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Part: Two Working with Shapes > Creating Lines and Shapes

Chapter 5. Creating Lines and Shapes

Heaven help the experienced artist who encounters Illustrator for the first time. If you've drawn with pencil and paper, or sketched inside a painting program such as Photoshop, but you've never used Illustrator before, now is a good time to open your skull, remove your brain, and replace it upside down. Drawing with an illustration program is a very different adventure, and though it pains me to say it, your previous experience is as likely to impede your progress as to expedite it.

Drawing in Illustrator is actually a three-part process: You draw lines and shapes, you manipulate these objects and apply special effects, and you stack the objects one in front of another like pieces of paper in a collage.

This means the lines and shapes are forever flexible. You can select any object and edit, duplicate, or delete it, regardless of its age or location in the illustration. Pencil and paper do not give you this degree of control.

But Illustrator's flexibility comes at a price. It takes a lot of time and a fair amount of object-oriented savvy to create even basic compositions. There are no two ways about it—Illustrator is harder to learn and more cumbersome to use than conventional artists' tools.

In this chapter, I'll explain how to use Illustrator's most straightforward drawing tools. If you're feeling a little timid—particularly after this pessimistic introduction—have no fear. With this chapter in front of you, you'll be up and running within the hour. If you're the type who prefers to dive right in and investigate basic functions on your own, you can discover how these tools work, largely without my help. For you, this chapter explains options, suggests keyboard tricks, and points out small performance details that many novice and intermediate users overlook.

But before we start, let's look at how lines and shapes work inside Illustrator. You'll better understand how drawing tools work if you first understand what you're drawing.



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