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Adobe Illustrator CC for Beginners

Lesson 5 of 23

Working with Artboards in Adobe Illustrator

Brian Wood

Adobe Illustrator CC for Beginners

Brian Wood

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Lesson Info

5. Working with Artboards in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson Info

Working with Artboards in Adobe Illustrator

In Illustrator, we have the ability to create what are called artboards, okay. Artboards are, 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 artboards we have. If you look, you're gonna see that I've actually taken, and I do a lot of web, and I work with a designer, and we created a design for my site. And this is years ago. And, she went in, she said, "Okay, well this is gonna be the desktop design right here," for instance. So we went in and created that. And we said, "Well, we kind of 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 artboards, 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 anything you want with them. You can even overlap them, it's kind of crazy. Okay. Artboards are pretty amazing, and they actually live over here in the artboards panel. There's a panel on 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 out here. Why don't you come down here, to the lower right, and I want you to click on this artboards icon now. When you first start working in Illustrator, it's gonna kind of rough to remember all these icons. I, what I do, even sometimes today, I'll sit there and I'll put my cursor over it and it will show you like a tooltip. It's kind of annoying. If, you guys, if you 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, okay. So there's a couple ways to get about doing that. Alright, look at the artboards 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 this tab here and tear it off and drag it right about here, just so we can see it, okay. (coughs) Excuse me. Now, like I said, artboards 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 artboards we have are gonna be listed. And the listing ordering in 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 Artboard 1 and Artboard 1 Copy. By the way, don't name your artboards 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. Artboard naming can be important, if you're doing certain things, right. Why don't you click on Artboard 1 Copy. Now, I want you to notice something here that is super subtle. Click on Artboard 1 again, and look out at your artwork as you're doing it. Can you guys see something happening out there? What's going on? It's actually highlighting the edge of the artboard, 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 artboard in here, you're setting what's called the active artboard. When you do view commands and different things like that, it's gonna happen to the active artboard. Okay, that's why it kind of made me freak out, when you said, fit artboard in window and it went to the first one. Cause it was active. There's a subtle black line, oh, this, I mean why am I even showing you this? This is so subtle. You guys see this subtle black line right here around the edge of the artboard? If I switch between artboards, you'll notice that it's switching too, okay. Sometimes you can catch that, but whatever. So, if we look at the artboards we can see it. Another way to be able to tell what artboard you're actually like looking at right now, you're actually, is the active artboard, 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 artboards listed. Some people don't like to go to the artboards panel. This is right here, it's always here. You can use this to get between the pages, to get between the artboards, if you want, to kind of navigate, okay. So, if you, why don't you do this. Why don't you come down here and click on 2 Artboard 1 copy, that's a mouthful, but click on that. What's interesting about that, is it actually will go to the artboard and usually it will fit it in the window too, okay. Now, if you just come into the artboards panel, and you're just clicking on these, it's not going to do that. It's just gonna select it. Come to the artboards panel here and here's what I want you to do. 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 to the artboard. This is 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 everybody tries to do in the beginning, this is what I do, don't double click on the artboard name. Let's try that. Double click on one of the artboard names. It's gonna make you change it, okay, we don't want to do that, alright. That's great and everything, but we don't need that. If you want to stop that, you can click somewhere in a blank area of the artboard. Why don't you come to the far right of a name, where this blank area is, and double click. You're gonna see that you got a little wiggle room right there, you can kind of get around a little bit in here, okay. (clears throat) Excuse me. Alright, now what we're gonna do, is we're gonna start to actually create some artboards. I want to get some in here so that we can use them. Let's go to our robot file. So you should see the tab up top. We're gonna switch back and forth, okay. Now, you guys, there are shortcuts, I'm just tell 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, okay. Once you're on robot right here, what I want to do, is let's take a look at artboards. We're gonna create a few and kind of discuss how we name them, and get around, and the importance of, of creating these. If you look in here, every document starts with a single artboard at the size you set initially. Okay. 