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Working with Artboards

Lesson 6 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

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Lesson Info

6. Working with Artboards


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is Adobe Illustrator?


Explore the Interface


Create and Save New Documents


Zoom and Navigate


Working with Artboards


Introduction to Layers


Rulers and Guides


Shapes and Drawing


Aligning and Combining Shapes


Pen Tool


Manipulating Stroke and Fill


Creating and Editing with Color


Painting with Gradients


Getting Started with Patterns


Adding Text To Your Document


Formatting Text


Strokes and Variable Strokes in Adobe Illustrator


Rotating Objects in Adobe Illustrator


Effects and the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Adding Photo Images in Adobe Illustrator


Working with Linked Content in Adobe Illustrator


Packaging your Project for Handoff in Adobe Illustrator


Best Formats to Save Your Files


Select Like a Pro: Layers, Groups, & Other Unique Tools


Edit Paths Like a Pro in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Creating & Applying Brushes to Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Knife & Scissor Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Join Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Isolation Mode in Adobe® Illustrator®


Pen Tool Shortcuts in Adobe Illustrator


Other Drawing Tools & Methods in Adobe Illustrator


Transforming Techniques in Adobe Illustrator


Shortcut to Reflecting Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Get to Know Your Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Exploring Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Work Smarter with Graphic Styles in Adobe Illustrator


Color Inspiration in Adobe Illustrator


Type Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Masking Your Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Creative® Cloud® Libraries in Adobe® Illustrator®


Capture Artwork with Creative Cloud Apps & Adobe Illustrator


Tracing Raster Images in Adobe Illustrator


Blending Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Symbols in Adobe Illustrator


Using a Perspective Grid in Adobe Illustrator


Crash Recovery in Adobe Illustrator


GPU Performance in Adobe Illustrator


Curvature Tool in Adobe Illustrator


App Integration in Adobe Illustrator


Creative Cloud Libraries in Adobe Illustrator App


Shaper Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Smart Guides in Adobe Illustrator


Text Enhancements in Adobe Illustrator


SVG Export in Adobe Illustrator


Lesson Info

Working with Artboards

In Illustrator, we have the ability to create what are called art boards. Okay? Art boards are really important. These are the pages that we can work with. Now, in this document that I just opened, what I'm gonna do, just hang tight for a second, I'm gonna fit everything in the window so we can see everything we have, this is basically all of the pages or art boards we have. If you look, you're gonna see that I've actually taken and, I do a lot of web and work with a designer, and we've created a design for my site. And this was years ago, and she went in and said, "okay, so this is gonna be the desktop design right here" for instance, so we went in and created that. And we said, well, we kinda need to give an idea to the developer which was me, what it's gonna look like at the different sizes. So in Illustrator, we can create up to 100 art boards, or up to 100 pages, if you feel comfortable saying that, they can be of any size, they can be in any location, you can do just about anythi...

