I'm a complete novice and not very tech savvy but I'm interested in teaching myself how to create and design images in a vector based format.

What I need to do

I would like to get started with the basic concepts of vector drawing. I would also like to understand the difference between raster and vector images.

My questions

Where can I find a good explanation of vector and raster fundamentals, so that I can gain a better understanding of them and the terminology used to describe their concepts?

What resources/websites are the best starting point for a complete vector newbie?

What is the best way to start learning about vectors?

  • 1
    Please note that many of these things have already been addressed in other questions. For instance, the difference between vector and raster or learning Illustrator (which is a vector based software). The best thing to do is just do research, read books, Google it, whatever you need to do. Read tutorials, etc. I've voted to close this question due to its broadness.
    – Hanna
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 17:39

4 Answers 4

  • Practice with whatever vector app you settle on using (doesn't matter which).
  • Challenge yourself to create shapes with as few anchor points/nodes as possible.
  • Learn to think symmetrically when creating vector shapes. A circle needs 4 anchors, you shouldn't need more than 4 to create a circle.
  • Learn all drawing operational shortcuts for your vector app - join paths, split paths, merge paths, etc.

While primarily focusing on Adobe Illustrator, Sketchpad.net has some fantastic basic operational tutorials as opposed to "Make the latest trending thing" type of tutorials. These tutorials are designed to teach you vector and Illustrator drawing, not how to make anything specifically.

  1. Learn to draw.
    Beginning with drawing
    Learning to draw: start in the pen and paper realm or the digital space?

  2. Go to Vectortuts and do all their tutorials.

As for the difference between raster and vector read this
What are the differences between vector graphics and raster graphics?
Bottom line, rasters are pixel-based, vectors are path-based.


Vectors are resolution independent graphics - they are shapes that can be resized to any scale. This makes them very flexible for many different mediums and uses. Vectors are basically the sole purpose for a program like Adobe Illustrator.

Raster graphics have a fixed resolution meaning they have a maximum scaling value. Anything beyond that and their quality takes a dive (becomes pixelated, distorted). The best program for this is Photoshop, but Corel has a program too and there is the free Gimp as well. Anything created in Photoshop will automatically be a raster graphic because the document has a fixed resolution even if it contains vectors.

Photoshop does have growing vector capabilities but lacks a lot of the features Illustrator has for working with vectors. But for an aspiring vector master, Illustrator is probably the way to go.


Where can I find a good explanation of vector and raster fundamentals

Honestly, Wikipedia is an easy enough place to start.

Broadly speaking, raster = pixels; vector = mathematical lines

They're just two different ways to represent an image in code.

To get better and making vector illustrations, practice. Grab Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw or one of any number of vector based illustration tools and practice, practice, practice.

  • Wikipedia is awesome, but with some topics it's not that beginner-friendly.
    – Dom
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 15:16

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