September Desktop Calendar Download Posted on 01 Sep 16:01

Time to refresh your desktop again! This month I am bringing you paper airplanes! 

I wanted to share with you how easy it is to use your own quick illustrations in Illustrator by showing you what I did to make these airplanes. 

1) I drew these paper airplanes on a piece of white scrap paper at my desk with an ordinary black pen. (Okay, full disclosure, I was really busy, so I asked my HUSBAND to draw some paper airplanes for me quickly while I hopped into the shower: MULTITASKING + DELEGATION!!) 

2) I took a picture of them with my iPhone. No scanning involved. (HINT: Tap the picture and you will see a yellow box with a sun. Tap and drag up to lighten your photo. Ideally your photo will be bright white and dark black.)

3) I texted the picture to myself because my computer receives my text messages, and I pulled the file into Illustrator. (I could have also emailed it to myself.)

4) In Illustrator, I performed an "Image Trace" (the Image Trace button appears at the top in your control panel whenever you have a photo selected). I used the Image Trace panel to adjust the threshold as necessary (the threshold controls what is black and what is white in your result). 

5) I clicked "EXPAND" (in the control panel). This made my image into editable Illustrator objects.

6) I used the magic wand tool to click any white parts of my image and deleted them so that I was only left with the black outlines of my airplanes.

Once all that was done, then my artwork became editable Illustrator objects. I ungrouped the planes, regrouped any disconnected pieces as necessary, and then I was able to move them around, change colors, etc!

If you are interested in using Illustrator to create illustrations, take my classes! 

Illustrator 100: Essentials: This will get you up and running in Illustrator. You can have zero experience or basic experience and come out pretty confident at the end! 

Illustrator 110: Patterns: This class required only basic Illustrator skills. You'll learn how to make perfectly repeatable patterns using your own artwork!

Illustrator 120: Paper: If you are interested in creating stationery or other printed materials, this is the class for you! I will bring you through printing basics and teach you how to format your files correctly.

Illustrator 210: Illustrating: Use Illustrator as a tool to create your own illustrations! This class is an overview of several illustration techniques that harness Illustrator's tools.

I hope to see you in class!

Written by: Alma Loveland

Alma is a designer who specializes in patterns, illusrations, and print design. Her work can be described as happy, modern, colorful. She loves Adobe Illustrator and has taught thousands of students to use and love the program as well.