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 artboard tool. Go ahead and click on that, somewhere over there. Now, this is, it's a little funky, okay. But the artboard tool is, is saying, let's go edit the page size, let's go edit the artboard size. Let's edit where it sits, so like, we can like move it around if we want to, anywhere. We can take two artboards that are this far apart and drag them right next to each other, okay. If you notice, look at the artboard, you're gonna see that now it 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 and 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 artboard is. It's just, does the artwork fit? Does the artwork fit within the artboard? Okay, so if you're creating a logo for instance, we don't have to have it on a letter sized document. You're logo artboard could be the size of the logo. Okay. Alright, so, if you go in, and let's say you just destroyed the size, and you're like, I wanted letter, okay, I just messed that up. If you look up top, in the control panel, you're gonna see all the presets or settings, we can set for this artboard. So, up here is where we can go in and now say, well, I messed up, I want it to be letter, for instance. Okay, you're also gonna see that we have a lot of web sizes, video sizes, different things we can work with that are defaults, depending on what you're working on. Why don't you go ahead 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. As you're working, it doesn't matter when you do this. Okay. If you look up top, you'll 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's 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 artboard right here, which we can also, we saw, do that in the artboards panel doesn't really matter. What do you think about naming our boards? Important, not important? [Male Audience Member] Very. I, 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's what we're gonna do. Let's rename this artboard, okay. We're gonna actually call this one, robot front. So you can do it, sorry, you can do it up here if you want to. Cause we have the tool selected. Or you could double click the name in the artboards 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 want to create art, for instance. And you want to create some really cool flowing this and that, you can draw them, do whatever you need to do. You can also be extremely precise, okay. 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, okay. So we could go in if we need a specific size, we can go right up here and type that in and get it done, okay. Now, does everybody see that little like, it looks like a squashed bug or something between the two? I don't even know what, I don't know what that looks like. It's like a broken link chain. If you, you're gonna see these all over Illustrator. If you click on that, what's gonna happen, is if you change one of these values, they're both gonna change proportionally, okay. Super important. I forget to turn that on and off all the time, alright. You don't need to turn that on, it's fine. Alright, we've got one artboard, and if you look up here in the upper left, with the artboard tool selected you can kind of see these little tags telling you which one it is. We're gonna create a new one, okay. 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' 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 50 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 that I tend to do it. Come to the artboards panel, and you're gonna see down towards the bottom, we have New Artboard, okay. What it's gonna do, if you click on that, it's gonna take the last, the selected artboard, the one that's selected in here, duplicate it, and stick it to the right of that artboard. Okay, so, let's do that. Go ahead and click down here on New Artboard. It's gonna make an exact copy of it, and put it to the right of the existing, okay. Pretty easy. Now, now that we have two, you can see right here, this one's called Artboard two, let's go ahead and rename that one, okay. So, once again, you can do it up here if you want or double click the name. What do you thing we're gonna call this one? Call it robot back. Now, like I said, artboards at any time you can delete them. Funny thing about artboards, if you delete the artboard, the artwork doesn't get deleted. In other programs, like InDesign, 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 bare with me for one second. I'm just gonna create a simple shape, okay. I go to the artboards and I'm, I say, "Well, we don't need that one anymore." I can delete it pretty easily. The artwork is still there, okay. 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, look at you. Good job, okay. Alright, so we've got two artboards created right here. You guys are still on the artboard tool, that is good. Now, what if you decide that you have two artboards the same size, and you need to make them different to do something to them, okay? Why don't you do this for me, come to the robot back artboard here, number two. And go ahead and click inside of it, you can select it that way. With the artboard tool, this is the only time you can do this by the way. We need the artboard tool selected, okay. 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 artboard here, and just 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 they're kind of an aqua color. Those, 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, okay. These, you are gonna love. And you are gonna hate, okay. The idea behind these, is as you drag something, it'll line things up. As you resize something, you notice as I drag here, notice that little gray, little lable next to the cursor there, the pointer? That's called the measurement label you're gonna use that a lot, okay. That thing's gonna tell you where it's located, 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, okay. Alright, 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, you'll see the, the smartguide kind of go across the middle. Hopefully everybody sees that. Or, across the top, sometimes you'll see that too. And I want to 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 artboards. Now, what's interesting about the artboards here, if you notice. Look in my artboards panel. I made the robot front, is land, landscape, okay. 