Day 2: Getting Started in Illustrator

If you haven’t gotten your Illustrator, you can download the 30 days trial from Adobe’s download page. After installing, we will run Illustrator for the first time.

Create New Document

Go File>New Document to create your first document. Type in a Name for the document and click Advanced to select RGB for Color Mode as we will be working for the screen. Click Ok after that.

New document

Illustrator Workspace

Below is the workspace and some common terms for calling it. If you are using the latest Adobe Illustrator CS3, you will notice to new design for Floating Palette. The rest looks about the same.

illustrator interface


This is the handy toolbox which we will use most often. By default, it comes in one single column as shown in the screenshot above. To switch it back to the old 2 columns toolbox, you can simply click the top left mini arrow to toggle it into 2 columns. Some of the tools like Rectangle have more tools hidden. To expand, just click and hold the icon to reveal all the similar tools under that group.

illustrator toolbox

Floating Palette

This is the floating palette which contains properties for our shapes. It is commonly used for changing colors and stroke width.

illustrator floating palette

Saving AI Files

Let’s select the type and click on the artboard and type some text. After that go to File>Save. Select Adobe Illustrator(*.AI) for file type and name it “First Drawing”. Click Ok after that. Leave the rest of the settings at default. You have successfully save your first file. To make any more changes you can simply open the Adobe Illustrator file.

illustrator rocks

Next Lesson: Drawing Basic Shapes
Back to Illustrator Training Course

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About The Author: Tony Soh

Hi. I'm the founder of Vector Diary. Illustrator is my passion and I have written numerous tutorials on illustrator helping people learn illustrator. My most popular tutorial on learn illustrator has been a hit. It makes learning illustrator so easy and has benefited more than 20,000 people worldwide. Also, I've revealed some of my secret techniques in the premium tutorials. So don't forget to check it out!

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  1. Gravtar for Rubske
    Rubske July 15th


    Im from netherland. I go on vacation friday. The lessons stays on this site? I hope so 🙂

    Please send a answer to:

  2. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary July 15th

    Don’t worry. It will be around. Enjoy your vacation!

  3. Gravtar for Cristian M
    Cristian M July 25th

    Thank you so so so much for this tutorial!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Gravtar for Klaus
    Klaus July 27th

    I’m from Brazil and work with advertising.
    Tks for this tutorial.
    Internet is rich with people like you
    who wants do share.
    I found the site on Delicious.
    Good job.

  5. Gravtar for Alfredo
    Alfredo August 20th

    Thank you so much for this!!!! I love it =D

  6. Gravtar for Jaikumar
    Jaikumar September 9th

    Its really good

  7. Gravtar for Erika
    Erika September 25th

    I used freehand before, but since I had a new job, I need to learn this software

    n ur tutorial is really helpful, thx 🙂

  8. Gravtar for gibori
    gibori October 23rd

    Hola este tutorial es muy bueno y quiero agradecer, ya que me ha servido de mucho en mi trabajo diario.

    Gracias y Saludos a todos.

  9. Gravtar for Trish Perry
    Trish Perry November 1st

    I am trying to learn illustrator cs3 after using adobe photoshopX2 for years is there anything that can translate how to from photoshop to illustrator? I am lost with out my color palet and how it changes colors so easily. I am even having trouble getting my first page setup. How do you add new layers and rasters?

  10. Gravtar for o m g
    o m g January 30th

    omg this is soooo cool devon

  11. Gravtar for Tissaka Senarath
    Tissaka Senarath February 28th

    Thank you very much for this tutorial. It really helped. I really wanted to learn Ai. Thank you once again.


  12. Gravtar for Riyaz
    Riyaz March 5th

    I am join the class 2day i think am a export in illustrator after 30 days thank you very much this sit totorial bilder

  13. Gravtar for faisal
    faisal March 24th

    plz give me a setup of latest version of adobe illustrator PLZ PLZ PLZ

  14. Gravtar for Cisse
    Cisse March 28th

    May I kindly ask you how I can keep track of my objects similar to the old fireworks. I develop mostly for web, and I want the x and y positions of my objects, even adjusting them without having to move by them by mouse.

  15. Gravtar for OMAR
    OMAR April 5th

    hola soy omar de colombia gracias por el tutorial esta buenisimo.
    me gustaris saber si puedo encontrar la pagina en español, por que me toca ver la pagina en version traducida y ahi cosas que no entiendo, les agradeceria mucho mas su gran colaboracion.

  16. Gravtar for mani
    mani April 28th

    hi i submited a request a couple of days ago i thougth i was gonna get emails from u everyday on video or something does it work like this?? thanks

  17. Gravtar for Kamna
    Kamna May 1st

    Thank you so much for this guideness.Its really helpful for me.

  18. Gravtar for Nancy Kashkoul
    Nancy Kashkoul May 23rd

    Thank you do much for this great web site.

  19. Gravtar for mohammed shahzad
    mohammed shahzad October 13th

    thanku very much sir tony soh i m anew user of illustrator thanks alot dear sir

  20. Gravtar for jufron
    jufron June 2nd

    good site… very helpful for me..

  21. Gravtar for moonxie
    moonxie June 15th

    Thanks so much for these great tutorials – I was originally planning to get a 600+ page book from barnes & noble, but your site makes illustrator so much more easier to learn.

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    SEO Pakistan September 18th

    So much easy to understand i am glad that you are genious in delivering such great lectures

  23. Gravtar for RebojoLandscaper
    RebojoLandscaper October 1st

    I just do what is in your tutorial and it was great, i Learned that easy. For the long-time I used photoshop but now maybe i will go for Illustrator, and gonna make some vectorize images.

  24. Gravtar for MichaelV
    MichaelV November 29th

    Day 2: Still going through the basics – which is essential (and fine by me) – although some of those things on the toolbox don’t make a lot of sense to me at the moment. Hopefully things will become much clearer as I progress through the course. A bit nervous but excited too because I hate not being able to grasp something – especially when it’s being spelled out.

  25. Gravtar for Rommel
    Rommel March 25th

    I’m color blind,red and green deficient,is that a problem?

  26. Gravtar for farhan
    farhan July 10th

    hey sir plz send me basic of illustrator cs5 i m soo confused abt dis ?

  27. Gravtar for ulises
    ulises November 9th

    soy principiante y me gusta este programa voy a hecharle
    ganas quiero aprender para superarme pues ya soy adulto

  28. Gravtar for Ricky
    Ricky November 16th

    Thanks for these fantastic Illustrator tutorials – this will help me so much!

  29. Gravtar for Cheryl Anderson
    Cheryl Anderson May 13th

    I have Illustrator CS3. When I opened my first document, there is no Floating Palette. Can you tell me how to find it?

  30. Gravtar for Tania
    Tania July 2nd

    Jazak Allah:)

  31. Gravtar for ABDULLAH
    ABDULLAH September 11th


  32. Gravtar for AJ
    AJ April 2nd

    For some reason, my control panel looks different and I’m not sure how to get it to look like this. Is it the version of Illustrator I’m using? Its CS3. I’m trying to learn to change the stroke and fill color in control panel and CS3’s version doesn’t have it. No big deal; just wondering if there was any way to get it on control panel.

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    Myrtice Sulipizio April 22nd

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