Adobe Illustrator Tutorial – Working with Live Paint

In an effort to contribute more to the site I thought I would experiment with creating short tutorial videos on tricks and tips for Adobe Illustrator. This one is dealing with how I use the Live Paint tool to create custom arrows. Thanks to my friend Loren Brinton for the intro movie.

Let me know what you think in the comments or if you have suggestions on other videos you would like to see in the future.


Free PSD everyday

This came to me via a guy at my work. You can download the psd files and see how they were created. There are some nice looking files on here, tons of buttons, icons, web stuff and some nice examples of creating illustrations in photoshop. Dig in people.



Super Quick 2d Rendering Tutorial

I’ve been asked once or twice how I create some of my images. Here’s a quick rundown on how I did this illustration.

This tutorial is not aimed at making something look great but really to get the job done with a quick deadline. I’m not a great illustrator but I can get shit done fast and still make them look reasonably good. Sometimes that’s all the job requires.


It’s not overly detailed or even that good but it only took an hour and it’s going to be pretty small in the final image.


So here we go!

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Things you wish you would have learned long ago

I’ve been using illustrator now since oh version 1.4 or something and I think it’s crazy how I’m still always learning on it. For example, for some silly ass reason I never bothered to really get used to setting up symbol libraries and custom user profiles. Finally after all this time I set up a user profile with custom swatches and symbols that I use every time I start up a new document. What a time saver.


And then I find this gem in Computer Arts latest edition. Here’s a tip from Luke O’Neil on blending paths. Now I’ve used blending paths quite a bit but I had no idea you could shape them to a custom spline.


05___ Creating blends between two objects is easy in illustrator. You draw 2 objects and go to Object>Blend>Make or, alternatively, specify the number of steps you’d like in the options box. It’s also possible to change the direction of the blend by simply drawing a path and, with the blend and path selected, going to Object>Blend>Replace Spine.

How about you, anything you recently discovered that you are kicking yourself in the ass for not using earlier?

Illustration Challenge

Most of the stuff I do involves having to make illustrations for instructions that speak clearly and can have no text at all. The obvious reason for this are so that there will be no need for translations into multiple languages. One thing I come across all the time is the need for an icon or symbol that describes something making a sound or a click. I’ve tried a variety of things from an ear to a speaker to some silly lines indicating a noise. I would rather not go so far as to add music notes. What do you think would be a good icon or symbol to use? Draw one up if you would like, it might be fun.


Critique Request!

Steven Howards writes in….

This is my portfolio link,

I’ve been studying illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and have only recently developed a desire to pursue technical illustration. I know there is much that I need to do and work on, but any comments, critiques, and help is very much appreciated!

Here’s my critique, you do very nice work, keep drawing your butt off. If a chump like me can make it as a Technical Illustrator you surely can. One suggestion, get yourself a real website with a quality domain name, not that blogspot business. If you want to go the free route here are some suggestions.

Thanks for sending that in.

Any advice for Steven?


So I’m still rockin this old Wacom Intuos 2 6×8 Platinum, it’s still a nice tablet but I’m considering the upgrade. The thing I don’t like is that there are no interchangable nibs which give you different feels. It’s very plasticy feeling. I like the Intuos 3 with the graphite tips. Maybe I should take sand paper to the nib or something? Do you guys mod your pens at all?


INTUOS 4 – Worth the loot?


Anyway, who’s using this shiny new Intuos 4? How do you like it? It seems like they keep getting more expensive, is it worth it? What size would you get to go with a 24″ Imac?

Making the plunge

I’m talking about going from a full time corporate job to going full time freelance.

I want to hear your stories. How did you do it and what were the circumstances?
Were all your ducks lined up perfectly or did you just get to a point where there was so much freelance work coming in that you just went for it? Or did you just say the hell with it and jump in the deep end to see what would happen?  Did you like the job you were in previously, hate it or were you just tired of working for someone else?

If you’ve been doing it for a while how is it going for you? Do you ever miss the corporate 9-5?

Are you making more money now? Are you working less or more?

What do you like and dislike about freelancing full time?

What do you do if you like your full time job but are getting so much work freelancing that you have to turn it down?

Spread some inspiration on those of us working the 9-5. Seriously, we’ve got some of the most talented illustrators on the planet on this site, share some wisdom people.