Illustrator 10 For Dummies

"A Great Tutorial and Reference Book Written with a Dash of Humor!"

| Type of Product | User Level | Features |
| Product Analysis | Final Comments | System Requirements |
Type of Product

Title: Illustrator 10 For Dummies
Author: Ted Alspach and Barbara Obermeier
Publisher: Hungry Minds, Inc.
Book Web Site:
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 366
ISBN: 0-7645-3636-2
Price: $21.99

Illustrator 10 For Dummies, by Ted Alspach and Barbara Obermeier, covers Adobe's latest version of Illustrator, which is the industry-standard drawing tool for print and the Web. It covers the basics you need to know to use the program, as well as information on the new features. Since Illustrator 10 has 25+ palettes, 70+ tools, and scores of menu items, its sheer depth is enough to make the most hardened graphics expert a little queasy. So the book is written for those of you who might be intimidated by these powerful features. It should make your venture into Illustrator flexible and self-paced as each chapter is as self-contained as possible. You can hop in anywhere you want, with a minimum of flipping to other parts of the book to find out what you missed. If you want to find out more about the Pencil tool, for example, you can skip everything else and go directly to that chapter. Yet if you're determined to find out as much about the program as possible, you can read the book from cover to cover. The book is organized so that the chapters move from simple to more complex concepts. The early chapters make a good base for understanding the latter ones.

User Level
Beginning to advanced computer users. The book is great for beginners as it has step-by-step instructions on the major features of Illustrator 10. Yet it can be used as a reference manual for more advanced users who need information on new features or want a juicy brush-up course.

Features I like include:

  • Explanations in plain English;
  • Get in, get out information;
  • Icons and other navigational aids;
  • Tear-out cheat sheet;
  • Top ten lists;
  • A dash of humor and fun.
Product Analysis

How The Book Is Organized

Illustrator 10 For Dummies has five parts which are organized into 20 chapters. Each part reflects a major Illustrator concept which is divided into digestible segments.

Part I: Driving People Crazy--Illustrator's Bum Rap

Chapters 1 through 3 give you the absolute basics of Illustrator. What it is, what it does, and why it's worth the effort. The wonders of blank pages, paths, and the beguiling Pen tool all make their debut here.

  • Chapter 1: Introducing the World of Illustrator: From Humble Origins to Master of the Graphics Universe; Starting Up Illustrator and Revving It a Little; Exploring the Illustrator Workspace; Defining the Document Area; Opening Existing Documents; Viewing Illustrator Documents; Saving Illustrator Documents; Changing Your Mind; Printing Illustrator Documents; Closing Documents and Quitting Illustrator.
  • Chapter 2: Following the Righteous Path: Whether Paths or Pixels Are Better; How Paths and Pixels Compare; Paths and the PostScript Language; Gray's Anatomy of a Path; Drawing Basics.
  • Chapter 3: Doing Everyday Things with Illustrator: Picking Up Stuff and Moving It Around; Using the Fun Stuff; Entering the Wide World of the Web; Saving the World; Using Illustrator for What It Does Best.
Part II: Drawing and Coloring Your Artwork

Chapters 4 through 11 are the fun chapters. You roll up your sleeves and start creating illustrations.

  • Chapter 4: Shaping Up, Basically: Creating Basic Shapes; Putting Shapes Together; Creating Objects Using the Pathfinder Palette.
  • Chapter 5: Getting Your Fill of Fills and Strokes: Understanding Fill and Stroke; The Swatches Palette; The Color Palette; Filling with Patterns and Textures; Using the Gradient Fill.
  • Chapter 6: Selecting and Editing Paths: Selecting with Different Methods; Selecting Magically with the Magic Wand; Selecting Without Tools: The New Select Menu; Editing and Adjusting Points.
  • Chapter 7: Wielding the Mighty Pen Tool: Performing with the Pen, the Path, and the Anchor Points; Creating Straight Lines with the Pen Tool; Open and Closed Paths; Creating Super-Precise Curves with the Pen Tool; Drawing Shapes with the Pen Tool.
  • Chapter 8: Wielding the Versatile Pencil, Line Segment, and Arc Tools: Using the Pencil Tool as a Pencil; Cherishing the Multipurpose Pencil Tool; Using the Pen with the Pencil; Lines Made Quick and Easy; Getting Curvy with the New Arc Tool.
  • Chapter 9: Creating Magnificent Brushstrokes: Brushing Where No Stroke Has Gone Before; Creating a New Brush; Working with the Different Brush Types.
  • Chapter 10: Extreme Fills and Strokes: Messing Around with Meshes; Making Objects Partially Transparent and Blending Colors; Discovering How Strokes Work; Caps, Joins, and Dashes; The Effect Menu; Clipping Masks.
  • Chapter 11: Keeping Up Appearances, with Style(s): The Appearance Palette; Figuring Out Styles.
Part III: Taking Your Paths to Obedience School

