Adobe Illustrator

Textbooks: Adobe Illustrator CS6 Revealed ISBN: 9781133693192 and
Graphic Design Solutions ISBN: 9781133945529
Video Resources: Tips & Techniques | Principles | Projects | Bottom of this page.
Course Length: 150 hours


Course Description

Adobe Illustrator is a Vector Graphic Authoring tool that empowers you to create elaborate vector artwork with advanced effects. Vector art is resolution independent, and therefore scalable, which allows for resizing, larger or smaller, for multiple uses.


Course Preparation

Student Data Files:

  1. Textbook Reading: Adobe Illustrator CS6 Revealed: “Read This Before You Begin”
  2. Find & Download Illustrator CS6 Data Files necessary for this course
    • Use the ISBN on the publisher’s site to locate Book Page, Study Tools, Free Materials, etc.
    • As before, with earlier textbook data files, you may need to login with your Cengage student account info (that you previously set-up). If not yet created, then you’ll probably need to create your Cengage student account.
    • Account for all chapters of the book
  3. Move/Copy the downloaded Data Files onto your flash/removable drive
  4. Delete all downloaded Data Files from the lab computer’s “Downloads”, “Documents” and/or “Desktop” folders.
  5. Only store/access/use the Data Files from/to your flash/removable drive (throughout this course)

All Students – Class Server/Lab Computer Usage:

  1. Data Files must NEVER be uploaded to the class server
  2. The ONLY files that will be uploaded are completed assignment files/folders (for grading)
  3. Server space is limited; the privilege of its use can be revoked
  4. Do not attempt to store ANY files on lab computers; they will be erased

Online Students will need to:

  • Purchase the Adobe CC* software, OR
  • Download 30-Day trial software (Illustrator CC* ONLY… NOT entire suite).
    *CS6 trial software is not available for download.

Perform Business Website & Class Server Hygiene:

  1. Remove all InDesign textbook assignment links from your assignments web page
  2. Do NOT remove the InDesign final/end-of-week projects from your assignments web page
  3. Remove all of the InDesign textbook assignments/data files from the class web server


Course Completion Requirements

Tasks & Projects

Complete ALL of the Tasks/Projects below. This course requires you to read and work through all of the step-by-step tutorials in each chapter of Adobe Illustrator CS6 Revealed. If necessary, Review Program Overview/Expectations. Note: Many projects in this sequential course use “adaptive release” in Blackboard. This means that acquiring access to certain projects/tests is dependent on completion, and submission, of all previous projects/tests.

File Management & Submission Process

  1. Server Folder Set-up:
    • You will create course folders INSIDE of your “businesswebsite” folder (on the class server) to keep all the files sorted.
    • Setting up these course folders beforehand creates a place to put your many, many uploads.
    • Create a hierarchal series of NESTED subfolders (all lowercase, hyphens in place of spaces):
      • “illustrator”, “chapters”, “projects”
      • “ch01”, “ch02”, “ch03”… (or “ch-01”, “ch-02”, “ch-03”…)
      • “skills-review”, “project-builder-01”, “project-builder-02”, “design-project”, “portfolio-project”… (or “sr”, “pb-01”, “pb-02”, “dp”, “pp”…)
    • Arrange the nested subfolders, on the class server, as such:
      • businesswebsite
        • illustrator
          • chapters
            • ch01
              • skills-review (ONLY file submissions, PDFs, etc. will be uploaded here)
              • project-builder-01 (ONLY file submissions, PDFs, etc. will be uploaded here)
              • project-builder-02 (ONLY file submissions, PDFs, etc. will be uploaded here)
              • design-project (ONLY file submissions, PDFs, etc. will be uploaded here)
              • portfolio-project (ONLY file submissions, PDFs, etc. will be uploaded here)
            • ch02…
          • projects
            • il-01-t-shirt (ONLY file submissions…)
            • il-02-poster (ONLY file submissions…)
            • il-03-stationery-pkg (ONLY file submissions…)
  2. Project Archives:
    • Once a project is complete, always save your UNFLATTENED, native Illustrator (.ai) files for your archives.
      • Native .ai files are NEVER uploaded to the class server.
      • Native .ai files are NEVER submitted in this course.
      • Unflattened files preserve layers and editable text for (the inevitable) project/client revisions, later.
    • These, or any, archived files will be stored on your removable drive ONLY.
  3. Submission File Format:
    • All Illustrator projects/assignments must be submitted as FLATTENED LoRes PDF files (unless specified otherwise in a project sheet).
    • Use detailed instructions below to create submission PDFs.
    • Although not actually “Press Quality” these smaller files help conserve server space.
    • ▸ Create Submission PDF (Instructions Enclosed)

      Criteria: Flattened/Non-layered, High Quality, 150 ppi, all marks (and bleed if used)
      From Adobe Illustrator CS6:

