Drawing and Manipulating Letterforms in Illustrator
All right so uh I'm gonna draw some letter forms using just using the shape tool um I have used it was fair for years and I teach illustrator and um you know, I was using like version one you know, one point oh or whatever you couldn't do anything and like now you can do so much but what I'm finding is is that I'm so ingrained in some of the old stuff that it literally takes me you know, like two semesters just remember that there's something new there let alone um start using it so I really like taking a different approach like I'm tryingto like, make sure that my students don't fall into the same you know don't don't fall into the same scenario so um and and I've actually like made a conscious way to change the way that I work because you know, the first biggest thing and the thing that used all the time to draw an illustrator was the pen tool and that's been there since the very early early versions but since they've added tools like the pathfinder tool which I'm going to use for a ...
couple things here um and all the shame that all the shape tools it's like the first thing you ask yourself is can I build this out of shapes and then just use the pen tool to, you know, either out of line segment here there were just manipulate curves because it's you know it's so much more efficient toe work that way than to try and draw everything with you know with the pen tool again there is option of like hand of drawing and refining it bring it in and having it trace it and then you know just at least you've got the entire paths you know the past that you need and then it's just a matter of manipulating the paths around going in and drawing on them and then manipulate him um again I'm just gonna work with strokes uh I'm gonna draw I was gonna make like a condensed lower case e or if I flip it a couple times it will be a lower case eh um so I want to give it a pretty good stroke wait and all you do is I'm holding that option key might do something option key rotated resize it move it it makes a copy of whatever you've got selected and then I just want to get rid of actually, um I'll just get rid of these two points well connect these two extend this one and that another stroke um for what I want to do it really look better if this were thicker stroke so gonna be fed up more um and I think it's also beneficial to work um like to work large you know larger rather than smaller um especially when you've got stuff that has more detail because it's easy it's easy to make men like those little things when they're in a on a larger scale but you do want to be careful that you don't get used to like creating something really large and then even though you have small pieces they're able to manipulate those small pieces like when it's reduced down our become almost insignificant so you have to kind of check your work at sizes particularly with with logos so I'm just gonna um the other thing is that you know I typically when I create something before I turn into outlines I make a copy of it and I would create a new layer just sticking off the side or something so I have that to go back to um so now I'm just going to use the pathfinder erm sorry in your object and uh expand which will expand the stroke and just give it a fill make this ah compound path so again I said I could make this look very much like um a western well western fought just by now you know I need to add stroke here I should have paid attention to how much I was moving that one did the top one that's pretty easy right welcome to the old west um all right I'm going to take this e that I just used and the manipulated a little bit into a different day so uh maybe be better to flip it put it that way and then I'll flip it uh for glee right? So um that's sort of yeah, so again I'm using the shape tool rather than draw rather than draw on her lips um uh other thing that I like is you can use the eyedropper tool and it will whatever you have selected, you click on the thing you wanted to change it teo and automatically and that actually works for typefaces that was well, it will change like the thought the font size letting whatever attributes the object has so I wantto uh actually want to align this I'm anyone ever to sit first it looks like it's a line there so I actually want to bring this out let the stroke uh I'm actually gonna bring this on past so it has like a serif on the bottom or at least an extended stroke and I think it would look better if I bring this up a little bit bring this over a little bit probably should align probably look good if it lines with where that counter space starts. We can use a guide to check that um and then I want to get rid of this curve down here so I'm just going to delete this I could actually leave that open I could you know or could you know, do the same same thing up here bring this um another reason why I would keep this in stroke for him before I do anything it's going to be more accurate if I want to change the weight of it took it back to the written will change the stroke, wait and then outline it rather just, you know, giving a stroke like this and officer offsetting it, merging it together all right um let's do a counter space all right? Since I'm going to manipulate the counter space um I actually need to outline this so I'm gonna expand it and I'm not going toe I'm actually not going to mess with the path itself. Um I'm going to create other shapes and then use the pathfinder toe knock out of that so I'm just gonna create uh um square and then rotated forty five degrees give it a white fell just so that I can engage what it's gonna look like um, sir, so I'm going