Illustrator One-on-One: Fundamentals, updated for Creative Cloud (Still Thriving for Earlier Versions)

On Friday, released the CC version of Deke's Illustrator One-on-One: Fundamentals course, which covers useful foundations for vector-based drawing in Illustrator from basic artboard management and interface navigation, to drawing with the line and shape tools, placing text, tracing line art, getting started with the pen tool, and more. 

Welcome to Illustrator One-on-One Fundamentals

If you're not a member of, you can get a free week trial at to check it out. If you're not a member of Creative Cloud, Deke's earlier titles---going back to CS3---are available from this playlist I created:

A playlist of Deke's Illustrator Fundamentals course for multiple versions

The Fundamentals course has all you need to feel like you might try one of Deke's free Illustrator-based Deke's Techniques as well. If you're new to Creative Cloud you may be thinking it's time to investigate something besides Photoshop for your creative endeavors.  Read more » 

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Friday Fundamentals: Tracing Rasterized Line Art in Illustrator

Today's Friday Fundamentals (still Friday here in Colorado, plus I get a bonus hour because I'm really a Californian) celebrates the release of Deke's updated Illustrator CC One-on-One: Fundamentals course. And because I'm in charge, I'm going to cover one of the first things I was ever interested in doing with Illustrator: tracing artwork. 

Tracing Line Art in Illustrator

Tracing is handy when you have a rasterized bit of art (i.e. art that's made out of pixels) that you'd like to turn into clean Illustrator vector-based goodness. Especially if redrawing in Illustrator is beyond the limits of your time, patience, or talent (as in my case). Speaking of my case, I was trying to duplicate a logo for a baseball league, which I inherited from a person who only left behind a tiny 150-pixel GIF file when his kids grew out of little league. In Chapter 6 of Deke's updated course, he uses an intricate butterfly he drew with Sharpie and paper, then scanned into a TIF file. The process is the same. 

Changing line art or other rasterized graphics into vectors has some advantages, as you can imagine. The biggest of these involves, well, making the biggest art. Like the giant laminated posters I was trying to plaster all over town to encourage baseball registration. Since vectors are mathematically defined, you can blow your graphics up as large as you like and keep all the beautiful smoothness your baseball bats, butterflies, or other beauties deserve. 

Here are the key things to know about tracing in Illustrator that I learned from Deke's course, which apply to CS6 (and really CS5 if you can get over the interface differences), as well:  Read more » 

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Friday Fundamentals: Cropping a Photo in Photoshop

Inspired by the release of the latest CC update to Deke's Photoshop One-on-One: Fundamentals course at and realizing Deke's has been covering the basics all the way back to CS3, I've decided to launch a new feature here at dekeOnline: Friday Fundamentals.

Unfortunately, today is Saturday. Well, actually it could technically be Sunday by the time I get this post up. But hey, if you're one of those healthy folk who unplug for the weekend, you won't even see this until Monday. So, I'm going to indulge my fatal love of aliteration and just stick with Friday. As far as you know, that's when I wrote it. Plus any day is really a good day to get your foundational bearings. Right?

So here's the idea, every Friday (or in this case faux-Friday), I'm going to take a dekeInfused look at some foundational feature of Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator. Because sometimes, as awesome as Deke's inspired techniques are, he's also great at teaching the basics. Stuff this info into the storage banks at the back of your mind so you can use the front of your mind for the wildly interesting stuff. And today's (OK, yesterday's, or possibly the day before's) topic is cropping a photo in Photoshop. 

Friday Fundamentals: The Crop Tool

Cropping a photograph gives you the opportunity to rethink your composition, hone in on what is important to you, remove distracting peripheral elements, change the angle, and generally, better tell the story you want your photograph to tell. Photoshop's Crop tool has changed for the better over the last few versions, and straightening has gone from a notorious secret handshake to a simple-to-use feature of the crop environment. Here are the fundamental things to know about this foundational feature: Read more » 

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I Have FInished "Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals"

Thursday, May 17th, marked the completion of my next video course for, Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals. It will include all sorts of exciting and monumentally educational live-action introductions (replete with graphic overlays) as well as scads of screen casts in which I demonstrate how the most elemental facets of this amazing program work. Not to mention how you work with it.

For example, in Chapter 6, "Tracing an Image" (in which I explore CS6's new Image Trace panel), I show you how to take a scanned Sharpie drawing of a half of an insect (how much more pedestrian could that be?) and turn it into the fully realized butterfly pictured below. Entirely auto-traced. And thus transformed from a murky quagmire of pixels to the resolution-independent vector-based realm of Illustrator CS6.

A butterfly drawn with a Sharpie, scanned, and traced in Adobe Illustrator Read more » 

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My In-Depth and Revamped Video Series, "Photoshop CS6 One-on-One," Begins

As of the posting of this article, you have 24 hours left to download the free public beta of Photoshop CS6. So if you haven't installed it yet, drop everything you're doing and start downloading!

To acquaint yourself with the new features, check out my free Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview course at

And if you're ready for the deep dive, check out Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals, the first in what will be a four-course video series on every single aspect of Photoshop CS6, presented in the order you need to learn it. This and other of my courses will appear every four to six weeks on Read more » 

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