Spirograph on Steroids

dekePod Episode 005: This dekePod is all about Adobe Illustrator. Wait, wait, before you photographers and otherwise Photoshop-oriented folks turn away, let me assure you, this video dispels one of the great myths of Illustrator: That you have to be able to draw painfully precise curves with the pen tool to succeed. “Spirograph on Steroids” isn’t about drawing artwork, it’s about thinking artwork. Here’s the official marketing description:

In this episode, Deke makes the startling claim that Illustrator, a complex piece of software that costs hundreds of dollars, is better than an $8 Spirograph. Using nothing but half an ellipse and a few live, editable effects, Deke shows you how to construct something truly extraordinary. “Trust me on this one. Artist, non-artist, proficient with Illustrator, never even heard of the program — I don’t care if you live in Antarctica, you have no access to electricity, you haven’t seen sunlight in 45 days — oh my God, what are you, a penguin? — you’re gonna wanna watch this!”

Two benefits to this video: First, it’ll get you thinking outside the box. (I know, folks are always talkin’ “outside the box.” But I mean it quite literally. We use ellipses.) Second, you’ll learn the meaning of the word hypotrochoid. Math is incredibly sexy stuff.

Hey, you. In the mood for some high-res downloadable goodness? Try one of these links:

  • For a high-quality QuickTime movie, right-click here and choose Save Target or Download Link or the equivalent.
  • For an M4V file that you can play on an iPod, right-click here and choose one of those same commands.
  • Or you can subscribe to dekePod via RSS or iTunes.

You can also check out the page at my book publisher O’Reilly Media.

For way more information on Adobe Illustrator than you ever thought you’d want to know — until you know it, that is — check out my full Illustrator One-on-One series from lynda.com. They even got movies from Mordy Golding, whose command of Illustrator + the full Creative Suite is without equal. (No, that’s not my impression. That’s how it is.)

Oh, and wondering what CAYA MLMP BYOB means? Click here and scroll down.

Next entry:Top Five Reasons I Love the New dekePod Episode

Previous entry:Deke (& CW) at Photoshop World


  • Beziers Brought

    Amazing tutorial! I hate to think of how much tinkering that required on your part.

    Additionally, I’d like to add that the fast-pace of the tutorial was a nice change. I despise video tutorials that cover topics slower than my grandma divulging the contents of her pantry…

  • My brain has been fractal-ed

    now that I am outta the box, what do I do with all those parallelograms and quadrangles? Put them on Ebay?
    Is this the end of the golden meanie? Holy Iktinos and Kallikrates!

    Yeah , deke one-on-one Illustrator CS3

  • Childhood toys…

    Ah, the memories. I love how you also stand up for the rights of Lite Brite users, Deke.

    I assume you’ve seen my 3-part tutorial on achieving Lite Brite artwork masterpieces in Illustrator?




    Oh, and Legos too….


    Of course, Liquify, Envelope and Warp make for excellent demonstration of Silly Putty, and Live Trace creates wonderful Paint-by-Number illustrations. Fun fun fun!

    Mordy Golding


  • A New Illustrator Fan!

    I’m lovin’ these Dekepods, this one’s a reason in itself for me to learn Illustrator!
    Can’t wait for the one-on-one book to come out, as well as the Channels & Masks one for Photoshop.

    Good Job!

  • Great technique

    These podcasts are really inspiring - especially to an Illustrator veteran who somehow stopped learning the new capabilities when the first CS version came out. I’ve been thinking about a way to make live kaleidoscope effects in Illustrator without resorting to buying a plug-in - now I think I may know how to start.

    Do you know any useful tricks to make and manipulate compound 3d shapes in Illustrator? I used to be able to model basic stuff in Dimensions but I never get past primitives and revolved curves in Illustrator.

  • Spirograph on Steroids

    जीव अनुरज श्वसिहि मदेन ~ live love breathe with passion

    your videos are as crazy as hell_on second thoughts i wondered what if u were a film director_bloody hell the screen wd have been liquid-fired_ u rock yet again_gr8 stuff

  • Awesome!

    That effect looks really great. Makes me wish I had Illustrator, but alas I don’t.

    Is that something you came across accidently? If not, you’re insane for managing to work that out!

    Thanks for another great dekePod

  • It’s really great. i love

    It’s really great. i love this deke pod. and Beziers Brought yoiur idea is also good.

    music rehearsal space

  • It’s really great. your

    It’s really great. your spirographs are some of my favorites; did i tell you that i got one for N after your last spirograph post

    Thanks for another great dekePod


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