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

Why you'll like Adobe Illustrator if you love to draw

I love to draw. I've been drawing since I was a kid. In fact, even when I'm not drawing, I'm often picturing a drawing in my mind when I'm just looking at stuff. That's why I didn't hear what you just said. When I am drawing, I go into a zen-like feeling of being drawn into the space that I have imagined in my mind. If that's you, you understand.

If that's not you, then chances are you're among the thousand of people over the years who have looked at my drawings and said, "how long did it take for you to draw that?" Because, well, drawing takes time. It's slower than painting, and much slower than taking a photograph. So, if you really can't imagine taking the time it takes to draw something, then a drawing program, like Adobe Illustrator, really isn't for you. A painting/photography program, like Adobe Photoshop, would be much more appealing.

This is why Photoshop is so popular, and why Illustrator isn't. Illustrator is for drawing, Photoshop is for painting/photography. And as an instructor, I've seen people who love to draw trying to use Photoshop as a drawing program, but that's really a mistake. Yes, it can do it, but that's not what it's designed for. Drawings are done with pencils and pens. And that's where you should start with Adobe Illustrator, the pen tool.

If you've never used Illustrator, or just dabbled in it, especially if you've used Photoshop a lot, you probably have wanted Illustrator to be a painting/photographer program. It isn't. Sure, there are brushes and filters and all kinds of raster stuff, but really the heart and soul of the software is the pen tool.

If you've never used the pen tool in Illustrator, or have used it and become frustrated, go slowly. And at the risk of sounding kind'a mystical, you're not drawing lines, you're selecting points. The software is drawing the lines. Once that clicks in your head (and I've seen people who have had lightbulbs appear over their heads while doing it!), you've learned 99% percent of what Illustrator can do. The rest is just trivia.

Pen tool in Adobe Illustrator