I believe that one of the most important things as a designer is to keep honing your skills for as long as you’re at it. No way around it. If you want to stay in the race and have a chance against competitors you have to constantly get better at what you do, otherwise you’re going to be left behind, and that’s not where we want to be, is it?
One of those skills is knowing your software inside out. I know graphic/surface designers are mostly divided into 2 camps, on one side the Photoshop team, on the other the Illustrator one. But whatever your preference is you’re bound to have to jump to the other side every now and then!
I’m an Illustrator person all the way, vectors and anchor points are my best friends. All my designs are vector based, but I also use Photoshop on a weekly basis. I have been using Illustrator for 18 years and even then I constantly take new classes so I can get better at it (read, be the best on the planet!).
That’s why today I’m recommending a fabulous resource: Laura Coyle’s Illustrator classes. Laura is an illustrator with over 20 years experience so she knows her stuff. She has an amazing in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of Adobe Illustrator, so you’re in good hands. She’s such a good teacher, I love her style and clarity. Even with my many years of Illustrator experience, I’ve learned a fantastic amount of tips & tricks from her courses. She’ll take you by the hand and guide you all the way. Great for beginners, but also great for designers with experience as you’re bound to learn something new and time-saving.
Here’s a list of her courses (she doesn’t charge, but she has set up a ‘Pay What you Wish’ system where you can make a donation if you find the classes useful, and you will!):
No experience necessary! Great for beginners and those who need a comprehensive refresh with shortcuts and methods for making art in Illustrator.
Learn about Gradients, Patterns (pre CS6), Masking and Working with images, including Live Trace/Image Trace.
Swirl Shop: Illustrator Pen Tool
Create decorative frames & swirls and learn about the Pen Tool and editing paths in Illustrator.
Illustrator Pattern Power
The Illustrator CS6 & CC pattern feature taught in-depth, specifically for pattern designers.
Create automatically updating repeat patterns in Illustrator in pre-CS6 versions.
Holly Shop: How to Make Greeting Cards in Illustrator
Make 3 custom holiday cards, prepare them for print and build Illustrator skills.
Ink & Paint: Illustrator Brushes
Create Calligraphic Brushes in Illustrator and paint a floral design project.
Visit her Illustratoring.com website to start a new class, I promise you won’t regret it. And keep learning, it’s good for the brain and the soul!