Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Class Review & A Very Special Printable

Important Announcement: Home Again Jog will be going offline in the middle of October. This printable is now available on Heather B design on the right under "Freebies" Thank you! H.

I am made this poster for my daughter, using techniques I learned in the classes.

Hello Everyone!

First of all, I made another printable to share. As some of you know, we're almost finished with Lucie's room. I wanted to make her a quote for her wall. She's fast approaching her teen years and I wanted something to help remind her, in the midst of all of the pressure to be pretty, to focus on who you are, not just what you look like. So here's a quote from Audrey Hepburn that I hope will help keep that in mind. The one I'm making for Lu is 18" x 24" but I made one for you that is 8" x 10." You can get it here and over on the right under "Freebies." Enjoy!

Now, onto the review!

I just finished two fabulous classes with Nicole's Classes. One was Illustrator - Making a Pattern and the other was Illustrator - Ornaments & Embellishments. *Funny aside, when I told Hun that I had signed up for the classes he was a little annoyed. He said "You don't really sew and why would you want to take a whole class on making ornaments?" He thought that it was sewing patterns and Christmas tree ornaments...*

This is Alma's site where she features
her amazing work. Have a look!
Anyway, these classes are fabulous! They are taught by the uber-talented Alma Loveland who is an Illustrator guru. Both classes are just packed with information and both could be subtitled "Easy Ways to be Awesome at Illustrator" because she shows you so many simple ways to accomplish really cool effects. I have been working with Illustrator for about thirteen years now but I spent a large portion of time saying "WOW! You can do that?!?!" *record scratch* "Hey wait, you can do that? I can't believe I didn't know you could do that! I can't believe how many hours I've spent doing that the long way!" (I think it's best to just get off that thought train right there - no need to tally the hours spent doing stuff the hard way). It's truly amazing how there are shortcuts to making almost anything in Illustrator... Well, except for those "soul sucking" swirly flourishes that our instructor so graciously taught us despite hating them passionately ;-)

In the patterns class we learned how to make simple repeat patterns, random repeat patterns, geometric patterns like honeycomb, diagonal lines, wavy lines and squares, and the coup de grace, damask (this is mine). Alma shows you very precise methods for getting the repeats to work. Some of the patterns are not at all intuitive, like the honeycomb. So when she showed us how it was done, I couldn't believe how simple it was, but I realized that I never would have figured it out on my own. Nothing is quite as cool as working with a design, creating a swatch and having the pattern actually work! I kept celebrating... Hun was not quite as excited as I thought he should be when I showed him the damask. "You don't understand, I DID IT." "I see that." He'd say... I wanted him to clap at least, or something, geez.

In the ornaments class we learned how to make symmetrical objects and tons of different flowers (freehand, live trace, polar grid, etc..) She showed us how to create all of the different brushes, including the pattern brush with the start, end, and both corners (yes, there are two). She opened our eyes to the wonders of the Appearance Panel and how to use it to create graphic styles. You know all of those cute frames that you see everywhere? This is the class where you learn how to make them. What you can do with the pattern brush alone will amaze you! The fancy border, the dotted border, and the flowers in the printable above are all made using the pattern brush. It looks like it takes forever but it's really quick!

Every class has materials that are incredibly useful. You can open all of the documents and see what she did to create all of the different things. She even gives you artwork to use if you don't want to make your own. Alma also critiques your work and is always available by email for questions.

There is one thing that is very important, you must have an understanding of Illustrator to take these classes!  Alma is really wonderful about explaining everything that she's doing, but you will get more out of the class if you don't have to learn the basics. They say this right in the class descriptions, DO NOT be tempted to ignore it. Sign up for Illustrator 101 first.

The only wish that I have is that the embellishment class had some written instructions. The pattern class does, and you can save it all to reference later. The shear volume of information (which is awesome!) does make it difficult to remember. I took lots of notes but the instructions for the patterns class are concise. If they ever make a textbook for these classes, I will buy it immediately!

I loved these classes and I recommend them highly! I am hooked on Nicole's Classes! I'm signed up for a bunch more and I can't wait to take them. The only downside is that now I really want Adobe CS5... hmmm... And I want to redesign this blog (again) ;-)

Oh, and since I didn't take Illustrator 101, I'm ordering their textbook so I can be ready for Illustrator 102 later this spring! Their textbooks are wonderful too!

See you tomorrow!


  1. Roger sounds like Rich.

    I think it's funny he thought you were taking a pattern making class - like I would teach! Cute!

  2. You Hun cracked me up! Your reviews are great, Heather! Very in-depth, and easy to follow, even for someone who doesn't understand illustrator AT ALL...like me!

  3. heather - you're beyond me. illustrator? i'm a teacher! but maybe someday - i'll never say never. and i'll certainly enjoy your work. the sign you made your daughter is beautiful! congratulations on your hard work and learning. i look forward to hearing about your next classes. joy to you!

  4. Heather, Amazing! Your artwork for Lucie is beautiful! You are learning and growing and.... wow! I may have to try Illustrator 101, because i have no idea.
    I'd love to hang out with you and chat xxx

  5. Thank you so much guys! Back at you Leah, if you're ever here I will have to find a way to get to you!


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