      • Always save your unflattened .ai file first (keep it for your project archives)
      • Flatten Artwork (Layers panel)
      • File > Save a Copy… (versus replacing your .ai file with Save As…)
        • Choose Destination (where to save file)
        • Format: Adobe PDF (pdf)
        • Delete spaces and/or “copy” from file name
        • Indicate which Artboard to output (if necessary)
        • Save (Dialog box opens)
      • Adobe PDF Preset > High Quality Print
        • General > Options
          • Deselect: Preserve Illustrator Capabilities
          • Select: All other options
        • Compression
          • Set first, and third, text entry fields to: 150 ppi
        • Marks and Bleeds
          • Marks > Select: All Printer’s Marks
          • Bleeds > Select: Use Document Bleed Settings
        • Save PDF (file should self-open for final proofing)
      • Close .ai file and Don’t Save (changes)

  4. Update Your Local Website:
    • Copy the finished project/assignment file (i.e. submission PDF) into the correct “illustrator” nested subfolder (ex: “design-project”).
    • Add/adjust related html/code in your local “businesswebsite” to link that new project file to your “assignments” page.
    • Test the new link locally for functionality and accuracy.
  5. Update Your Remote/Live Website:
    • Upload (using FileZilla/FTP) your finished project/assignment file (i.e. submission PDF) into the correct “illustrator” nested subfolder (ex: “design-project”).
    • Update related html/code in your remote “businesswebsite” to link that new project file to your “assignments” page.
    • Test the new link remotely for functionality and accuracy.
  6. Submit the new link to your updated (remote/live) “businesswebsite” home page
    • Use correct project DropBox in Blackboard.
    • Test the submitted link in Blackboard for functionality and accuracy.


Coursework 1: Illustrator (IL)

Days: 5 | PCP 13


Testing: Take the IL-Pre-Test in Blackboard (before reading any chapters)


Video Tutorials: Illustrator

Optional: Watch these overview, and targeted, video(s) before starting related coursework/project below. These resources will help clarify complex topics and greatly reduce the learning curve for building your fundamental skills.


IL-CH01: Getting to Know Illustrator

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Read: Graphic Design Solutions: CH05, CH06
  3. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  4. Testing: Take the IL-01-Test in Blackboard


IL-CH02: Creating Text and Gradients

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  3. Testing: Take the IL-02-Test in Blackboard


IL-CH03: Drawing and Composing an Illustration

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project – Read the project instructions however, instead of the book instructions, let’s try this: Create a new Illustrator document 8” x 10”. Find a decent digital reference photo of a human humerus (upper arm bone). Place it in a new layer and lock that layer. Use the pen tool as in earlier projects (black stroke; white fill) to draw an accurate bone shape. Submit a PDF of your result. (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  3. Testing: Take the IL-03-Test in Blackboard


IL-CH04: Transforming and Distorting Objects

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  3. Testing: Take the IL-04-Test in Blackboard


IL-CH05: Working with Layers

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  3. Testing: Take the IL-05-Test in Blackboard


Coursework 2: Illustrator (IL)

Days: 5 | PCP 14


IL-CH06: Working with Patterns and Brushes

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Read: Graphic Design Solutions: CH07, CH11
  3. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  4. Testing: Take the IL-06-Test in Blackboard


IL-CH07: Working with Distortions, Gradient Meshes, Envelopes, and Blends

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  3. Testing: Take the IL-07-Test in Blackboard


IL-CH08: Recoloring Artwork and Working with Transparency, Effects, and Graphic Styles

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  3. Testing: Take the IL-08-Test in Blackboard


IL-CH09: Creating and Designing Graphs

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  3. Testing: Take the IL-09-Test in Blackboard


Coursework 3: Illustrator (IL)

Days: 5 | PCP 15


IL-CH10: Creating 3D Objects

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Read: Graphic Design Solutions: CH06
  3. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  4. Testing: Take the IL-10-Test in Blackboard


IL-CH11: Preparing a Document for Prepress and Printing

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  3. Testing: Take the IL-11-Test in Blackboard


Coursework 4: Illustrator (IL)

Days: 5 | PCP 16


IL-CH12: Drawing with Symbols

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Read: Graphic Design Solutions: CH13
  3. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2: After Step 10 is complete, take a screen shot of your Symbols panel (it should resemble Fig. 43).
      Screen Shot Basics [Mac]

      • Cmd+Shift+4 (to prompt cursor) > Left-Click-Drag a rectangular marquee around the specific target area and release (a pre-named, time-stamped PNG will be saved to desktop)
      • Open and rename the file and save it as a .png

      Screen Shot Basics [PC]