to just flip it and copy it when you, um this is I'm reflecting it, but when you reflect or when you rotate or when you re size in law these dialog boxes it gives you the option to copy at the same time I want to go horizontal concretely that and then quick copy um and then I could also just now just rotate and copy this ninety degrees and copy um the other thing that I can do what I'm going to do is to actually come in and kind of do the same thing, but I'm gonna add to the stroke so actually I want to do it in the kind of the center of the curve so one rotate that forty five degrees so I'm just used I'm actually using a square to find the center of the looks like I'm it looks like I'm pretty much dead on I might just do the same thing um the other thing when you've got something consists of pathan illustrator anytime as long as it's selected and I've got the pen tool if I mouse over a selected path that gives me a little plus sign, I can add a point anywhere along the path so if I wanted to make like this curve instead of a corner there's a better way to do that but I could click add points, delete this one and then make a corner out of that, but what I want to dio is since this is hanging out over the edge, I just want to get rid of that point um I just did the same thing that I did reflecting copy and this time I connection just reflect on copy instead of rotate and it looks like I think I think I've created fireman shield not sure just out of the negative space sometimes things change order when you use the pathfinder tool um and I can't select all these at once and use the pathfinder tool um because they're different objects but what I can do is um come to object and make this a compound path which basically now that treats that is one path even though it's four objects made up of individual paths so now I can actually subtract this so I want to come over here um the ones we're using pathfinder the most are minus front minus back and divide divide will divide it up in the separate into separate shapes but I actually want to get knock this out of the back so I will go subtract the front object from the back object all right let's uh do a quick thing terminals hey, I found the shape for my dog loco it's an abstracted four pronged fire hider so I'm gonna draw me so what's a bonus I have the knockouts so you know if I draw it if I start out with an o I can draw see aiken drawn e I have part of the p which then also works for the q and so any any of those you know, things that have have around or partially round stroke I have you know the basis of the letter form for I'm going to actually just plan appoint more I want um the terminal toby um just select just this line segment and deleted get the pan toll I'm going to click on this hold down the shift key shift key only lets you move it ninety degrees or forty five degrees so if I do that it's going to be perfectly straight um I'm not going to bring it all the way over and again in one ofthe uh one thing that you can do and you can do this directly with stroke um in the stroke palate is I can you know if I want those end points to be round rather than squared off I could just say round cap it does add a little bit of length to it when I do that so I'm gonna move this one back a little bit um I could also round this corner to see if if the uh round corner effect works with us all right so um stylized round corners and I get a preview so um probably needs to be closer to my stroke wait it's not gonna do it so I have to do that I'd have to do that manually but I could do that um so one one of things I could do is I could have any doubt that I don't like this first like a copy code object and expand appearance um so I can bring this and I could bring this over um I could change the look of this by uh, changing the terminal and then I would probably do the same thing down here if I wanted to make this look like it's gonna um overlap I'm gonna make a copy of this I put a copy right in front and I kind of just borrow a straight a straight section of this I'll buy that um going about when used divide tool at um groups everything together and so you have to run group it or use the direct selection tools I want to make this actually want to make this white and give it a stroke stroke oh all right so I'm actually going to cut this stroke here like these two separate pass um actually if I were if I were doing this I would make a copy and then just make uh that's a separate pace so I could bring that to the front should be able to bring in front oh what's what's happening is it's still treating this as a group and then I'm just gonna overlap these strokes um and then if I really want to clean this up I'm gonna use the pathfinder and subtract that from the shape behind and then merge these two together so it's all on stroke um got more anchor points here that I need so I could just get rid of those okay um that's about all we have time for any questions on what we're doing here? Mike can you please tell us more about sit up off the, uh, desktop. I mean, all the panels you use and guides, you use it first. Yeah, guides a songs, you have the rulers visible. You just click and direct these out anywhere, and you can actually, you can actually unlock them and convert them to strokes. If, if I want this to be a guide, um, I can select it, um, come up here to, um, few guides and make this a guide, and so and then use that. So sometimes when I manipulate letter forms and I I want a match. I'm taking away extra anchor points, but I need to match the original curve islamic, a copy, make it a guy, and then, when I'm cleaning things up, I can use the original letter forms and guide.