Adobe Illustrator: My 5 Essential Adobe Illustrator Tools


By Miguel Villalobos

Adobe Illustrator is a popular software application that designers and artists use to create different variations of artwork. This program specializes in creating vector graphics and offers many different design tools that are great for creating things such as icons, logos and illustrations. The program can seem overwhelming for people who are just starting out, however, it does get easier over time. Throughout this piece, I will walk you through a few of my favorite tools in Illustrator that have helped me improve my workflow and skills. 

The Blend Tool

The first tool I want to talk about is the Blend Tool. This tool can be found by going to Object > Blend. This tool can help you create unique and interesting blends between multiple objects, and has different settings that allow you to customize your blends as you work. 

Below is an example of using Object > Blend > Make, while using the Smooth Color option. As you can see, it blends the shapes together and creates a gradient.

Here is an example of using the Blend Tool with letters, while changing the options from Smooth Color to Specified Steps. You can clarify how many steps you want between each shape. You can find this by going to Blend > Blend Options.

Smooth Tool

The next tool I want to talk about is the Smooth Tool. The Smooth Tool really lives up to its name. It helps you smooth out paths that may be a little more rough or wonky than you would prefer. It is great for helping sharpen up your attention to detail on different vector shapes. 

In this example, I created a shape with a few rough edges. By selecting the Smooth Tool, and just running it over the anchor points a few times, it will smoothen out the edges for you. 

Type on A Path Tool

The Type on a Path Tool is without a doubt one of my favorite tools in Illustrator. It allows for you to make text write along different paths that aren’t just horizontal or vertical. You can use it for any path that you create, whether it is by using just a plain shape or by creating a path with the Pen Tool.

Here is an example of how the Type on a Path Tool works. You can create a path using any form. For this example, I just used a circle. Using the Type on a Path Tool, you simply click on the path and it will turn your path into a guide for your text. From here, you can manipulate the text and the beginning/end of the path. 

Here is an example of the tool being used on a different path that was created using the Pen Tool. 

The Knife Tool

The next tool I want to focus on is the Knife Tool. The tool is extremely simple, yet extremely effective. It really does exactly what you would expect. It allows you to slice through paths, giving you more precision with your vector shape building. 

As you can see, you can take any vectorized shape, and simply slice through the shape and it will create a new path. You can move or remove the new sliced part of your vector to fast track your process. 

Paintbrush + Brush Library

The Paintbrush Tool is a tool that allows you to hand draw strokes onto your artboard. You can find the Paintbrush Tool on the side panel or by using its shortcut, B on the keyboard. The tool lets you give your projects more of a hands-on aesthetic to them. 

Along with the Paintbrush tool, there is a whole library of different brush strokes you can utilize. You can find the Brush Library by going to Window > Brush Libraries. The Brush Library holds strokes such as watercolor brushes, calligraphic brushes, and even different types of borders that you can expand and vectorize. 

Here is an example of the different types of brush strokes being applied. 

Wrapping up!

Illustrator can be fun and with a little time and effort, it can become easy to use. All the different tools and icons can be intimidating at first, but instead of being afraid, just jump in and play around with them. I mean, what is the worst that can happen?  When you finally learn how to use one, it can feel extremely gratifying. Add that feeling of gratification alongside gaining more overall skills as a designer, and it’s a win-win! Thank you for reading and I hope that you learned something new along the way!

Creativity in Five Stages

By Brooke Larsen

Every piece of art, whether it is a portrait drawing or a billboard, goes through a series of phases called the creative process. This structured process can be followed for any type of project that you work on. Every person has their own take on how they express their creativity, so the structure may vary and some steps may look different from individual to individual. The main steps in creating a finished project are preparation, incubation, illumination, evaluation, and verification (How to Improve Creativity).

1. Preparing

Preparing your work of art is defined as coming up with the ideas and researching the given subject (How to Improve Creativity). This can be simply drawing out  sketches, looking at Pinterest pictures, or putting together a mood board to get yourself going in the right direction. This stage of the creative process may take some trial and error, but that is normal. Maybe the first mood board you create does not fit the route your organization wants to take. You can go back to the drawing board and tweak your research. When Graphic Designers are coming up with ideas for a logo or a symbol in the preparation stage, hundreds of sketches are made. You may have fifty variations of the same concept to show to your client.

