May 2016: Color in Illustrator

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This month’s newsletter is all about color in Adobe Illustrator, and the resources you can find throughout illustratoring, to help you with creating, selecting and using color!

I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite videos, tips, tutorials and classes. For access to the classes, just subscribe to our email list and we’ll send it to you right away!

Most of these resources are open for access without a password, so let’s get started!

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RGB vs. CMYK

The video above is from my Beginning Illustrator class. In 4 minutes I explain the difference between RGB and CMYK colors. For those who are interested in printing their Illustrator artwork, I also mention the Proof Colors feature in Illustrator, which is great for getting an on-screen approximation of how your colors may print.

However, there’s no substitute for having a printed reference of your colors. You can’t trust that what you see on your monitor will print well. For home inkjet printing, use the RGB mode and run tests on your printer to develop a palette of colors that work well on your printer.

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using the swatches panel

Check out Lesson 3 from Beginning Illustrator Module 2, for a thorough demonstration of how to use the Illustrator Swatches Panel.

In 14 minutes, you’ll learn everything you need to get started using color in Illustrator: multiple methods for creating color swatches, Global Swatches, and creating custom libraries of color to save for use in any Illustrator document. This is part of a larger, password protected class; just subscribe to our email list and we’ll send you the password.

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adobe color cc

Adobe Color CC (formerly known as “Kuler”) is an online Adobe color resource for creating and saving color palettes that is integrated into Illustrator. With Adobe Color CC, you can create 5-color “themes” in a web browser and import them into the desktop application.

You can also use the Adobe mobile app Capture CC to create color themes. Learn the how-to in this quick Adobe tutorial.

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Pantone webinar

When I’m working on a project that will be printed, I use the Pantone Color Bridge Guide (coated) to choose the CMYK colors I use in my illustrations. Using the Pantone system allows you to communicate with clients and choose colors that will work well in commercial 4-color process printing.

If you are looking to get started using Pantone, check out the webinar recording above. It’s about 40 minutes in length, it’s free and available without a password.

Here are a few Pantone tips I talk about in the webinar:

  • I recommend using the Pantone Color Bridge Guide because it’s less expensive than most Pantone books, which makes it a great “starter” book, and it’s still the one I use the most!
  • The left column of the Bridge Guide contains Solid (also known as Spot) colors. In the right column are the closest CMYK equivalents, with formulas. I mainly work from the right column.
  • I describe the difference between Solid and CMYK colors.
  • Swatches for these Bridge colors are located in the Illustrator Color Panel. Go to the Libraries button, choose Color Books, and then Pantone+ Bridge Coated.
  • I tell my own story of the time I wish I had used a Pantone book!

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eyedropper color

This is one of my favorite hidden tricks that I use all the time in Illustrator, to capture color from photos (or any pixel-based image). Just hold shift when using the Eyedropper tool. For more information, click the link above.

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swatch savvy

Where does Illustrator store your saved swatch libraries on your system? Find out here.

Need a time-saving Global Swatch shortcut? Click here.

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Watch the quick video above for an overview of my Recolor Artwork CC class on TrainSimple.com. Recolor Artwork is a great Illustrator feature that allows you to easily modify and create new color palettes for your Illustrator art, and this class teaches you everything you need to know in 1 hour.

Speaking of Train Simple, I now have 8 Illustrator classes available there. I created a new Train Simple page here on illustratoring, to view the titles as a list, with links that take you directly to the class on TrainSimple’s site, complete with intro videos.

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.

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welcome to illustratoring

If you are not a subscriber yet, we offer a monthly newsletter as well as the password for our own library of 7 high quality illustrator classes here on illustratoring. You can subscribe here.

You get to decide if the video classes are the ones you need. Once you decide, we ask that you make a contribution to keep the library open by making an annual donation for 2016. We suggest $12 a year, but we are appreciative of any and all donations! We think it’s a bargain for a resource you can revisit whenever you need to “brush up” on your Illustrator skills.

Thank you to all who have donated this year; it lets us know you value the class library, and we are so grateful for your support! Our subscribership is growing faster than ever, and with it comes more expenses, so we are appreciating your donations more than ever!

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in other news…

Laura let April slide by without a newsletter (sorry!), so she decided to make this one extra-hearty, with a few more tips than usual – we hope you like it! She’s been making a few subtle changes to the site and to the Vimeo pages that host our class videos, with the intention of making things a little easier to navigate and find what you need.

On the theme of color, we’re thinking about purple, watching lots of beautiful footage of Prince and missing him even more.

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