Creative Insight and Inspiration…

How To Be Creative | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius
Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead
of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

Reality. Reborn. Art created with Adobe Illustrator CC by Invisible Creature.

Reality. Reborn.
Turning inspiration into art with Adobe Illustrator CC.

CSGD 458 Illustrator II

Illustrator II provides students the opportunity to expand their working knowledge of Adobe® Illustrator® CC 2014 Release (version 18x). Tips and techniques using gradients, masks, styles, brushes, symbols & patterns, color, blending & transparency are just a few of the topics that will be explored. Students will learn how Illustrator files are exported and used in other applications such as Photoshop and InDesign. Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 new features and best practices will be discussed, investigated and utilized throughout this course.

Prerequisite: CSGD 306 Illustrator I or equivalent experience

Students should bring a USB Flash drive to class.

Adobe Creative Cloud, Abobe Brush, Adobe Color, Adobe Draw, Adobe Line, Photoshop Mix, Adobe Shape and Adobe Sketch app icons.

Adobe® Creative Cloud™ Mobile Apps

New & FREE Creative Cloud mobile apps – Adobe Brush CC, rebranded Adobe Color CC (formerly Kuler), Adobe Illustrator Draw, Adobe Illustrator Line, Adobe Photoshop Mix, Adobe Photoshop Sketch & Adobe Shape CC. Now, you can get your creative on anywhere!



Adobe Ink and Slide.

Adobe Ink and Slide logo.
Creative Cloud Pen & Digital Ruler

Introducing creative hardware that makes sketching and drawing more natural and fluid. Designed to be used with the iPad, Adobe Ink is a fine-tip, pressure-sensitive pen built using Adonit Pixelpoint technology to give you greater creative control and unprecedented precision. Adobe Slide is a digital ruler that lets you draw any shape on your iPad — including straight lines, perfect circles, classic French curves, and more. (Adonit is Adobe's partner for Ink. Find even more styluses at Adonit.)



Paper and Pencil by 53.

Paper & Pencil by FiftyThree

Paper is where ideas begin! An incredible, award-winning App for tablets that lets you capture your ideas and share them on the Web, add them to your photo library or print in book format. And it's free with in-App purchases for additional tools.

Pencil is a stylus inspired by a carpenter's pencil designed to work seamlessly with Paper. Your fingers can get the job done too!



Moleskine Journal app icon.

Moleskine® Journal App

Moleskine journals, re-imagined for limitless creativity, productivity and passion. The look and feel are classic Moleskine; the digital capabilities are inspiring. Enjoy all the things you usually do with your Moleskine journals, and send your creations out into the world, page after page. Another free productivity app for creatives.

Schedule at a glance (subject to revision)


03 Introduction: overview of syllabus, required materials, discuss Adobe® Creative Cloud™ and project and exam schedule. Review Illustrator basics and workflow strategies.

10 Lecture/Lab: review vector graphics (resolution independent objects) & raster images (resolution dependent bitmaps). Exploration of drawing tools, paths, segments & anchors. Investigation of menu commands & tools to modify paths. Using the Brushes panel to create unique lines & marks.

17 Critique/Lecture/Lab: working with color, gradients, blends and the Gradient Mesh tool. Protecting Your Assets (adding metadata). Student presentations and digital file collection.

24 Critique/Lecture/Lab: continue working with gradients and color for creative fills and strokes. Review Clipping Masks and introduce Opacity Masks.


03Class canceled due to inclement weather.

10Critique/Lecture/Lab: more about typography in Illustrator. First look at the Touch Type tool, threading text and styles. Student presentations and digital file collection.

17Spring Break: enjoy the Holiday!
Don't forget the sun screen! Send a postcard, better yet, create a postcard!

24Critique/Lecture/Lab: continue working with typography. Student presentations and digital file collection.

31Critique/Lecture/Lab: exploration of the Perspective Grid and drawing in perspective. Working with three dimensional effects, filters and more.


07Critique/Lecture/Lab:Illustrator and the Creative Cloud – Photoshop. Working with Live Paint and custom brushes. Student presentations and digital file collection.

14Critique/Lecture/Lab: Illustrator and the Web – image preparation techniques for digital display. Student presentations and digital file collection.

21Lab:  work session with hands-on assistance, individual student reviews.

28Class Cancelled: Out of abundance of caution, classes will end today at 4 p.m. No classes will begin after 3 p.m. Evening and continuing and professional studies classes are canceled. Non-residential buildings will close at 5:30 p.m.

Notes & Projects

Illustraton for Adobe Illustrator version 1 from 1987.