2. Incubation

The second stage of the creative process is incubation. Incubation is known as the breaks you take from your project and the creative process all together (How to Improve Creativity). This step is actually very important to take because artists tend to work better with a clear look on their work. When I am on hour three of creating a portrait for a client, my vision towards the given image seems to distort and I find myself hating the drawing. That is when incubation is the most important. After taking a break from the work, I am able to come back and see clearly what the piece needs and where I need to go with it.

3. Illumination

The next stage is illumination, also known as the “Eureka” stage (How to Improve Creativity). After taking a break from your work, coming back to it with a fresh mind allows the ideas to flow naturally. I see this stage coming into play when I start to make erase marks on charcoal drawings of animals. Before, the drawing is flat with simple shadows, but once the fur on the animal starts to pop, illumination begins. I find myself obsessed with the piece and I start to get into a rhythm of sorts. Creating the fine lines and textures of the portraits makes the image come to life and all of a sudden, I am in love with the drawing again.

4. Evaluation

The fourth step when creating a work of art is the evaluation stage. This is when your art is nearly finished or your idea is just about solidified (How to Improve Creativity). You take your piece or that idea and weigh it against others (How to Improve Creativity). You may show your work to peers and they can give you a different outlook on the project. When I am nearly done with a portrait, I like to show it to my friends and family and get feedback on what they see. I am then able to take their ideas to make my piece better than it was before.

“You have worked so hard preparing your ideas and getting feedback from your peers, and now you get to show it to the world.”

5. Verification

Last but not least, the verification stage. This is when your work comes to life. You have worked so hard preparing your ideas and getting feedback from your peers, and now you get to show it to the world. Your client is able to see the final product. This process may become tedious, but it all pays off when you receive that check.

The Application of Education After Graduation

By Gabby French

In the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, Prin Mayowa who had a job canceled on her due to the pandemic, instead of moping decided to be proactive in building her portfolio. Along this journey, she wrote and published a book to add to her success.

Prin, a 2016 graduate of Journalism and Public Relations at Chico State talks to us about her journey since leaving Tehama Group Communications. When the time finally came after graduation, Prin found her first job just by connections, she reached out to a fellow Tehama Group Communications alum from the previous semester and got a job working in an agency in Santa Monica.

She did not stay at the agency long but still had a great experience and got her first taste of working in the entertainment industry. The environment at the agency was great but there was not a wide range of diversity, which ended up being a huge part of Prin’s career. Entertainment and music was not what she had always envisioned for herself, she wanted to start in fashion when she was still in college.

She had interned at a small boutique firm called Reach the Masses, and from there, grew and realized that is not exactly where she wanted to land. In 2017 she worked as a publicist’s assistant for Jim Gaffigan and Judd Apatow. After working that job she said that she saw the very dark sides of the entertainment industry. 

After only working there for a short period of time, Prin decided to create her own PR firm. She partnered up with a past colleague from Reach the Masses who had a background in marketing, and together they formed Broken Clock Public Relations.

“School only gives you the tools, it is up to you to use them and adapt, what you learn in the classroom is just the foundation.”

– Prin Mayowa

It took them a little while to gain traction, but after reaching out to different establishments, they finally landed their first client! A winery in Burbank, it started out amazing but they ran into a very big problem. After working with this winery for about two months, they were fired and all their intellectual property was stolen by this winery.

They kept all reports and newsletters that Prin and her partner created for them and used them all after they were fired. Getting fired was a big hit for them and they had to pause and take a look at their company. They did a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis on themselves and decided to get back in the field after. 

From there, they landed one more client, Plunge, an ocean front restaurant in Long Beach, California. At this time, Prin’s partner decided that this was no longer a good fit for her and decided to leave the firm.

With her partner choosing to walk away, it now became Prin’s responsibility to work with their clients and focus on both PR and marketing. It was at this time in her career path where the music industry came into her view.

Prin was introduced to the industry while working with the winery in Burbank, when an artist who had performed at the location had reached out to her. The artist was impressed with the way Prin wrote, and was hoping that Prin would work with her for even a small rate. This was her first taste of the music industry. Prin decided that she wanted to just work with the artist Tamika, so she finished and closed out all her accounts.

