Saturday, October 07, 2006

Working in Illustrator

Lots of questions and posts on QuiltArt about using Adobe Illustrator or other illustration software for quilt design, so I thought I would share one way I use Illustrator.

This is a screenshot of my open Illustrator file as I was working on it. I wanted to create a drawing of a Douglas Fir cone and branch (I'll tell you why later). I wanted to get the structure and the details right, so I found some images of Doug Fir cones on the internet and saved the pictures. Then I placed them on my Illustrator artboard for reference. At this point I should tell you that if one wanted, they could put one of those photos on a background layer, create another layer to draw on and simply trace the photo. I did not want to reproduce any of these images, just wanted to be able to look at them as I worked. So the three images at the bottom are from internet sites, for reference. The image at the top is my drawing. When my drawing was finished I deleted the reference images.

I enlarged my drawing to the size I wanted it. (That's a great thing about Illustrator—it is a vector image that can be enlarged to whatever size you want with no loss of quality) I printed my drawing, then laid it face down on my lightbox and used it to trace parts of the cone onto the back of the fabric I had chosen for the cone. Then I could use my method for fusing to start creating the cone on a dark brown background fabric.

What this piece is for is still kind of a secret, but in a few days I'll show you the completed project.


  1. I used the layer and trace method when I made hats for a wall hanging except I use Coreldraw. It works great for those of us who are drawing-challenged.

  2. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Cool. I am getting Illstrator for my mac. Now I need a wacom tablet. Then you can come to my house and teach me these tricks!

  3. Terry,

    Saw the link here on QA and I have a question for you. If you could buy a product like AI with just fiberart quiltart needs addressed, what would it be important to you that it do, IOW what parts on AI are you not using? My brother works for HP ( I begged him to advocate for waterproof ink cartridges) and his SO is a semi-big shot at Adobe... I've been telling them the textile art, art quilt and hands-on multimedia artist market is being ignored and they are listening. I am gathering info from current users for them on what can go and what is needed that may not already be built in for these users.
    email me when you have time:

  4. Interesting post, Terry. How do you do the drawing, using the mouse?