Chapter 12 through 14 look at how to tame the mess of unleashed creativity through changing parts of graphics, organizing graphics into separate layers, and using many other techniques that prove that organization and creativity are not mutually exclusive.

  • Chapter 12: Pushing, Pulling, Poking, and Prodding: Understanding the Five Transformation Sisters; Additional Transformation Tidbits; Blending: The Magic Transformation.
  • Chapter 13: Taking Images Out of the Realm of Reality: Applying Simple Distortions; Creating Graphic Ooze with Live Distortions; Pushing the Envelope; Inflicting Warps without Harm.
  • Chapter 14: Organizing Efficiently: Stacking Illustrator Artwork; Managing the Mess; Imposing Slavish Conformity with Groups; Lining Up.

Part IV: Practically Speaking: Type, Print, and Files

Chapters 15 through 18 introduce you to the world of type and getting your creations to print. These chapters cover everything from the most basic formatting to complex type treatments, as well as how to post your art to the Web and how to move files in and out of Illustrator.

  • Chapter 15: Introducing Letters and Such (Type 101): Using the Word Processor from Outer Space; Introducing the Strange Land of Type; Exploring Size, Leading, and Other Mysterious Numbers; Adjusting Entire Paragraphs.
  • Chapter 16: Printing Your Masterpiece: Printing Quickly; What You See Is Roughly What You Get; Setting Up Your Page to Print (You Hope); Printing Mechanics; All About Way-Scary Separations.
  • Chapter 17: Putting Your Art on the Web: From Illustrator to the Web; Creating Web-Specific Pixel Graphics; Creating Web-Specific Vector Graphics; Legal Graffiti; Slicing and Dicing Your Graphics.
  • Chapter 18: Moving Files into and out of Illustrator: Bringing Files into Illustrator; Getting Files out of Illustrator; Working with Illustrator and Photoshop, Using Adobe Illustrator with Nearly Everything Else.
  Part V: The Part of Tens

Chapters 19 through 20 give you lots of tips to help you use Illustrator more effectively and ways to customize Illustrator.

  • Chapter 19: Ten Production-Enhancing Tips: Punching Holes; Whoa! Don't Use That Photoshop Filter!; When White Isn't Nothing; Expanding for Simplicity; Quick! Hide!; Taking a Tip from Illustrator; Changing Your Units Whenever You Want; Reusing Your Brushes, Swatches and Libraries; Avoiding Russian Dolls; Selecting Type When You Want.
  • Chapter 20: Ten (Or So) Ways to Customize Illustrator: Positioning Palettes; Changing the Items on the Menu; The Flexible Toolbox; The Start-up Document; Changing the Default Settings; Changing Hidden Commands You Never Knew About; Using a Master Document; Action Jackson; Sticky Settings.

Bonus Chapters: Advanced Typography & Killer Effects Tips
Final Comments
Illustrator 10 For Dummies is both a tutorial and a reference book. It is a very good book for beginners with its introduction to Illustrator, yet it's in-depth techniques makes it a good choice for users who want to polish up their skills or learn about the new features in Version 10. It's full of tips and is fun to read as it's written with a great sense of humor.
System Requirements

For running Adobe Illustrator 10 you need:


  • Intel Pentium II, III, or 4 processor
  • Microsoft Windows 98, 98 Special Edition, ME, 2000 with Service Pack 2, or Windows XP
  • 128 MB of RAM
  • 180 MB of available hard-disk space
  • For Adobe PostScript printers: Adobe PostScript Level 2 or Adobe PostScript 3
  • CD-ROM drive


  • Power PC processor: G3, G4 or G4 dual
  • Mac OS software version 9.1, 9.2 or Mac OS X version 10.0
  • 128 MB of RAM
  • 180 MB of available hard-disk space
  • CD-ROM drive
  • For Adobe PostScript printers: Adobe PostScript Level 2 or Adobe PostScript 3
Graphics: Adobe Photoshop 6.0
Web Page Design: Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0
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