike painting or word-processing programs, vector programs, like Adobe Illustrator are all about points and shapes. If you can wrap your head around what vectors are, you're in business. If you can't, well, you can't. It's definitely a *light-bulb going on above your head* thing, and I have been thrilled to see hundreds of my students *get it* over the years.

In a training session that I did a couple of years ago, while the class was waiting for the computers to be updated, I spent about fifteen minutes in the break room with the class. I told them that they all would be vector points and to stand around the room. Each time a vector point moved, the shape would change. And there are only two types of vector points - sharply angled and curved. And one of the students in the class, the only female, volunteered to be a curved point. And I watched light bulbs go on above everybody's head!

The whole class got it, and they did great. I love this kind'a stuff.