Now that we have some experience with Illustrator's tools, let's experiment with creating more complex shapes with the tools we've already used. We can create intricate and visually interesting graphics using the Shape tools and the Pen tool, similar to the following:
We'll be creating these three graphics next — and eventually combining one of these shapes with a background to make a completed logo. We'll be making use of tools we've already used, and experimenting with a few that we haven't seen yet. Let's get started with creating these graphics.
Setting up the Document
In order to get started, we'll need to create a new Illustrator document. Let's do that now.
Step1. To create a new document, from the Menu bar:
Click File, Click New
Step2. To create the document and accept the defaults,
Step3. Turn on the grid and rulers, if necessary, and reset the ruler measurements to inches if desired.
Step4. To switch to the default Fill and Stroke colors, on the keyboard, press:
Working with Shape Tool Options
The first shape we will create is a simple star logo. We'll be making this with the Star and Ellipse tools. Our finished shape will look like the following:
We have already created shapes by pressing and dragging with our mouse. We can also create a shape by clicking once on the artboard with a Shape tool active. This will bring up a dialog box that will allow us to have more control over the size and specifications of our shape. Let's switch to the Star tool and try out this new method of making a shape.
Step1. To switch to the Star tool, in the Tools panel,
Press & Hold, Click
Step2. To begin creating the star,
Click the artboard
Step3. To indicate the size and amount of points for our star, in the Star dialog box, enter the following values:
- Radius 1:.1in
- Radius 2:.5 in
- Points: 6
Step4. To finish creating the shape,
Step5. To zoom in on the star, if necessary, in the Tools panel,
Click, Press & Drag a rectangle around the star
Step6. To begin changing the color of our star, from the Tools panel:
Click, Click the star
Step7. To open the Color Picker, in the Tools panel,
Step8. To choose the color we want, in the Select Color: area,
Click a red color, Click
Step9. To switch to working with the Stroke of our object, on the keyboard, press:
Step10. To remove the stroke color, in the Tools panel,
Completing the Star Logo
Our star has a clean look, but it looks like a star that anyone could create. We want ours to stand out a little bit. To do that, we can add small circles to the end of each point. Let's do that now — we'll need the Ellipse tool to accomplish this.
Step1. To switch to the Ellipse tool, in the Tools panel,
Press & Hold, Click
Step2. To draw a circle, press:
Shift key, Press & Drag a small circle
Step3. To position the circle on a point of the star, in the Tools panel,
Click, Press & Drag the circle onto one of the points
NOTE: To enable easier repositioning of the circles, you can zoom in using the keyboard shortcut Control key++.
Step4. To create additional circles that match our first circle, press and hold:
Alt key, Press & Drag the circle to a new location
Step5. Repeat this action for each of the points on the star.
Step6. To select all the pieces of the star, with the Selection tool active,
Press & Drag a selection around the star
Step7. To open the Pathfinder panel, in the Panel dock,
Step8. To unite the shapes, in the top of the Pathfinder panel,
Saving our Document
Now that we've made one complex shape, it's a good time to save our document.
Step1. To begin to save the file, from the Menu bar,
Click File, Click Save
Setting the Location and Filename
NOTE for MacOS Users: On a Macintosh, the Save in field is above the list of visible folders and files, and is labeled "Where:". To move to the desktop, press the key combination Command key+D. From there, you can move into the epclass folder.
Step1. To open the correct subfolder, if necessary,
Double-Click the Illustrator Basics folder
Step2. If the filename is not highlighted,
Press & Drag across the default filename
Step3. To name the file, type:
Step4. To accept the defaults and close the dialog box, if necessary,