The Birth of Venus
Take a look at the history of Adobe Illustrator.

The Adobe Illustrator Story

When Adobe Illustrator first shipped in 1987, the new product not only altered Adobe's course, it changed drawing and graphic design forever. See how Adobe Co-Founder John Warnock first conceived of Illustrator as a PostScript drawing tool and how PostScript's Bézier curves could be applied to the shapes illustrators painstakingly created by hand. – May 2014, video, 19:01

Learn more about the history of Adobe Illustrator


Knock Knock – Multi-screen Animation

Brunettes Shoot Blondes: Knock Knock – Slick animation using Apple devices and a whole lot o' creativity. Looks like a whole lot o' Illustrator too!


Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign?

Infographic illustration created directly in Adobe InDesign.

Time MattersInDesign has a rich feature set of tools, menu commands and panels that are identical to Illustrator – draw shapes and lines, gradients, convert text to outlines, Pathfinder panel and more. At times, it's simply easier to create art and illustrations directly within InDesign since you're already working with it. You can always export your work to PDF format to make additional edits in Illustrator. Drag & drop objects from InDesign to Illustrator and vice versa. The old 20th Century technique, copy & paste between apps works too!


Scooby Doo Mystery Inc.

Project One

10 Digital Drawings (Let's see what you can do!)

Due: February 10th

Project Brief: Warm up and explore Adobe Illustrator's tools, panels and menus while creating 10 vector illustrations. Anything goes, be creative and have fun!

Specifications: custom profile, RGB color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe Illustrator format.

Heart illustration for project 2.

Follow your passions with Adobe Illustrator!
Click for larger image.

Project Two

Put Your Heart Into It! (Valentine's Day for All)

Due: February 17th

Project Brief: Use Valentine's Day as a theme and create an illustration (or two…). Continue exploring Adobe Illustrator's tools, panels and menus. Just like Project One, anything goes, be creative, have fun and make something exciting!

Specifications: custom profile, RGB color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe Illustrator format.

I Speak Fluid Colors by Maria Grønlund – illustration for project 3.

I Speak Fluid Colors
Graphic designer Maria Grønlund recently demonstrated the imaginative Adobe Illustrator CC techniques behind her I speak fluid colors series. Here, you can watch a recording of the live demo, and get to know Maria in her home in Denmark. Click for larger image.

Project Three

Blends & Gradients

Due: February 24th

Project Brief: Blends & gradients are incredible tools for creating art in Adobe Illustrator. Blending objects like pickets of a fence, jewels, stars and more allow you to quickly create complex illustrations. Gradient fills and strokes can be used to add realism to your art. See what you can create this week using blends & gradients.

Tips and insight.


Specifications: custom profile, RGB color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe Illustrator format.

Adobe Illustrator gradient mesh tool.

Project Four

What a Mesh!

Due: March 3rd

Project Brief: Now that you've warmed up to Illustrator's tools, panels and menus, try your hand at creating dimensional imagery with the Gradient Mesh tool. Feel free to use additional tools, including masks, text and anything else, while creating two or more vector illustrations.

Tips and insight.


Specifications: custom profile, RGB color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe Illustrator format.

Dylan poster by Milton Glaser.

Project Five

Poster Design

Due: March 24th

Project Brief: OK, by now you're cruising through Illustrator's tools, panels and menus! We've worked with Illustrator's type tools and various techniques. Create a poster about your favorite subject matter. Start with a new file, 24 x 36 inches and get creative! Explore all that Illustrator has to offer and be sure to include text (don't forget to include your copyright information)!

Tips and insight.


Specifications: custom profile, RGB color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe Illustrator format. Include metadata.

Special chracters: copyright, registered trademark and trademark symbols.

Special Chracters
Copyright symbol (Option + G), Registered Trademark symbol (Option + R) and Trademark symbol (Option + 2) can all be easily typed on a Mac.

Bonus Tip

Twelve Must-know Mac OS Keyboard Shortcuts for Special Characters

Digital imaging pros know their computers inside and out, including their keyboards and important keyboard shortcuts for special characters to get the job done! The following 12 shortcuts are part of everyday keystrokes, worth memorizing to allow you to be productive and type like the pros!

Name Symbol Keys
Acute Accent (résumé) ´ Option + E (followed by key press for vowel)
Bullet Option + 8
Cents ¢ Option + 4
Copyright Symbol © Option + G
Degree Symbol (90 ˚F) ˚ Option + K
Ellipsis (She said she was a dancer…) Option + ; (semicolon)
Em Dash (long dash—width of an M) Option + Shift + - (hyphen)
En Dash (wide dash, width of an N: Monday–Friday, 6–9 pm) Option + - (hyphen)
Eñe (Spanish character with a tilde over n: año, El Niño) ñ Option + N (followed by N)
Italicized f in ƒ/stop ƒ Option + F
Registered Trademark (officially used to mark one's property) ® Option + R
Trademark (unregistered, used to mark one's property) Option + 2


Double-bonus Tip: Links to additional Apple and Windows special characters.