ng you want with them. You can even overlap them. It's kinda crazy. Okay? Art boards are pretty amazing and they actually live over here in the art boards panel. There's a panel in the far right down here which we're gonna start to use. Okay? Alright, let me do this. I'm gonna jump back to the intro art here. Why don't you come down here to the lower right and I want you to lick on this art boards icon now, when you first start working in Illustrator, it's gonna be kinda rough to remember all these icons. What I do, even sometimes today, I'll sit there and put my cursor over it and it'll show you, like, a tool tip. It's kind of annoying. If you guys know that you need to pick something, you can't remember the icon over here, instead of scrolling over all of them, you can come up to the window menu and you can just choose the thing you want, it'll open it up directly. So there's a couple of ways to get about doing that. Alright. Look at the art boards panel down here. Now, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take this thing and I'm gonna tear it off, and I'm gonna bring it out here so that we can see it a little bit easier. You don't have to do this. I'm gonna grab it by the tab here and tear it off and drag it right over here just so that we can see it, okay? (coughs) Excuse me. Now, like I said, art boards, you may never use them, you may use them all the time. It depends on what you're building, what you're doing. In here, it's kind of interesting but all the different art boards we have are gonna be listed and the listing ordering here matters and it doesn't matter, okay? I'll show you what I mean. Why don't you do this for me. Why don't you go ahead and click, you're gonna see art board one and art board one copy. By the way, don't name your art boards the way I do. This is a do as I say not as I do moment. I get lazy and I'm like, let's just copy it and leave it. Art board naming can be important if you're doing certain things, right? Once you click on art board one copy, now I want you to notice something here that is super subtle. Click on art board one again and look at your artwork as you're doing it. Can you guys see something happening right there? What's going on? It's actually highlighting the edge of the art board, the edge of the page, right? Now, this is really important and this is something I didn't get right away. When you click on an art board and you here you're setting what's called the active art board. When you do view commands and different things like that, it's gonna happen to be active art board. Okay, that's why you kinda may be freaked out when you set fit a board in the window and it went to the first one. Because it was active. There's a subtle black line, I mean, why am I even showing you this? This is so subtle. You can see this subtle black line right here around the edge of the art board. If I switch between art boards, you'll notice that it's switching too, okay? Sometimes you can catch that, but whatever so if we look at the art boards, we can see it, another way you'll be able to tell what art board you're actually looking at right now, you're actually, here's the active art board, right down here, lower left, you're gonna see a number down there. Why don't you go ahead and click on the arrow? Let me zoom in a bit here. Click on the arrow down here and you're gonna see the number of art boards listed. Some people don't like to go to the art boards panel, this is right here, it's always here, you can use this to get between the pages, to get between the art boards if you wanna kind of navigate it, right? So if you, why don't you do this. Why don't you come down there and click on two art board one copy. That's a mouth full, click on that. What's interesting about that is it actually will go to the art board and usually it will fit it in the window too. Okay? Now, if you just come in to the art board panel, you just click on these, it's not gonna do that. It's just gonna select it. Come to the art boards panel here, and here's what I want you to do. It's a little bit subtle. Come to the number to the left here, and double click on one of them. Like number one. Or number two. By doing that, this is a way to actually navigate the art boards, it's a way for you to fit it in the window, to be able to see it and get it in there, okay. Super important. Something that makes sense, right? Now, here's what everyone tries to do in the beginning. This is what I do. Don't double click on the art board name. Why don't you try that? Double click on one of the art board names. It's gonna make you change it. We don't wanna do that. Alright, that's great and everything but we don't need that. If you wanna stop that, you can click somewhere in a blank area of the art board. Why don't you come to the far right of the name, where this blank area is, and double click. You're gonna see that you got a little wiggle worm right there, you can kinda get around a little bit here. (coughs) Excuse me. Alright. Now, what we're gonna do is we're gonna start to actually create some art boards. I wanna get some in here so that we can use them. Let's go to our robot file. So you should see the tab at the top, we're gonna switch back and forth, okay. Now you guys, there are shortcuts, I'm just telling you this, I'm not gonna show you but there are shortcuts to get between the tabs, so the further you get into Illustrator, you can quickly jump around. Once you're on robot here, what I wanna do is go take a look at our boards, we're gonna create a few and kinda discuss how we name them and get around the importance of creating these. If you look in here, every document starts with a single art board at the size you set initially. Now, what I want you to do is come over here to the left in the tools panel and you're gonna see that we have a tool over here called the art board tool. Go and click on that. Somewhere over there. Now, this is, it's a little funky okay? But the art board tool is saying, "let's go edit the page size. Let's go edit the art board size. Let's edit where it sits." We can move it around if we want to anywhere. We can take two art boards that are this far apart and drag them right next to each other. If you noticed, look at the art board You're gonna see that it now has little handles all the way around the outsides here and dotted lines. If you want to, you can come in here. Why don't you come to one of these little boxes, these little handles, you gotta do it by one of the handles. And if you see a double arrow show up, you can click drag, and you can resize this thing. You can set it to be just about anything you want. Okay? Some projects you're working on, it's not gonna matter how big the art board is. It's just, does the artwork fit within the art board? So if you're creating a logo for instance, we don't have to have it on a letter sized document. Your logo art board could be the size of the logo. Alright, so if you go in and let's say you just destroyed the size. You wanted letter, okay? Just messed that up. If you look at the top, in the control panel, you're gonna see all the presets or settings we can set for this art board. So up here is where we can go in and now say, well, I messed up, I want it to be letter for instance. You're also gonna see that we have a lot of web sizes, video sizes, different things we can work with or defaults depending on what you're working on. Why don't you go and choose letter again. That should set it back where it was. Now, with our boards we can also, and this is one of the best parts, you can do things like switch orientation, you can, as you're working. It doesn't matter when you do this. If you look at the top you will see that we have portrait and landscape, you can at any time just swap between the two if you want to and say, eh, let's go this way, I'm printing it a little differently or doing something different maybe. My logo is more horizontal than it is vertical, I'll swap the actual orientation. So we can do that as well, if you look up here you can also name the art board right here, which we can also, we saw, do that in the art boards panel. Doesn't really matter. What do you think about naming art boards? Important? Not important? Very important. I lean on very important, I lean also on getting lazy and not doing it, like naming layers in Photoshop, you gotta do it you guys. It's super important. So here is what we're gonna do. Let's rename this art board. We're gonna actually call this one robot front. So you can do it up here if you want to, because we have the tool selected, or you could double click the name in the art boards panel. Either one works. Alright, there are a ton of options up here and one of the things about Illustrator you're gonna find is you can work in here very loosely if you wanna create art for instance and you wanna create some really cool flowing this and that. You can draw or do whatever you need to do. You can also be extremely precise. If you look up here in the control panel, you're gonna notice that we have x, y, w and h. So x y is actually telling you the coordinates according to the document window where this thing is located. W and h, width and height. So we could go in and if you need a specific size, we can go right up here and type that in and get it done. Now, does everybody see that little, like, it looks like a squashed bug or something between the two? I don't even know what that looks like. It's like a broken link chain. If you, you're gonna