Illustrator grid

by Design Workshop Sydney

Using a grid to draw in Illustrator can be a useful way of creating stylized artwork, like the pencil shown here. We take you through the steps in our Adobe Illustrator courses.Illustrator-grid-2
First of all open a new document in Illustrator, from the File menu. Choose a paper size, for example A4. Then go to View > Show Grid. To change the grid spacing go to the Edit menu and choose Preferences (on a Mac go to Illustrator > Preferences), Guides & Grid – note that the Gridline Every is set to 25.4mm with 8 subdivisions by default. This is the equivalent of 1 inch, since Illustrator is an American program.
For Metric users, change Gridline Every to 10mm with Subdivisions: 2, and hit OK. Then go to View > Snap to Grid.
Next go to the Rectangle tool and create a vertical rectangle for the body of the pencil. You can adjust this with the Selection tool (black arrow). Note that the shape snaps to the prescribed grid lines. Create another rectangle inside – the yellow shape above.
Next we want to create the metal ferule at the top of the pencil which holds the eraser in place. Use the Rounded Rectangle tool to create one shape >; then copy it by pressing Alt (Mac: Option) and clicking and dragging it with the Selection tool.
Create another rounded rectangle for the eraser at the top. For the pencil point we use the Pen tool and click in three points. You can turn off the Snap to Grid function now (View menu) to create the graphite point. Adjust all the artwork with the Selection and Direct Selection tools.
Now we add fill colours and create a gradient blend for the metallic ferule colour. For the highlight on the eraser create a white ellipse then go to the Effect menu and chose Stylize, Feather to give the ellipse softer edge.
Use the Type tool to create some horizontal text. Then rotate the text box 90 degrees by double-clicking on the Rotate tool.
Lastly select all the pencil elements and right-click to choose Group. This will make it easier to rotate the whole object with the Selection tool. For the pencil line create a path with the Pen or Pencil tool, change the stroke to black and add None to the fill. Then open the Brushes panel and open the Options flyout menu. Choose Open Brush Library > Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil. Experiment with various brushes and adjust the line weight and colour of the stroke.
Then go to File > Save > (Adobe Illustrator file). Easy!
Whether you’re a complete beginner or self-taught, our courses will help you gain self-confidence in your Illustrator workflow, as well as adding to your professional skill-set. See many examples of our Illustrator clients’ work on our Facebook page.
Other related Illustrator Blog Posts:
Illustrator workspace
Illustrator basics
Illustrator clipping masks
Illustrator live trace
Illustrator brushes