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, okay. I, that's great. I actually don't even use that, I gotta be honest. It's cool and all, but, here's what we use this stuff for, okay. You're actually gonna see that with each artboard, we can also, also set some settings in here. If you come to robot back in your artboards panel. Come to that little icon to the right there. And if you guys double click or single click on it, I, just double click on it. Cause if it's not selected, it won't do it. Just double click on that little icon, and you're gonna get this dialog 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, okay. Cause it's a little more advanced. I wanted to show you this, because you are going to do this by accident, I guarantee it, okay. So, as you get further in, you can start to do things to the artboard, don't worry about much of this. Just go ahead and click 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 artboards out here, we're gonna talk a little bit about how to do things like, move the artboards around, navigate between them. We're also gonna talk about rulers and guides, and I know this is a lot of background info, we, I want to get to drawing. I know, we want to 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 kind of like your safety tool, okay. You can still mess stuff up, but there's less of a chance, let's just say that, alright. So you go back to the selection tool, and you're gonna notice you got your artboards. What I want to do, is I want to fit both in the window. So we see both of them. Anyone remember how to do that? Come under View, Fit All in Window, so you can see both, okay. Aright. Got both my artboards, now, what we're gonna do, is we're gonna go in and start to navigate these artboards a little bit and kind of understand how that works. If you look down, lower left down here, like I said, we have the ability to artboard navigate down towards the bottom down here. Let me show you that a little bit again. We have that little artboard navigation menu. You're gonna see that we also have a series of arrows down here that I actually tend to use a fair amount. These arrows down here are previous artboard, and next artboard. So you can kind of jam between all the artboards if you want too. There's a lot of ways to get between them, okay. But, if you come down here and use these arrows, you can see previous artboard, next artboard, and you can just start going through the artboards if you need to get to a specific one, okay. Does that make sense? You, I'm gonna tell you what else people do. They zoom all the way out, find the artboard they want, zoom into it. Go, so there's 50 ways to do everything in here, okay. Here's another way I do it. If I, if I want to go over, let's say I want to go over to this artboard and I want to get it fit in the window and get all set. You can actually click in an artboard, why don't you click in the white area of that artboard right now. You just made that the active artboard, okay. You notice that it's now selected in the artboards panel. If we do a fit in window, it will fit that artboard in the window. Why don't you come under View, View commands, Fit Artboard 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 artboard, fit it, or zoom it in, or do something like that. There's a lot of ways to navigate in here, okay. Alright, enough of that. Alright, so artboards are super important. Now, another thing that I want to start to talk to you guys about. I want to start to talk about layers. Layers are super important. We're also gonna talk about guides and rulers. Okay. Let's do a little bit of layers first. So we can see some artwork, okay. 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 a skull. He's five years old, I'm not sure why, but there it is.

Class Description

This course is part of: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects 

Gain the fundamentals necessary to tackle the world’s best vector-based illustration software Adobe® Illustrator®. Brian Wood will take you step-by-step and explain everything a beginner needs to know to get up and running with Illustrator, including:

  • Interface & tools
  • Using the pen tool
  • Applying color
  • Formating Text 

In Adobe Illustrator CC for Beginners Brian will use a series of projects to teach you everything you need to create your first graphic or illustration. 

Software Used: Adobe Illustrator CC 2015



I've been trying to learn Illustrator on and off for years. This is the best instruction I've had! Brian is a great instructor. Finally feeling comfortable with it. It does use an older version but I just adapt.

Bill Neill

Great content and a good instructor. Not his fault the world marches on and doesn't stay in 2015. Any reasonably intelligent person will be able to figure out the changes since 2015 and how they relate to this course. It is early 2019, and I'm not having any trouble, but then I am reasonably intelligent and not to lazy to do some thinking.

a Creativelive Student

Pretty good so far but he's using a very different version of Illustrator and my currently updated version does not have the tool bars top and bottom for dealing with artboards.