see those all over Illustrator, if you click on that, you know what's gonna happen? If you change one of those values, they both are gonna change proportionally. Super important, I forget to turn that on and off all the time, alright? You're gonna need to turn that on, that's fine. Alright, we've got one art board and if you look up here in the upper left with the art board tool selector, you can kind of see those little tags telling you which one it is. We're gonna create a new one. So let's suppose we need two sides of this robot we're gonna create and we need to do that. First of all, why don't we do this. Let's change the orientation to landscape, we need it landscape. And we're gonna create a new one. So to do that, we can get this done fifty ways you guys and I hate to say that, but there are some easy ways to do it. I'm gonna show you the way I tend to do it. Come to the art boards panel and you're gonna see down towards the bottom we have new art board. What it's gonna do if you click on that, it's gonna take the last, the selected art board, the one that's selected in here, duplicate it and stick it to the right of that art board. So let's do that. Go ahead and click down here on new art board. It's gonna make an exact copy of it and put it to the right of the existing. Pretty easy. Now that we have two, you can see right here, this one is called art board two, let's go ahead and rename that one. So once again, you can do that up here if you want or you can double click the name. What do you think we're gonna call this one? Call it robot back. Now, like I said, art boards, at any time, you can delete them. Funny thing about art boards if you delete the art board, the artwork doesn't get deleted. In other programs like in design, if you delete a page, what happens to the stuff on it? It's gone. In here, it's not. It's crazy. Let me show you what I'm talking about. If I go in and create a rectangle for instance, just bear with me for one second, I'm just gonna create a simple shape okay? I go to the art boards and I say well, we don't need that one anymore. I can delete it pretty easily. The artwork is still there. It takes a little getting used to but it's because it's based on you know, different artwork we're working on. Let me actually undo that. Possibly. Maybe. Okay, my undo is not, there it is! Look at you, good job. Okay. Alright, so we've got two art boards created right here, you guys are still on the art board tool, that is good. Now, what if you decide that you're gonna have two art boards the same size and you're gonna need to make them different to do something to them. Why don't you do this for me. Come to the robot back art board here, number two, and go ahead and click inside of it. You can select it that way. With the art board tool, this is the only time you can do this by the way, we need the art board tool selected. What we can do is we can take these and we can reposition them if you want. Why don't you come anywhere in the art board here and drag it, drag it to the right, drag it down, drag it around a little bit. Notice that as you drag it, do you see the lines showing up everywhere? In previous versions of Illustrator, you're gonna see they're kind of an aqua color, those guidelines. In CC 2015, they actually changed to a magenta color. This color right here. These are part of what are called smart guides. These, you're gonna love and you're gonna hate. The idea behind these is as you drag something, you can line things up. As you resize something, you notice as I drag here, notice that little gray label next to the cursor there, the pointer? That's called a measurement label. You're gonna use that a lot. That thing is gonna tell you where to locate it, it's gonna tell you how big the object is, depending on what you're doing. If you're drawing, it's gonna say width height equals. Here's how big this thing is. If you're moving something, it's telling you x y which is actually coordinates or distance from an object. So what I want you to do is just make sure that these two are lined up horizontally, you can tell because as you drag it to the top of the other one, you'll see that the smart guide kinda go across the middle. Hopefully everybody sees that, or across the top, sometimes you see that too. And I wanna make this one a little bit smaller. So we can go over here for instance to the right, and you can either come to one of these little points on the side, or maybe one of the points on the corner, it doesn't really matter, and as soon as you see a little double arrow, you can click and drag to change the size. These do not have to be the same size, okay? That's the great thing about art boards. Now what's interesting about the art boards here if you noticed, look in my art boards panel. I made the robot front is landscape, okay, (laughs) it's horizontal. Wow I just confused portrait and landscape. It is landscape, and the robot back I just made really narrow, it's actually now taller than it is wider. Look at these little icons in here. They're gonna give you an idea of what the orientation of each one is. That's great. I actually don't even use that. I gotta be honest. It's cool and all but heres what we use this stuff for. You're actually gonna see that with each art board, we can also set some settings in here. If you come to robot back in your art boards panel, come to that little icon to the right there and if you guys double click or single click on there, I just double click on it. Because if it doesn't select it it won't do it. Just double click on that little icon, and you're gonna get the style box. These are options you guys. This is where you can just go nuts. There's so much stuff you can do in here. We're not gonna address any of this stuff because it's a little more advanced. I wanted to show you this because you are going to do this by accident, I guarantee. So as you get further in, you can start to do things to the art board, don't worry much about this, just go ahead and click on cancel right now, don't worry about that. Alright, now we're gonna go through and we're gonna talk a little bit about, now that we've got some art boards over here, we're gonna talk a little bit about how to do things like move the art boards around and navigate between them, we're also gonna talk about rulers and guides. I know this is a lot of background info, we wanna get you drawing. We wanna get to creating, I get it. But we gotta do some of this, okay? So why don't you do this for me. Come back to the selection tool. The selection tool is kinda like your safety tool. You can still mess stuff up but there's less of a chance, let's say that, alright? So you go back to the selection tool and you're gonna go set back to our boards, what I wanna do is I wanna fit both in our window so we can see both of them. Anyone remember how to do that? Come under view. Fit all in window. So you can see both. Alright, got both of my art boards. Now, what we're gonna do is we're gonna go in and start to navigate these art boards a little bit and kind of understand how this works. If you look down lower left down here, like I said, we have the ability to do art board navigate down towards the bottom down here, let me show you that a little bit again. We have that little art board navigation menu, you're gonna see that we also have this series of arrows down here that I actually tend to use a fair amount. These arrows down here are previous art board and next art board. So you can kinda jam between all the art boards if you want to. There's a lot of ways to get between them. But if you go down here, you see those arrows, you can do previous art board, next art board and you can just start going through the art boards if you need to get to a specific one. Does that make sense? I'm gonna tell you what else people do. They zoom all the way out, find the art board they want, zoom into it. So there's 50 ways to do everything here, okay? Heres another way I do it. If I wanna go over, let's say I wanna go over to this art board and I wanna get it fit in the window and get it all set, you can actually click in an art board, why don't you click in the white area of that art board right now. You just made that your active art board. You notice that it's now selected in the art boards panel. If we do a fit in window, it'll fit that art board in the window. Why don't you come under view, view commands, fit art board in window. So now you know which one is actually gonna be fit. A lot of times what I do is I, I'll do the whole zoom way out, pick an art board, fit it. Or zoom it in or do something like that. There's a lot of ways to navigate here. Alright, enough of that. Alright, so art boards are super important. Now, another thing that I wanna start to talk to you guys about, I wanna start to talk about layers, layers are super important and we're also gonna talk about guides and rulers. Let's do a little bit of layers first so we can see some artwork. What I would like to do is I would actually like to open up another document. So we can see it. So why don#t you come under file, and let's go to open, and are you still all in that segment one folder? Hopefully. You should see that file. Go ahead and open that up. This is actually a little file that I worked on for my son, he wanted a, I'm not sure why, he wanted this skull. He's five years old, I'm not sure why, but there it is.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Project Files Part 1
Project Files Part 2