Triple-bonus Tip: Use the menu,  > System Preferences… and select Keyboard in the second row to enable the Keyboard and Character Viewers in menu bar. You'll be able to use the Keyboard Viewer to see where special characters live on the keyboard so you can type them and the Character Viewer to select and insert special characters into your documents!

Quadruple-bonus Tip: The Apple icon () can be typed using Option + Shift + K (not available in all fonts).

Illustration of printer's marks and bleed.

About Printer’s Marks
When preparing a document for printing, special marks called printer's marks are used to help the print shop determine where to trim the paper, align separations and measure color data.

Project Six

The Bleeding Edge…

Due: March 31st

Project Brief: Continue working with Illustrator's tools and text to create a greeting card. Your card should contain text/art on the front that extends to the document's edges and text/art on the back. Be sure to include bleed. Save your file as a PDF with printer's marks. Be creative with the content and precise with the production.

Tips and insight.


Specifications: custom profile, CMYK color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe PDF format, high quality print option.

Illustration of printer's marks and bleed.

Project Seven

Art to 'Die' For

Due: April 7th

Project Brief: Art for creative business cards, post cards, coasters, stickers, magnets, tags, packaging and more are created in Illustrator everyday. Die cut lines are easy to add to a layer to aid the print vendor in preparing the metal die for the cut outs. As always, be creative with the content and extremely precise.

Tips and insight.
  • Die lines are usually 1 point strokes and can be any color. Creatives usually select a favorite color from the Pantone swatch library that contrast the colors in their art.
  • Duplicate shapes to a new layer to create the die line.
  • Combine shapes together using the Shape Builder tool to create the die line.
  • Name the layer "Die" so the print vendor clearly knows which layer is to be used to make the die.


Specifications: custom profile, CMYK color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe PDF format, high quality print option.

Mickey Mouse's House by Don Carson.

Project Eight


Due: April 14th

Project Brief: Illustrator CC allows you to easily draw artwork in perspective, using features based on the laws of perspective drawing. Perspective in drawing is an approximate 2-dimensional representation of imagery as seen by the eye.

Create two drawings in Illustrator – use the Perspective Grid Tool (Shift-P) and Perspective Selection Tool (Shift-V) in one drawing; use creative perspective (as explained in class) in the other. This project will really test your patience and fortitude!

Tips and insight.


Specifications: custom profile, RGB color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe Illustrator format. Include metadata.

The bristle brush was introduced in Adobe Illustrator CS5.

Project Nine

Live Paint & Custom Brushes

Due: April 21st

Project Brief: Adobe Illustrator features Live Paint, an intuitive way to create colored drawings by painting objects similar to filling in a coloring book or using watercolors to paint a pencil sketch.

Illustrator also features a suite of brushes that let you stylize the appearance of paths. You can apply brush strokes to existing paths, or you can use the Paintbrush tool to draw a path and apply a brush stroke at the same time. Illustrator has five different types of brushes: calligraphic, scatter, art, pattern, and bristle. Custom brushes can be created, allowing for endless possibilities in creativity!

Create two new works using Illustrator – explore Live Paint and creating custom brushes to use in your artworks. Be expressive and don't worry about making mistakes!

Tips and insight.


Specifications: custom profile, RGB color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe Illustrator format. Include metadata.

Venus Revisited 2014 by Orlando Arocena.

Venus Revisited 2014
Learn more about Orlando Arocena's commission to design the Adobe Illustrtaor CC 2014 splash screen – proudly made without using the Gradient Mesh tool, additional plug-ins or tracing… impressive!

Project Ten

Personal Expression

Due: April 28th

Project Brief: Adobe Illustrator CC is the worldwide industry-standard vector graphics software used by artists and designers of all types who want to create digital graphics, illustrations, and typography for all kinds of media: print, web, interactive, video, and mobile. We've covered a lot of ground with this incredible app. It's time to express yourselves and show your Illustrator chops!

Create three new elaborate works using Illustrator – explore all that Illustrator has to offer to create your art. Feel free to work with placed images if necessary – it's all good! Get your creative on!

Tips and insight.


Specifications: custom profile, RGB color, raster effects: 300 ppi, Adobe Illustrator format. Include metadata.