Brushes 101

How to make a symbol + spray paint tool

Symbols and modify symbols

Images below taken from Behance


Adobe: How to create an art brush

Free Brush downloads

Basic Image Effects

blob brush


Brush tool help: Adobe


Excellent vector hair tutorial


Another hair tutorial




Gradient tool, panel + color stops

Check out the new gradient annotator and free form gradient tools.

Adobe gradients help

Another good one + adding to the swatches panel.

Additional video  – 4 min.

Gradient mesh (more advanced)

gradient mesh how to

Gradient MESH

Adobe gradient mesh


Excellent branding campaign focused on simple shapes + gradients


Collective Futures

Family of Characters

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Selfie Family 

Lovely Ladies

“Demain” – Children’s Book

Aviva Short Stories

ETSY.COM: Family Portrait

Adobe Illustrator is for illustrators.. In this project, communicate your “illustrative style” by starting from a blank document and using the pen tool, in addition to others, building a cohesive character design. This character design should be seen as a creative illustration – one that could later be used in a children’s book, to print and frame as a gift, to later animate, the possibilities are endless!


Project Requirements: Sketch and develop character designs for 4-6 people in a setting of your choice. (Could include animals!)

Include details that make the character “human” – accessories, facial expressions, texture, color, etc.

Technical requirements: show skill with the pen tool, composition, color design

There is alot of creativity within the style of illustration – I am open and excited about your ideas!

Size: 8 1/2 x 11″

Monday, Aug. 26: Introductions

Hello and welcome to Illustrator 2!

Happy first day of the Fall 2019 semester… Today we will go over the syllabus, our proposed projects, options for online tutorials and basic Illustrator technical questions. Please be sure to look at our syllabus, which you can find here .

Please stay posted as I design our class blog. Follow along and log on from home to access assignments, due dates and links to inspiring designers.

This class will meet from 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on Mondays. It is very important that you keep up with your projects as well as participate in our Design Critiques – not only for the benefit of your grade, but for your greater benefit towards becoming professional graphic designers!

I’m looking forward to a great semester!

Best, Prof. Hopkins


Course Description: This advanced course will give essential skills in vector graphics through the Illustrator program, covering a range of projects and creative explorations. Emphasis will be placed on creative problem solving, the pen tool, shape building, pattern creation and typographic experimentation.

  1. Family of Characters – a warm up project to get re-acquainted with the Illustrator tools and toolbar.                                                                                                  From Sketch to Vector + Character Design
  2. History of Poster Design – Inspired by the current Norton Movie poster exhibit – we will take a field trip, explore historical ideas of typography, discuss the “anatomy of poster design” and research an “old movie”.

3. Putting Things in Perspective: Vector Landscapes

Perspective tool, advanced image tracing, advanced color + gradients

5. Poster Project Politics/Issues: Maximal vs, Minimal (or Package Design – TBA) 


Homework for next week:

  1. Start sketching your “family”!
  2. Start thinking about projects!


P.S.: NO CLASS NEXT MONDAY: LABOR DAY – see you Sept. 9.




Music Illustration Poster Design

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It’s our last project… Let’s make it great!

Adobe Illustrator is for illustrators.. In this project, you need to communicate your “illustrative style” by starting from a blank document and using the pen tool, in addition to others, building a cohesive poster design for your favorite band. The poster illustration should be seen as an illustrative ad, marketing a particular performance/location.

Once you decide on your band, I’d like you to come up with three different concepts in your sketchbook and we will talk through your ideas to sift through the most successful visual illustration. Your aesthetic direction is very important in this project!

Saul Bass: Master Graphic Artist

Charley Harper: Graphic Artist and Illustrator

50 Amazing Poster Designs

Music Festival Branding Campaign

Typography + Music Illustration

Music Icons

House of Blues

Fort Lauderdale Designers: Iron Forge Press


Choosing a band of your choice, design an illustrative advertising poster combining all of your acquired technical skills so far: THE PEN TOOL, image trace, pattern making, typography, shape builder, the blob tool, recolor artwork, layer/file management, etc. Is an “effect” something you would like to try?

Design elements to consider: Composition, basic principles of design (Repetition and Rhythm , Scale and Proportion, Directional Force, Balance, Emphasis, Contrast), Typography, Color Theory.

Let’s work BIG: 13 x 19″ – 18×24″

Books to reference: (I will bring in)

Masters of Poster Design

Gig Posters

1000 Posters from Toulouse-Latrec to Sagmeister

Naive: Modernism and Folklore in Contemporary Graphic Design






Link to Just Like Being There – documentary on Gig Posters (watch it! On Netflix)


DUE: WEDNESDAY, April 24 (last class)

Final Portfolio Requirement

Hey there. It’s the end of the semester, we made it!

Requirements for Final Portfolio Day: Wednesday, April 24

BEGINNING OF CLASS CRITIQUE  on your Music Illustration Poster AND hand in of your final portfolio files.

No exceptions. No time to save files. Walk in, on time… be ready or points will be deducted from your final portfolio grade for lack of professionalism. (10 points will be deducted for failure to meet this beginning of class deadline)

Final Portfolio Requirements: (This counts as your Final Exam)

Upload a folder of your project to the Macserver (Labeled with your Name)

Design Projects :

Please label them as follows with your initials: i.e. “KMHAnimalTotem.pdf”

  1. (Initials)AnimalTotem.pdf
  2. (Initials)Infographic.pdf
  3. (Initials)PatternCollection.pdf
  4. (Initials)MusicIllustration.pdf
  5. (Initials)DesignerStatement.docx

Design Statement:

1-2 page designer statement answering the following questions in paragraph format: 

What did you learn this semester? (Technical + conceptual)

How is your view of Illustrator different after taking this class?

Which projects did you enjoy the most/the least?

Is there anything specific that you would have liked to have gone over?

How can you improve your design skills for the future?

How can I improve Do you use it?

Anything else you would like to tell me?

Also – if you have edited your projects at all, please tell me what you did to fix/change your design in your designer statement. 


Calendar update

Wednesday, March 13: Last lab day for Infographic. Intro to Pattern Design

Wednesday, March 20: CRITIQUE for Infographic + Start Pattern Design

Wednesday, March 27: Pattern Project Lab Day

Wednesday, April 3: Pattern Project lab day + Intro to Music Poster

Wednesday, April 10: Critique on Pattern Project + Start Music Poster

Wednesday, April 17: Lab Day Music Poster

Wednesday, April 24: FINAL CRIT and portfolio due. LAST CLASS