I am often asked what the best order is for my Illustrator classes. Here is what I would suggest:
Illustrator 101 starts from absolute zero, so if you have no experience in Illustrator, this is the class for you! If you have some experience in Illustrator but aren’t completely comfortable with it, this is also the class for you. In fact, many students who have skipped this class have gone back to it after taking one of the other classes, realizing that they’re missing some of the basic knowledge that they should have of Illustrator. This class will get you up on your feet and running in Illustrator.
Both these classes are on about the same level. Take one or both!
Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think anyone should skip Making a Pattern! Making a Pattern will teach you to, well, make perfectly repeating patterns, and why wouldn’t you want to know how to do that? I teach simple repeats, geometrics, random repeats, and more complicated and symmetrical repeats like damasks.
Pretty Paper Products will teach you about formatting for print, about using templates provided by printers, and best tips and practices for business cards. You’ll also learn to create tabs, which are very applicable if you work a lot with calendars. If you’re even slightly interested in making calendars in Illustrator, take this class because it will save you time and frustration.
With both these classes, I add tips and techniques that I commonly use in Illustrator along the way that aren’t directly related to patterns or paper, but that are related to my everyday workflow in Illustrator.
Now is a good time to take 102! This is a great class to take after you are feeling pretty confident in Illustrator and need to take your skills to the next level. I created this course based on comments from experienced designers watching me work in Illustrator and saying, “I had no idea you could do that!” So I highly recommend this class to anyone who has any experience in Illustrator, even if they feel very confident in the program. This course is packed with intermediate-to-advanced tips, tricks and techniques, many of which I discovered after years of working in Illustrator.
Take either or both of these courses after 102.
Ornaments and Embellishments is a fun one! Although it is a mini course, after we released it, we realized that maybe I went a little overboard, so students have an extra week to complete this course. I created it at the same time as 102, and there is some overlap between the two courses, but I was pretty conscious about minimizing it. Specifically, both courses spend a significant amount of time covering the development of pattern brushes, with start tiles and corner tiles. Beyond that, in this course, you can also expect to learn several techniques for making pretty things. The artwork is unapologetically feminine. But where else are you going to learn 7 different ways to make flowers in Illustrator? Also covered are borders, frames, brushes, textures and more!
Illustrator: Illustrating teaches you how to actually use Illustrator to create illustrations. I cover several different styles and techniques, discuss tablets and give recommendations on what to use, and help you to find the method of illustration that fits best with your own style. You should feel pretty confident with the pen tool before taking this class.
My Illustrator classes above cover HOW to use Illustrator. You will be investing a lot of time into learning the technical side of the program. The courses below will help you to improve the design of your work:
TYPOGRAPHY: Melanie Burk teaches this fantastic course, and if you’re serious about design you should be taking the course.
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD DESIGN: Not sure what makes a good design, or unsure of why yours are falling flat compared to what you’re seeing around you? Learn what works and why in this course.
DESIGNING FOR WEB: Another great course by Melanie, you’ll learn how to apply your designs to web design. There are some different rules, and a LOT of things you need to know.
CREATING AN IDENTITY: One of the most important uses of Illustrator is to create vector graphics for logos and branding. Knowing Illustrator gets you part of the way there, but learn how to craft a brand identity in this course by Melanie Burk.
BE A SUCCESSFUL ARTIST: Who says that artists can’t make a living? I teach this class with Melanie and we cover all the essential things you need to know to pursuing your creative passion and making money at it.