Ratings and Reviews


I am a pretty computer literate person but an Ai beginner i.e. I am completely new to the Creative Cloud/Adobe Illustrator. (This is also the first time I've used CreativeLive.) I think this course it is fantastic. The pace is good as is the content which progressed logically and covers all the basics you'd hope it would. The course is 2 full days' worth of material but it is broken down into segments so you can revisit or skip through as you need to. The presenter is really personable and easy to watch (even for me, a Londoner!). I would also say I think it is pretty good value for money -- I am currently enrolled on a part time course, basically doing the same sort of stuff, and I have to say this is better and a bit cheaper! I definitely recommend it to you!


A brilliantly designed course. it's almost magic. It's everything you hope for in a follow-along software class. Brian Wood has engineered it so that you start on a project that just needs basics, and then you move on to more & more complicated projects, and almost without realizing it you've learned Illustrator. This doesn't just happen -- Wood has clearly put a LOT of effort into creating this course. Here's one trivial example: he doesn't overload you with a lot of keyboard shortcuts right at the beginning -- you start with the actions themselves, using the (admittedly tedious but easy) pulldown menus, and then after you're comfortable with what you're doing, he'll throw in the shortcut. It may seem obvious, but so many instructors feel they have to give you an extensive foundation of definitions, shortcuts, interfaces, etc., before you ever do anything. Good stuff to know, but you'll never remember it. Wood has you up and working almost immediately. And he's a joy to listen to, at a perfect pace. Highly recommended.

Philippe LIENARD

Top course. Very well explained, clear, good examples, pleasant teacher. I like it and recommend it. One suggestion, it would be nice to have a detailed table of content of the course in the material. For instance, it took me quite a while to find back the part of the course where how to make a gear was explained.

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