“The way you exit any situation says more about your character,” Prin said.

Prin worked with Tamika for a while, and ended up becoming her head manager. Tamika was asked to audition on The Voice two times, and after some time Prin decided it was her time to move on to strictly PR or marketing jobs.

She found herself working for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which was a shock to her because she was not very familiar with that type of musical background. Prin worked closely in promotional efforts for them, including activism and social justice. This was important to her, so when the Los Angeles Philharmonic wanted to create a musical center in Inglewood, Prin spoke up and voiced her concerns with that. She thought that they first had to establish themselves in that community before just taking over a space. They created community outreach events so that people could get familiar with them before creating that space. 

You can now find Prin working with Hip Hop DX as a social media coordinator,  who is in line to be a social media manager. Her advice to upcoming graduates: 

“School only gives you the tools, it is up to you to use them and adapt, what you learn in the classroom is just the foundation,” Prin concludes.

Creating a Well-Rounded Linkedin Profile

By Mattie Orloff

With only a few months left in my final semester of college, the job hunt is on. The employment service Linkedin is an important professional networking resource as an unemployed student. It can be difficult to build your profile in a way that sets you apart from your peers. Through searching countless job offers and business profiles, I have become well versed in Linkedin profiles and offer some tips for creating yours:

Profile Image

Your profile image on your Linkedin profile acts as your first impression. It is important to have a current headshot that represents your professional personality . When taking a headshot here are a few tips:

  • Look approachable and friendly.
  • Look directly at the camera.
  • No selfies. No filters.
  • Dress business professional or what you would normally wear to the office. 
  • File types: PNG, JPG and GIF.

Background Image

Photo by Marc Mueller

The background image on your profile should be used to elevate your profile. There are many options for what to use as your background image. If you are a student, take an image somewhere on campus. If you are a professional, use an image that represents your company or industry, for example, a picture of yourself and your coworkers or the tools of your trade. Another option is to use a picture of an award or accomplishment. Linkedin’s standard file size for background images is 1,584 x 396 pixels. 

Headline

A headline is one of the first things someone will read when they view your profile. Don’t just use keywords, but add your own personal spin to set you apart from other profiles. Here are some tips for your headline:

  • Keep it under 115 characters.
  • If you are a student, include your major or graduation year.
  • Include the most recent and relevant position you’ve held. 
  • Rather than stating you’re unemployed, try expressing what you are looking for. 
    • Ex: Public Relations Student | Account Executive at Tehama Group Communications | Seeking paid internship opportunities

Summary

When crafting your summary, remember this is an overview of both your professional and personal life. Linkedin limits summaries to 2,000 characters. Here are some of the main components to include in your summary:

  • An eye-catching introduction
  • What drives you
  • Something personal that humanizes you
  • Give context to your career
  • Keywords
  • Lessons you’ve learned
  • Your accomplishments

Network

Networking is one of your most important assets while using Linkedin. 

  • Start by connecting with your peers and include a personalized note. You can find more connections in the “People you may know” section. Connect with people from your university, similar job positions, and friends of friends.
  • Filter your searches with your specific city and industry. 
  • Engage with your connections. Reconnect with people by linking your contacts with your Linkedin account. Build relationships by asking for help from your network and joining linkedin groups.

Skills

This section is a place for you to feature your strengths. It is important to post the more in-demand skills for your industry. If you have at least five skills listed on your LinkedIn profile you will may receive up to 17x more profile views!

How Management Helped Me Grow in PR

office person working at desk

Photo by Pexels.com

By: Lauren Davis

Many would not think that outside management experience could help public relations in any real way but, that is not the case. After being a shift manager at a local pizza place for the last six years, I’ve learned so much that I can apply to my daily agency life. As a manager you’re not only managing your team and maintaining a well-run shift but you’re also having to take care of your clientele. In my case, customers in the food industry can be very difficult. People have different food preferences and allergies that need to be taken care of. But when a customer has an issue with something and is angry about it, I step in to take care of the situation. With this ‘crisis management’, I am taking control of the situation and making the customer happy while making sure the business is not tarnished. 

