Hello, and welcome to another edition of: “I have no idea what I’m doing” with your hostess with the mostest, Tiff from The Golden Letter!
A little bit ago I wrote a post saying that I’d finally be downloading Adobe Illustrator (if you haven’t read it yet, this is your chance – click here) and after hours of [im]patiently waiting for my three-legged tortoise speed internet to finish downloading and installing, I finally had Illustrator! Cue the applause.
I spent the rest of that night staring at the program thinking “what did I get myself into?“, but reminded myself that I am determined to learn this thing and that the quality of my work depended on it.
Some things that have been super helpful so far:
- I printed out several different pages of shortcuts and techniques to help me get more acquainted with each tool and start memorizing some of the ones that I’d be using the most (= undo –> cmd + z)
If you want to download these ‘cheat sheets’ click here.
- I went on to watch tons of YouTube tutorials for
dummiesbeginners and came across a “How to get started with Illustrator” video that explained 10 basic things. It was a good place to start.
- Skillshare has been the biggest help and the reason I’ve been able to pick it up so quickly. I took several classes on hand-lettering, pattern design, illustration, and fundamentals of Illustrator, among others. On a typical Friday night you can find me with a pen and pad in hand, binge watching Skillshare classes (I’m fun at parties, clearly). I’ve also heard/read good things about Atly, but it’s a bit more costly. I’m interested in checking out their courses soon and enjoy the fact that you can pay per class if you’re only interested in taking one.
The best and most thorough and concisely explained classes I’ve taken have been Intro to Surface Pattern Design: Learn Adobe Illustrator and Intro to Surface Pattern Design 2.0 by the amazing Bonnie Christine of Going Home To Roost. I think the reason why I’ve been able to navigate AI so easily and actually DO have an idea of what I’m doing now, has been because of the way she explained everything in her classes. She narrates everything she does so meticulously, that you can’t help but learn the shortcuts and the steps to create a beautiful pattern. It was the perfect class for a complete beginner like me and I highly recommend it.
- Practice, practice, practice. Although I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly I’m picking up what Illustrator is putting down, I have “miles to go before I sleep” (aka so much more to learn). I spend a few hours a day practicing, creating vector illustrations, and getting comfortable with the program.
- Keeping the keyboard shortcuts at hand. One of the keyboard shortcut sheets I downloaded from Bonnie’s class is now my desktop background, that way I can refer back to it when I’m working on something. It’s also something pretty to look at.
- Pinterest in its infinite knowledge has great pins with tons of resources to learn the ins & outs of any Adobe program. I have a Graphic Design board where I collect all of these awesome pins and am slowly making my way through them.
- I also play this little game with myself where I look at something that I think could have been made on Illustrator and try to think about how it was made, what AI tools were used, the process and work it took to create it. It has also made me respect artists, illustrators and designers so much more.
- Following artists, designers and illustrators I look up to on social media or their blogs gives me the motivation I need to keep going and not give up. I imagine these amazingly talented people in their early days, learning what I’m learning now and then seeing the things they can create now gets me excited for the future!
I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made in just a month and I want to give you a little something I made on Illustrator out of one of my drawings. I call this a deconstructed OOTD (outfit of the day), click on the image below to download this wallpaper for your phone and get yourself and your phone ready for summer!
Please let me know if you like these freebies by supporting The Golden Letter and subscribing to the newsletter where I will soon be providing exclusive freebies like this one and more!
If you like this wallpaper and would like to dress up your phone similarly, check out my Society6 shop for phone cases, laptop skins, mugs, etc. and more of my original artwork for purchase. <3