Cover photo by Iyus Sugiharto/Unsplash
Whether you only start your career in design or are an experienced Adobe Illustrator user, you surely understand that it is a dense program. There are a lot of different features, and you might not know about some of them. So, if you want to get the most out of this software and save days of wasted time, read on to find out amazing tips for drawing in Illustrator.
The Clipping Mask
Once you start using this tool, you will find that it has completely changed the way you see your shapes and compositions.
A clipping mask is the best solution every time you need to create complex compositions and adjust the shapes of your objects. And all because it gives you all the possibilities and complete control.
First of all, this function is quite simple. Secondly, you can easily edit the shapes inside the clipping mask. And if you have used Pathfinder before, you will definitely appreciate it because it doesn’t provide you with such an option. But the interesting fact is that it also comes with hidden features!
The Pathfinder Panel
Looking for the best solution on how to cut a shape in Illustrator, you should take a look at the Pathfinder Panel. Or rather, its four different modes, which are designed to create new forms. You can do this by manipulating the paths of multiple objects.
Yes, in the previous paragraph, we mentioned that clipping masks are a better solution. This is really the most efficient way to customize shapes, add effects, and more. But, what if you have, for example, a rectangle and you want to create a completely new shape? Enjoy the Pathfinder Panel!
Auto Spell Check
If you are the same person who creates truly creative illustrations but cannot write a single sentence without typos or mistakes, you will be simply amazed to learn that Adobe Illustrator comes with an Auto spell-check tool. Check this option ( (Edit > Spelling > Auto Spell Check), and you’ll not be embarrassed if you suddenly forget about manually checking your illustrations.
Converting Text to Outlines
How often do you face a situation where you have finished working on a design, and after 30 minutes, you receive a message that the client does not have the font that you used in your illustration? It’s good if you are in touch and can find a quick exit, but such a message may well take you by surprise. All experienced designers have been there.
Fortunately, we know how to make sure that this situation does not happen again. Now you can right-click the text you want and choose Convert to Outlines. This tool saves you the hassle of sending Illustrator files along with your font files. There is only one small nuance: always work with a copy of the document because if you need to return the original text, you cannot do it after converting to outlines.
Snap to Grid / Pixel Grid
Number five off this Illustrator tutorial is a Pixel Grid feature. Undoubtedly, the Grid itself is a powerful feature, but if you want to bring your design to the next level, you need to combine its opportunities with those of the Pixel Grid / Snap to Grid.
Surely, if you just started, you’re creating a design concept without giving any attention to the pixel-crisp nature of your illustrations. However, it would be better for you to realize that you spend a lot of time being obsessed with details. Start learning and playing with the Snap to Grid feature right now, and you’ll learn how to achieve the pixel-crisp designs.
The Offset Path
The Offset Path is a function that will help you both to give outlines to shapes and to create large copies of existing objects. You will not find it in most Adobe Illustrator classes, but you should definitely give it a try.
This tool advances the path of the selected object outward, which means it creates a larger version below it. It is identical in color and shape, but the dimensions are different.
We are sure you will enjoy working with offset paths. This is especially cool when creating line icons because you no longer have to work hard to create beautiful thick outlines. A couple of mouse clicks and the Offset Path will help you to achieve your goals.
Ruth Harding is a professional designer always eager to share her experience with curious illustrators. She is also a big fan of creative writing, so she doesn’t think that a “write my paper for me” task is a real challenge.