Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Illustrator: Curves


To learn advanced Illustrator drawing techniques. To practice using Illustrator's pen tool by recreating the following logo by designer Jay Vigon:


Vector art is ideal for logos because it can be scaled to any size without loss of resolution (or "integrity"). This logo art has no straight lines in it. Part of its beauty lies in the smoothness of the curves (note that there are no "bumps"). Mastering the tools for drawing and controlling curves is a critical skill that can be applied to any vector drawing program.


prepping for the exercise

  1. download starter file
  2. open "" in Illustrator
  3. practice Illustrator's navigation shortcuts (download Illustrator keyboard shortcuts)
  4. inspect layers

creating the art in illustrator

  1. set stroke to black and fill to none
  2. choose the direct selection tool, then choose the pen tool
    (tip: the CMD key gives you the last accessed select tool)
  3. start tracing over the object (watch the mouse carefully)
  4. make adjustments (if necessary); swap fill & stroke
  5. select > objects > stray points; delete
  6. lock "art" layer
  7. new layer "type"
  8. draw circle, add type using the path type tool (Gill Sans Bold)
  9. drag I-beams to new location (direct select tool)
  10. hide appropriate layers, save

tips for working with type

  1. adjust tracking/kerning: opt+left arrow or opt+right arrow
  2. adjust size: cmd+shift+< or cmd+shift+>


  1. file > save as (format=PDF)
  2. delete unused art, convert type to outlines
  3. add your name and the exercise number to the file
  4. print a proof for grading
  5. file your graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 3/1/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young