I have a friend who does a bit of illustration, but all by hand. He is not familiar with Photoshop or Illustrator. He would like learn a bit of Illustrator, just enough to get by and vectorize some of his designs.

I imagine he would need to understand the basic tools first(rectangle/ellipse,pen tool, etc.) then learn some techniques, based on the type of drawing he'll trace by hand.

Could you please recommend a clear/concise tutorial/series of tutorials focusing on vectorisation techniques ?

The can be online articles, chapters in books, video tutorials, etc.


2 Answers 2


Here's one decent tutorial.

It is important for your friend to understand what "vectorization" actually is however because it's almost always better to go in the other direction, from vectors to raster images.

Rather than focusing on vectorization it's probably better for him to concentrate on simply drawing the image in Illustrator and using his sketches as a background guide to trace on top of.


I think this has been answered here, "How do I get started with Adobe Illustrator?"

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    Thanks for the link. I don't completely agree though. I am trying to avoid general Illustrator tutorials which cover a lot of material and just try to find tutorials on the tools & techniques needed for vectorization only. Apr 6, 2011 at 23:42
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    In other words, "I don't want to learn how to play the guitar, just this song"? It might help to list some specific tasks your "friend" is trying to accomplish. Apr 7, 2011 at 11:53
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    @GeorgeProfenza: @LaurenIpsum and @lawndartcatcher are both correct. It is not possible to learn "vectorization" (whatever that means) without learning how to use tools of Illustrator. Vector is what it does and "vectorization" is just a variation on that theme. All beginner tutorials should focus in the shape and pen tools (and if they don't go somewhere else), but the other tools added over the years have just as much relevance as those core tools because they only go so far in achieving a variety of effects. Apr 7, 2011 at 15:19
  • It makes sense. Obviously the end goal is to be fluent with all the tools, but to just tracing hand drawn scanned artwork, I imagine understanding LiveTrace, the Pen tool and a few other techniques could suffice, even with little or no knowledge of other tools like: Text Tool, Flare Tool, Graph Tools, etc. @lawndartcatcher It's a basic workflow: draw on paper, scan, trace/vectorize on top of the scan in illustrator. If the drawing is simple, maybe LiveTrace will do, otherwise Pen Tool should be fine. Hope this makes sense Apr 7, 2011 at 16:37

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