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

Learning Adobe Illustrator through concept, not memorization

There are people out there who can memorize things. They don't ever need to refer to their notes, they have it all in their heads. Give them a list and they will recite it back to you. I'm not one of those people.

I learn conceptually. That is, I have to *wrap my head around* something in order to begin to understand it. You can't just hand me a list of things to do in order to use a particular graphics software program, you have to tell me what it's for, what the idea is.

Learning like this is the only way to use complex computer software programs, like Adobe Illustrator, which is my favorite. That's why the assignments I give are always project-based. If someone has a long *cheat sheet*, maybe of shortcuts, that sort of thing, I would just shake my head. If someone set aside trying to memorize where everything was, what everything was called, and just started drawing, I knew that they were gonna get it.

A vector drawing in Adobe Illustrator
To use Adobe Illustrator, all you have to know is that there are two kinds of points, angled and curved. The curved points are called bezier, but no, that won't be on the test. I did a training session once for a group and we actually stood around in the break room as I showed the concept before the class started. The men were all angled points and the women, of course, were curved. As they moved, the imaginary segment lines were formed. When they got onto the computers, it all made sense and they were off and running with vector points and segments.

Once you understand the concept of vectors in Adobe Illustrator, you're ready to move on to wireframe animation. But I'll stay with Adobe Illustrator. I still have a lot to do, mostly cartoons!