The Learning Curve – A Reflection on Nearing the End of my Course

As I’m getting down to the last couple of months of the Graphic Design course, I’m having to look back on some of the projects I’ve completed over the last couple of years to put together a bit of a portfolio. It’s been really interesting to see the amount and range of work I’ve gotten through!

For some of my assignments I remember how excited and proud I was of getting them finished but now I look at them and think of all the things I could do to improve them – thats the learning curve I guess.

Then there are other projects – like the one I’ll get to below – that I wouldn’t even really know where to start to replicate them now. I’d have to go back over my notes and run through them step by step. I think that’s probably just because I’ve gravitated towards certain parts of design and am less drawn to others so I don’t utilise some particular tools. When I think about it though if I were to try and put together this fruit bowl now, I would be more familiar with the software tools and instead of it taking me three weeks to do, it might take me maybe a day. I guess that is progress.

The project I’m referring to is this one, the “Fruit Bowl”:

We had to draw a fruit bowl that contained four different fruits, using Adobe Illustrator.
I remember I wasn’t 100% happy with the pineapple, but all in all I was pretty stoked with myself that I’d managed to pull it together at all. I struggled so much at the beginning with using the software that everything took me about 10 times longer than it should to complete. I still prefer using pen and paper now, but I do admit I’m much better with the software than I used to be and it’ll only improve the more I use it.
When I’m getting through assignments now, it’s difficult to remember how much I’ve learnt over the last few years, so it’s good to go back and see how far I’ve come. Bring on graduation!! 🙂
If anyone’s interested I went through my old notes and these are some of the online tutorials I used to make the fruit bowl:



Using Basic Shapes in Illustrator – YouTube Link

AKA “I drew a magnifying glass!”


lol 🙂 just thought I’d share this mornings study session activity with you…

5 Tips for Drawing in Adobe Illustrator CS5 

This is just a short simple tutorial, but I really need to keep practicing my computer skills. I’m finding if I don’t use the things I learn often, then I forget them – which is not ideal.

Anyway, this week has been a crazy week and I’ve got one more day of training at work to get through until I get to the weekend! I’m hoping to get in a lot of study time this weekend – I really want to get moving on my course!

Have a great Friday, and let me know if you have any favourite Illustrator online tutorials?

Shape Making with Adobe Capture

I mentioned in my post about the Pop Art Cactuses that there was this random step in the tutorial about using the Adobe Capture app to create a shape. I had a little look at it at the time, but didn’t really do much with it because it didn’t seem to fit in with the tutorial and the instructions on using it weren’t very clear.

Since then I’ve been playing around with the app a bit and I think I’ve figured it out…

  • In the Adobe Capture app, tap ‘Shapes’ and ‘+’ to create a new shape.
  • Find something you want to make a shape out of… I found things with a higher contrast worked best.

Drink Bottle

  • The green lines around the object are the lines that will make up your shape.

Drink Bottle Simple Green Lines

  • You can get more detail in your shape by using the slider under the camera window.

Drink Bottle Detailed Green Lines

  • Next you can remove lines and things that don’t need to be part of your shape.

Remove Lines from Drink Bottle

  • The app will smooth the lines and will show you what your shape will look like.

Smooth Lines Drink Bottle

  • Save it to your library.

Save Drink Bottle

Pretty simple.

So far I don’t really have a need to make shapes, but it’s kinda fun 🙂

Pop Art Cactuses

Pop Art Cactuses

Pop Art Cactuses!

How funny, After last week saying I wanted to do more online tutorials to improve my skills in the Adobe Creative Suite, this week as part of the assignment I’m working on, I have to complete a couple of tutorials – win win 🙂

I went through the first tutorial last night and omg, what a frustrating experience! The final image worked out in the end – my very pretty Pop Art Cactuses – but it was a battle!

The tutorial I followed was ‘Make Pop Art’ and it was from the Adobe site, but even following their instructions my computer just didn’t do what it was supposed to!

My Blob Brush wouldn’t stay the colour I selected and kept turning back to black as soon as I started using it… I’ve had this problem before, usually when using Live Paint, but not when I’m using the paint brush… I eventually worked around this by colouring a small area with the black, using the selecting tool to select the painted section, and then changing the colour… the Blob Brush then stayed the colour I wanted… Weirdly though it showed that the ‘fill’ was empty, and it was the line colour I was painting with. No matter what I clicked on, it wouldn’t stay in the fill colour…

Next up, no matter what I clicked on or what keyboard shortcuts I used, the brush kept reverting back to 1pt. Again super frustrating and this meant it took quite a while to paint over my image.

Pink Cactus

Painting a cactus with a 1pt brush…

The tutorial was a little inconsistent in the level of direction it gave with some vague directions, and then really super step-by-step directions. There was also a pretty random step about the Adobe Capture app, but overall I think it was a pretty good tutorial and now I know how to make some simple Pop Art graphics 🙂

Pop Art Cactus

Pop Art Cactus 🙂

I’m not 100% happy with the colours in my final image (at the top of this post) – they could be more ‘Pop Arty’, but the tutorial had taken almost an hour and a half because of my computer issues (I think usually it should take about half an hour max) and it was waaaay past my bed time haha 🙂 I could have been there till midnight playing around with it, but I had to remind myself this was an exercise in learning computer skills and not a design project, so it was all ok lol

If anyone at all has any ideas what I might have been doing wrong, or why my computer seems set on making my life difficult, it would be really great to hear!

Learning Illustrator Warp Tools


You may have seen me mention one or two or, *ahem*, a hundred times how I seem to struggle a bit with getting the vision of the projects in my head to be replicated on the computer screen… The only way I’m going get better at creating the designs I envision is to get more practice at using the software. I know this, I just have to do it… So while I’m still moving along with my course study, I’m going to try and do more ‘self-directed’ study as well – focusing on my computer skills -I’m looking at you Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop!

I do tend to use Illustrator more than Photoshop, so I thought I’d have a look at that first and I honestly there are so many tutorials out there to choose from that alone almost drove me a little crazy, but I finally settled on this one:  Smashing Magazine Examples And Tips For Using Illustrator’s Warp Tools.

It was really great and easy to follow, and I managed to create the ‘beautiful’ image you see at the top of this post, lol 🙂 I could have played around with the tutorial for hours, and I think this plan of doing more self-directed study is definitely a good idea.

Do any of you have suggestions for other good Adobe Illustrator tutorials?