Media 204 - Illustrator

I had a little bit of Illustrator already in Media 110.  The part I had most fun with was making Spirographs.  I've always loved Spirograph designs.  The class didn't mention it, but as soon as I started playing with Illustrator that's the first thing I thought of. 

Here's a scan of some real ones I made on paper many years ago with the 50's Spirograph set:


Here's the one I made last year with Illustrator in Media 110: 

But it took hours and was done the hard way because I didn't know Illustrator's tools very well yet!  I fiddled and tweaked with it for like ever to get it right.  I should say, the outermost shape was hard.  Illustrator can make the smaller copies instantly. 

In my dedicated Illustrator class I started right in fiddling with spirographs again. 

These two designs took minutes to make.  They're just ovals copied and rotated by degrees.  Illustrator has a keyboard shortcut to rotate copies around a specified point.  Slick! 

By the end of the class I was starting to know what I was doing.  Here's my masterpiece.  Spirographs the smart way! 

And this time I made note of how I did it so I can't forget. 
I know these look pretty simple.  Maybe one of these times I'll make some ├╝ber-fancy ones to mimic the ones in the scan, right now I'm happy just knowing I could.  Having the problem in a 'solved' state is satisfying.  I can make vector spirograph designs in Illustrator now.  Go me. 

I even made that into a cool tutorial... Illustrator Spirograph tutorial

Okay, back to the class... 

Starting at the beginning, we learn to use basic Illustrator tools: 

On left, the jpg we were given, on the right, my new vector copy of it

Daffodil, and my outline...

With gradient fills. 

Designing a business card from a logo.  The teacher gave us the logo: 


What I did with it: 

Working from a tutorial...

Here's some oak leaf and pine tree branch brushes I made.  Drag with the mouse, and oak leaves go all over, or a pine branch follows the line.  Cool! 

The .ai file, in case anyone finds this page in Google and wants the brushes. 

Wallpaper with the Blend and Flare tools.  Click for larger versions. 


Midterm assignment.  We had to design the back cover of a magazine to entice lost youths to come to summer camp.  I've never been all that interested in either summer camps or lost youths and combining the two produced a sum of negative the parts.  So getting started was the hardest part! 

The photos came from the free stock photography source at  I put "teenager" into the search box and took what I got.

Victoria wanted to help me and came up with this layout: 

That's beautiful, isn't it?  She said green was the color of hope.  In order that it not be cheating I started over from scratch and duplicated everything except the bitmap parts... I figured that was okay, I was placing images from the stock exchange, so I might as well place a couple from Victoria!  At least I did all the vectors myself.

Teacher wanted more Illustrator brushes, so I added some: 

Is that really better? 

I was so in love with those stars that I made wallpaper out of them.  It's EASY in Illustrator because using shapes means you can scale and move around anything you want to without loss of quality! 

Click for 1024x768 version.  Or blue!  Blue is the color of Janel. 

We had to make three magazine covers.  I refused any more help and did the other two on my own  :-)

"Too much" is the whole idea.  I started with simpler designs and then too muched them with Illustrator brushes until even Illustrator itself must've been blushing. 

A calendar from scratch following a tutorial:

More tutorials.

Very interesting if you want to have a look at that and see how this stuff is done.  It shows all the steps. 

The plain campground map we were given...

We had to make it nicer, using all-original icons.  Here's mine.  I didn't make the tree shapes, those come with Illustrator. 

  Click for closeup showing the icons. 

From a blurry jpg...

We had to make a vector version.  Click it for a closer look!  Remember this could be scaled up to billboard size and not lose quality. 

For the class final project, we made graphics in Illustrator that could be made into a webpage, and organized a layout.  We started from and re-created some of the images into drawn vector versions.  I picked this page and four images from it:

My version: 

Extra credit assignment, from the fantasy sword and shield tutorial here:

The example: 

I told the teacher I could not be expected to manipulate actual blood by touching it with my mouse, and did this instead.  He said it was okay  :-)

Hmm, I said not war, but I'd been watching The Punisher and working with cold steel (on the screen) then I thought of a much better quote to use which Thomas Jane had actually said in the movie.  So making another version took literally minutes (Illustrator is SO powerful!)

Here's a retro TV design created from shapes.  Another tutorial... and a not very imaginative interpretation because I was starting to want this class to be OVER fun or no fun  :-)

All done!