Continue reading “How Management Helped Me Grow in PR”

Incorporating My Passion for Food into My Future

A photo of an assortment of fruit and other food on a plate with a bottled drink to accompany it

With graduation six months away, my mind is being pulled in so many different directions of where I could see myself. On one end, I see myself living the glamorous city life in San Francisco. On the other end I see myself moving across the country to North Carolina living a humble life on the lake with extended family members.

Both these situations are completely different, but I want to be immersed in something I am passionate about while utilizing the skills I learned in Tehama Group Communications.

I have been surrounded by cooking and baking my whole life. My dad has always had a passion for cooking. After his career as a golf pro ended he decided to start a catering business, Fuget About It Catering, out of our tiny suburban home kitchen.

Since then it has developed into an incredible business that spread throughout our community by word of mouth. He now has a commercial kitchen and multiple catering jobs a day to prove his success. We started working for him right away as a way to make some quick cash but it soon turned into an amazing learning experience in the kitchen. Cooking is a means to express my creativity and come up with meals using ingredients I would have not thought would be good together.

So, how do I incorporate these passions into my future?

According to an article in Economy Watch, “the food industry comprises a complex network of activities pertaining to the supply, consumption, and catering of food products and services across the world.” This includes the marketing, distribution and advertising of products. That’s where I am most interested within the food industry.

Human’s basic needs will always include food and water therefore the food industry has nothing but room for growth and a profitable future. The food industry is a trillion dollar industry with is wide variety of networks.

O’Dwyer’s released a ranking of the top food and beverage public relations firms and amongst the top three are Edelman ($116,626,00),  Hunter PR ($16,500,000) and APCO Worldwide ($16,283,000). These are just three of a list of 48 agencies that work with the food and beverage industry. These growing numbers prove to me that I can work to incorporate my passion for food with my personal professional goals.

So, what’s next?

Network, network, network! That is the number one word I hear when I do site visits and it’s the way I plan to weasel my way into employers minds. I hope to stand out within these lucrative companies by incorporating my passion for food into my application process and researching their projects that involve food in some way.

Hopefully, in ten years when I am looking through old files I read this blog and have a smile on my face. The smile will be a result of incorporating my professional goals with my passions for cooking and baking.

By: Miranda Carpenello

How to Be An Inclusive Writer

As an aspiring public relations professional, words are a big part of my job. From press releases to Instagram posts, my words matter and they affect a lot of people. That being said, here is a resource guide for being an inclusive writer:

Race: When we, as professionals, are writing for a diverse audience, we are first representing our clients, first and ourselves, second. We must take into account that our audiences are diverse and may not have experienced the world from our vantage point. We do not want to offend our readers, plus, we have our clients’ reputation on the line with every keyboard click. Research always needs to be done when writing about race. Here are four different resources in regards to writing about race. These resources provide you the opportunity to break out of your bubble and be a more conscientious and inclusive writer.

Gender and Sexuality: Gendered language haunts the English language. We use gendered language everyday. It is ingrained in us to say, “policeman or mailman.” Sometimes, it is hard to identify gender-neutral terms for words that we say everyday without a second thought. One way to work in gender neutral terms into your everyday language is by using the singular they/them pronouns. If you are addressing someone and don’t want to assume their pronouns, a good rule of thumb is to use they/them. I have provided a resource along with other links below:

Ability/Disability: Often, means of ability are glossed over by media or negatively portrayed to emit a sense of shame. Instead you could use, “people with different abilities.” Avoiding stigmas around abilities will not only make your writing more inclusive, it can help empower people. Here are some resources to consider when writing about people with different abilities:

As professionals in a fast-paced environment, research before writing is KEY.

Being able to write in an inclusive manner can make your audience feel welcome and safe. It will create a sense of trust and transparency around your company and that can greatly improve its relationship with the public. When a marginalized community can see you took the time to include them, you raise the standards for  companies around you.

As professionals dedicated to the ties between company and community, you CAN do better to be more inclusive. My hope is that this resource guide can be used as a stepping stone to successful inclusive writing.

Other related writing style guides:

Is The “American Dream” Really A Dream If It’s Taken?