      • Windows Start icon > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool > Left-Click-Drag a rectangular marquee around the specific target area and release (a PNG will appear in a Save As dialog box)
      • Rename the file and save it as a .PNG

      (submit .png in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)

    • Design Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Portfolio Project (submit in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  4. Testing: Take the IL-12-Test in Blackboard


IL-CH13: Preparing Graphics for the Web

  1. Tutorials: Complete the step-by-step tutorials for this chapter.
  2. Projects: Complete the following for this chapter:
    • Skills Review
    • Project Builder 1 (submit as .jpeg in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
    • Project Builder 2: After Step 15 is complete, take a screen shot of your document/artboard, with slices showing (it should resemble Fig. 48). Submit as .png in Blackboard; using steps outlined above
    • Design Project: After Step 11 is complete, take a screen shot of your entire application window, artboard (with slices showing) and open panels, (it should resemble Fig. 49). Submit as .png in Blackboard; using steps outlined above
    • Portfolio Project (submit as .swf in Blackboard; using steps outlined above)
  3. Testing: Take the IL-13-Test in Blackboard
  4. Testing: Take the IL-Final-Exam in Blackboard


Video Tutorials: Illustrator

Watch video(s) before starting related coursework/project below. These resources will help clarify complex topics and greatly reduce the learning curve for building your fundamental skills.


Project: IL-01-T-Shirt

  1. Review/Study Some Design Inspiration Sites:
    When reviewing existing work, keep in mind that your mission is NEVER to outright copy an existing design… it’s both illegal and unethical. Rather, you should use references like these as idea-starters and to discover what’s realistically possible. You should observe the elements, colors, fonts and techniques used, and always seek to explore and further improve on what you’ve learned. Sketching out your rapidly-evolving ideas (while researching online inspiration) can prove to be a very useful means of visual notetaking (i.e. thumbnail/idea doodles).
  2. Review: Studio Skills: Creating and Submitting Your Thumbnail Sketches
  3. Review: From Sketch to Vector Illustration
  4. Download project-specific files and instructions:
  5. Complete Project: Design awesome things.
  6. Submit Project: In Blackboard, using steps outlined above.


Coursework 5: Illustrator (IL)

Days: 5 | PCP 17


Video Tutorials: Illustrator

Watch video(s) before starting related coursework/project below. These resources will help clarify complex topics and greatly reduce the learning curve for building your fundamental skills.


Project: IL-02-Poster

  1. Review/Study Some Design Inspiration Sites:
    Remember – when reviewing existing work, you should NEVER copy an existing design… it’s both illegal and unethical. Sketching out your rapidly-evolving ideas (while researching online inspiration) can prove to be a very useful means of visual notetaking (i.e. thumbnail/idea doodles).
  2. Review: Studio Skills: Creating and Submitting Your Thumbnail Sketches
  3. Download project-specific files and instructions:
  4. Complete Project: Design awesome things.
  5. Submit Project: In Blackboard, using steps outlined above.


Coursework 6: Illustrator (IL)

Days: 5 | PCP 18


Video Tutorials: Illustrator

Watch video(s) before starting related coursework/project below. These resources will help clarify complex topics and greatly reduce the learning curve for building your fundamental skills.


Project: IL-03-Stationery-Pkg

  1. Read:
  2. Review: Studio Skills: Creating and Submitting Your Thumbnail Sketches
  3. Download project-specific files and instructions:
  4. Complete Project: Design awesome things.
  5. Submit Project: In Blackboard, using steps outlined above.

The next course in your curriculum will be Photoshop. Upon completion of this course, if you do not already have access to the course files in Blackboard, ask your instructor.


Adobe ACA Certification

Pinellas Technical College provides you the opportunity to get the Adobe Illustrator ACA Industry Certification at no cost to you. The college is an official Certiport testing center. Most of the Windows PCs in the lab have Practice Test software already installed. Ask one of the instructors for directions on how to use this Certiport testing software. After you have scored (at least) 900 on the Practice Test, you will be qualified to take the actual Adobe Illustrator ACA Exam (which is provided for you by Pinellas Technical College). After you pass this Certification tell one of the instructors so that they can print out your certificate.


Video Tutorials: Illustrator

Time Management is the Key!

These optional, but strongly recommended, resources for additional training will help clarify complex topics and greatly reduce the learning curve for building your fundamental skills. Definitely explore and utilize these helpful/educational resources between projects and before/after/outside of class. It’ll be some of the most productive homework you can do for your career!

Advice to the organized, wise students: Because there are many more hours of video tutorials than in-class viewing will feasibly permit, it is recommended that:

  1. Most in-depth viewing take place before/after/outside of class.
  2. Videos be selectively chosen/referred to for specific task/project relevance and skill level.
  3. Videos be treated as meaningful, scheduled “homework” necessary for realistic career growth.