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  • Hello minted community! I am *NEW* to the minted community and I just need some HELP. I am very creative and have always loved design...I have mainly worked on design layouts and am not very experienced at designing and drawing my own illustrations. Just a few questions for those who are willing to help me out...

    1. How did you LEARN to do your own illustrations?

    2. Do most of you use Illustrator and just freehand it with your mouse or are there other techniques i'm not familiar with? I know there is probably a TON I don't know how to do in Illustrator...i've tried several times to draw and make illustrations, but looking at some of your work it blows my mind how you could draw with such intricate detail simply using your mouse? You guys are amazing!

    3. What other pieces of advice/knowledge could you give a beginner who wants to start learning to draw their own illustrations. Anything would be fabulous!

    Thanks so much! You're all amazing and I hope that one day I can match my skill with my imagination!

  • Hi Jessica,

    Welcome to minted ! This is a great community where people are always supportive and kind, so you will love it here. As for your questions, I did not go to art or design school, I learned everything I know by myself. Every time I had an idea and I wanted to draw or design something I don't know how, I just google it and watch tutorials online. For the drawing part, I have always been doodling since little in my notebooks, so nowadays I just doodle on paper and scan them in my printer. Then you open it in your illustrator file and from then on you can draw over it with your pen tool, or use it as is. I always use the pen tool, it's my best friend. My laptop has a trackpad, so I don't use a mouse. I don't know if it's more difficult with a mouse cause I have never tried it. There are also tablets you can use to draw straight to your computer. There are allot of topics, tips and tricks  on the forum about designing, so maybe you can look there too. The most important advice is to practice allot. Just watch tutorials and practice allot. Ooh and have fun :)

    Hope this helps,

    Good luck.


  • Giselle!

    Thanks you SOOO much for answering my question! I can already tell I'm going to love the minted community! That helps a ton. I, also, have been doodeling since I was young and I love to draw...I guess I just need a little more practice of "drawing on the computer"! Thanks for your advice and I will definitely check out the tutorials and advice on the forums! Thanks again so much! Smile



  • Hi and welcome Jess! I am fairly new to Minted as well (one month) and am about to participate in my third challenge.

    I am definitely in the same boat as you. By day I do mostly layout type work and nothing AS creative as what these challenges are. I feel like my designs have come a long way in the short few weeks that I have been participating. When I have free time I've been googling. Google is your friend. If you want to figure out how to do something in Illustrator google it. There are a ton of tutorials out there. I've learned how to do things in Illustrator that I wasn't even aware of!!

    As far as drawing. Use your doodles...maybe something will come out of them without you even realizing it. In the latest challenge I submitted a hand-lettering design, which is way out of my comfort zone. For that, I first drew it on paper then scanned it in and lived traced it. Once I had the paths I tweaked it from there. I'm hoping to get a Wacom tablet soon though!

    Seeing everyone's designs on here has really pushed me to be better. I look back at my designs from my first challenge and if I were redoing them now I could make them ten times better. I'm not very competitive but it really drives me!! I told myself I would take a week "off" before I started submitted designs for the current challenge, but I've already started sketching ideas and will probably start working on designs tonight.

    Good luck and have fun! It does become a little addicting ;)

  • Welcome, Jessica! Ditto on the wonderful help that Giselle and Rachel offered : ) Adobe has the online magazine, Layers, http://layersmagazine.com/category/illustrator which offers great tutorials on how to achieve certain Illustrator looks. Or Lynda.com is an excellent teaching tool if you want clear, step by step instructions on any program.

    I've always enjoyed drawing and sketching, so I still do most of my work by drawing the concept on paper, scanning it, then either working on it in Photoshop, or placing it in Illustrator to trace it. I like to play with the Photoshop filters (especially stamp) to change my drawing.

    Illustrator has the Live Trace Tool (under Objects on the top menu bar), which is a  great tracing tool that turns black and white tiffs into vector outlines. I would encourage you to just experiment and have fun as you learn.

    Here is a link to a previous post that has a few helpful Illustrator links in it: http://www.minted.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=694&page=1#Item_12

    Happy illustrating! : )

  • Welcome to Minted and thanks for starting this discussion, Jessica - I sure could use these tips, as well!!

  • Jessica, welcome! I'd recommend using tracing paper for illustration. You can easily edit by tracing over parts you like etc. and when I scan illustrations or lettering in the computer the smoothness of the trace keeps my line art looking nicer. I use live-trace (the lettering filter) a ton for Minted stuff. Jen is right...just keep practicing and you'll grow and find the best method for you.

  • Welcome Jessica!

    I just spent forever looking at those old forum discussion--team illustrator vs. team indesign cracked me up! I think I'd be the cheer leader for team Photoshop if that was still an option. Does anyone else use photoshop for illustrating?

  • Nice to meet you, Jessica!  Thanks for posting this. I too am new to entering Minted challenges (although I've been "watching" the site for a while!..does that sound creepy? I hope not...)

    @Moglea thanks for the tip about the tracing paper! I will have to try that.

    I am in the market for a new scanner, and I wondered if anyone has one they would recommend? I'm not looking for anything too fancy...aka pricey...


  • oops! I just saw on another post that your name is actually Meg :)  So sorry Meg!

  • ha! No worries! It's hard to figure out everybody's name on here! Glad i could be helpful. I don't think you need to spend much money on a scanner...unless anybody on here has amazing experiences with expensive scanners. I just use the scanner from my all-in-one printer/fax/copier.

  • Hi and welcome Jess! I am fairly new to Minted as well (one month) and am about to participate in my third challenge.



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