January 2016: NYPL free downloads


On January 6th, 2016, The New York Public Library made over 187k digital items in the public domain available for high resolution download, including the image above. View this collection by artist E.A. Seguy as a book that you can flip through and download high res images from, free of usage restrictions. Learn more about the artist Seguy and this vibrant printing process, pochoir, here.

The New York Public Library has created a visualization tool to help patrons explore the massive collection of photographs, prints, menus, maps and documents available for download, it’s worth a look!

Feeling inspired? Our Pattern Power class is a great place to learn about creating seamless repeat pattern fills in Illustrator. This class is password-protected, just subscribe to our email list and we’ll send it to you right away!


image trace

If you’re still feeling inspired, why not experiment with some of the image downloads from the NYPL digital collection? These images are perfect for Illustrator’s Image Trace feature. Above, you can see the original image on the left, and the tracing on the right.

In Illustrator CS6 and CC, just select an image on your artboard, go to the top control bar and click the Image Trace button. Illustrator automatically applies the default black and white trace, so click the Image Trace Panel button highlighted in the image above. Then choose the 6 Colors Preset and adjust by changing the number in the Colors field. More colors make the art more complex, but can also take in more detail in the final vector shapes, if that’s what you’re after.


To see the vector paths and shapes that will be created, change the View option in the top control bar to Tracing Result With Outlines. When you’re satisfied with your Image Trace settings, click the Expand button.


The final expanded artwork will be grouped, so ungroup it (command/control shift g). To change colors, use the Magic Wand Tool to select all paths filled with the same color at once. There’s more information about working with images in the class: Illustrator 2 Module 3.

To explore color even further, see my Recolor Artwork class on Train Simple. It’s an hour-long class on the amazing Recolor Artwork feature in Illustrator, that allows you to preview your art in an endless array of color combinations. Visit the link above for a quick video preview of what’s covered in class.
Speaking of Train Simple, did you know I now have 7 Illustrator CC classes available there? Here are the titles:

  • Illustratoring: An ongoing tutorial series (latest: The New Shaper Tool!)
  • Adobe Brush CC & Illustrator Art Brushes
  • Curvature Tool
  • Designing Type with Graphic Styles
  • Drawing and Coloring with Live paint
  • Recolor Artwork
  • Web Patterns

In addition to my classes, there are comprehensive classes on Illustrator and many other Adobe programs, all self-paced and available 24/7 for a monthly subscription price of $15.

My next class is Hands On with the Pen Tool, and it’s finally underway! I have the artwork designed and I’m in the process of writing the lessons now. I taught myself the Pen Tool many years ago with a lot of trial and error (long before online learning), and this is the class I wish I had then – efficient, yet in-depth with lots of opportunity for hands on practice.



This is my first newsletter in a couple of months, and since then we’ve increased our audience with hundreds of new subscribers! If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe here. You’ll receive our monthly newsletter and the password for our password-protected classes. I want to welcome all of you to illustratoring.com and our (usually) monthly newsletter! Happy New Year!
(above image: Fun with the NYPL Collection)


in other news…

John and I had the chance to catch up over Thanksgiving while visiting family in Gulf Shores, AL. It was lovely to have downtime for beach walks, cooking, and martini drinking. Our major accomplishments included a couple of Wysocki puzzles. We also hung out at a state park fishing pier, where the pelicans patiently pose for selfies, and seemed to take it all in stride.

We hope the holiday season gave you time to relax too. As always, we’re glad to have you with us in this teaching adventure. Happy 2016!

John continues keeping our Facebook page looking awesome, and I hope you’ve enjoyed his posts – I know I have!