The past year’s election stirred up a lot of negative attention towards immigration in the United States. However, if it was not for the hard work and talent of many immigrants this country would not have half of the things it does now.

Based on an article from Business Insider, here are some examples of how immigrants have impacted America:

 

  1. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, was born in Moscow, Russia, and emigrated here when he was 6 years old. Brin has an estimated worth of $24.4 billion.
  2. Do Won Chang, co-founder and CEO of Forever 21, moved here with his wife from Korea in 1981. Before Forever 21, Do Won worked as a janitor and gas station attendant. Forever 21 is now an international, 480-store empire, that brings in around $3 billion in sales a year.
  3. Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fulham F.C. and Flex-N-Gate, moved to the U.S. from Pakistan and worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois. Khan is the richest American of Pakistani origin and one of the richest people in the world.
  4. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors and founder of PayPal. Grew up in Pretoria, South Africa and became an American citizen in 2002. Musk has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion.
  5. Jerry Yang, founder of Yahoo, was born in Taipei, Taiwan. He moved to America when he was 8 years old, while only knowing one word of English. Yang has an estimated net worth of $1.15 billion.

 

Millions of people come to this country with hardly anything to offer, but they work hard to achieve the “American Dream.” The people mentioned above make me proud to have such a diverse and successful country, but unfortunately not everyone sees it that way.

The DACA program has been rolled back by Trump, which has directly impacted around 1.8 million DREAMers. People under the DACA program will no longer be able to renew their licenses to work legally in the U.S., which blocks them from being successful and contributing to this country. As a nation founded and built off of immigrants, I find this a little hypocritical.

Earlier this year, the Delta Iota chapter of Sigma Kappa at Chico State, was notified by our president that a fellow Sigma Kappa sister from MIT was blocked from getting back to school due to the travel ban. After hearing about something so disheartening, I began to feel embarrassed for our country.

Niki Mossafer Rahmati is a mechanical engineering major at MIT and served as the executive vice president for the Theta Lambda chapter last year at MIT. Originally from Iran, Niki holds a multiple entry student visa so she could go to school.

She is a hardworking students who is a member of a nationally recognized organization, and yet her origin was the ONLY thing that mattered when she was blocked from getting on a Boston bound flight.

Niki’s story is just one of hundreds that go unrecognized everyday. Hopefully this country can come together and take pride in our diversity, sooner rather than later. I mean, in all reality what would this country really be without immigrants?

5 Ways to Stay Out of Trouble on Social Media

You know this scenario all too well.

You are scrolling through your camera roll on Sunday morning and find photos from last night of you with your roommates at the bars. You think you have found a photo that is totally insta-worthy. That is when you should stop, drop and ask yourself, “Is this acceptable to post on social media?” Here are some guidelines to consider.

  • Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your future employer to see.

You are sadly mistaken if you think employers read your application and resume and leave it at that. Social media is not a full representation of who a person is. However, when employers are sifting through hundreds of applications, it is something that puts a face and personality to your application. Make sure you take advantage of your online persona and craft it into someone that people will be pining to hire. Or, risk employers moving on to the next applicant because your online image is unprofessional and sloppy.

  • Privacy online is a myth.

You might think you are safe if you have your accounts on private, but there is always a mutual friend who can show someone of importance your posts on social media. Screenshots exist. You should assume the worst when posting something risky on social media, whether it is a photo on Instagram or a tweet.

  • Keep it neutral.

It should go without saying, but you should not post vulgar language or insensitive viewpoints on social media. You are entitled to your opinions. Just be ready to own up to the consequences for posting politically heated views or language that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear you say.

  • If you hate your job, complain to your friends in person. Don’t blast it on social media.

First of all, your current employer could see it and fire you. You might not care about it at the time, but think about how it could affect you when you are looking for a new, better job. If other employers see you complaining freely and publicly, they might not think you are the right person for their company. Who is to say you won’t start bad mouthing them once you get the job?

  • Showcase your personality.

Professional social media profiles shouldn’t lack personality. Just because you are refraining from posting unprofessional content doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share photos from your life or let your humor seep into your captions. Your social channels should leave a good first impression. Keep them clean, but make sure to make them interesting. Most importantly, make them reflect who you are and what you stand for.

Written by: Victoria Agius