Project Workflow for Reusable Artwork in Artboard

As often happens in graphic design, you may want to re-use the artwork you create in Artboard later in different layouts, such as re-using logos in business cards, websites, and brochures; or when storyboarding a new iOS application. Find out how Artboard’s Library Manager makes quick work of accessing all your stored graphics.

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 1.1+ for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Intermediate
Topics Covered: Library Manager
Estimated Completion Time: 15-20 minutes

Step 1

Artboard delivers with a built-in collection of hundreds of styles and editable vector clip art. Did you know you can also create your own custom collections? In this example, we’ll show you how to use Artboard’s Library Manager to save all your own graphics and styles that you want to save for later re-use.

Choose Window > Library Manager [CMND-5] in the main menu to open the Library Manager. Click the “New Collection” icon at the bottom-left of the window to add a new collection. As needed, double-click to select and type a name for the new collection. Close the Library Manager.

(Note: The User’s Collection will be created for you the first time you add clip art or styles to the library – you can use this step to add additional Collections.)

Step 2

Start by drawing some simple shapes and styles similar to the ones shown below. For example, draw a few simple shapes with different fill colors, and create a new line style. Separate objects are saved as separate clip arts. Before creating clip art of a complex graphic, you should group the objects together as one group. Later when you use the clip art in another drawing, you can ungroup it as needed for editing.

Step 3

Now, let’s add the objects as clip arts. Use the Select [s] tool and hold the Command-key to select both objects, then choose Edit > Add Clip Art To Library [CMND-Y] from the main menu. The Library Manager opens and two clip arts are created and added to User’s Collection. Double-click the name of each clip art to rename them. For example, we’ve renamed ours “graphic 1” and “graphic 2” to help us tell them apart later. As desired, you can drag the clip arts from the default User collection to your other collections to keep them organized.

More information on managing your Library, including moving and deleting items, is available in the Artboard Users’ Guide.

Step 4

Next let’s look at how we save styles.

In step #2, you created a new style following our example. In the Style Inspector, type a name for the style and click <Enter>, then click the “Add To My Collection…” button. You can repeat this for all the styles you want to save for later re-use.

Step 5

Notice that when you add items to the Library, they are immediately available for use in your drawing through the Styles & Clip Art palette. Open the Styles & Clip Art palette and click the Library icon to choose your new collection. From the Styles & Clip Art palette you can drag clip art onto your drawing, choose a style and begin drawing, or even drag a style onto an existing object to replace its style.

Final Image

The Artboard Library is a great place for your to save your graphics as clip arts and styles for later re-use. We hope you find this workflow for re-usable artwork useful in your own projects.

Make a Cute Frankenstein for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner! Learn how to use Artboard to make this cute little Frankenstein.

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 1.1+ for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Intermediate
Topics Covered: Style Inspector
Estimated Completion Time: 30 minutes

ATTENTION: As of Artboard 1.7, “shared” styles are no longer part of the default workflow, therefore, references to “New” and “Clone” in this tutorial are no longer current. As of Artboard 1.7, the “New” button in the Format Bar and Style Inspector becomes the “Reset” button. See the Users Guide for more information about shared styles.

Step 1

For this tutorial, familiarity with creating shapes and styles in Artboard is assumed. If you get stuck, take a look at some of our other tutorials to help you along. We’ll keep the descriptions brief and show you step-by-step screenshots of how our cute little friend was created.

Begin by drawing the basic shapes that will comprise little “Frank” (huh, kind of looks like Bender). We used the Round Rectangle, Round-Ended Rectangle, and Rectangle tools. Starting off drawing using Artboard’s default (“New”) style.

Step 2

Select all and align the shapes.

Step 3

Select the head shapes and choose the “Union” command to combine them. Arrange the shapes so the bolts are in back of the other shapes.

Step 4

Use the Freehand Line [f] tool to draw some hair.

Step 5

Here we copies the head in place by holding the Alt/Option-key and clicking the head. Select the head (copy) and hair and choose “Intersect” to clip the hair to the head’s shape. Select the hair and make it slightly larger.

Step 6

Let’s begin to color Frank. Use the Colors panel and drag-and-drop colors onto the shapes.

Step 7

Use the Oval tool [o] to draw the eye. Notice how we’ve added the eye, pupil, and a couple ovals for reflection.

Step 8

Like in Step 6, use the Colors panel to drag colors onto the eye.

Step 9

To make the second eye, select the first eye objects, group them and duplicate it. Position it and align them so they look right.

Step 10

To draw Frank’s bolts, we used the “Stainless Steel” style from the Styles & Clip Art palette. In the Style Inspector – Expert pane we cloned the style and edited the gradient so the angle was side-to-side.

Step 11

Using a simple stroke style and the Freehand Line [f] tool, draw Frank’s mouth.

Step 12

We used the “Tapered Ogre Brush” style and Bezier Path [b] tool to draw a nose.

Step 13

Frank wouldn’t look so cute without some rosy cheeks (makes him look a little embarrassed, don’t you think?). We used the “Grey Blur” style in the Styles & Clip Art palette and drew circles. Then we cloned the style and changed the fill color to pink.

Step 14

I decided Frank would look better with a bit of gradient. Click onto his head and open the Style Inspector. Click “Clone”, add a gradient fill and color it like the picture.

Step 15

Finally, make a style you can use for scars. We started by drawing a single line with a simple black stroke. Then we copied it and used it for a new style. Add a “Path Decorator” style component and paste the line into the image-well. Use the settings to space the lines along your new path. When you’re satisfied, use the new style to draw some scars on Frank.

Final Image

Congratulations! You’ve created your own little monster. Now you can dress up the picture with backgrounds, bats, or other creations. Frank here is pretty cute. We’d love to see what Halloween creations you come up with!

Create a Tranquil Waxing Moon Scene in Artboard

Night scenes with dark foreground elements and wide sky backgrounds are easy to create in Artboard. Find out how to use radial gradients to create a waxing crescent moon, and Core Image Filter effects to create stars that really shine. Read more

Love Using Artboard’s Smooth Gradients

Fill any shape with smooth multiple-color blends called gradients. A simple gradient is usually made of two colors fading into each other, but there can be more advanced gradients consisting of many colors, including linear and radial gradients. Find out how to love working with gradients, from Artboard’s preloaded styles to creating your very own.

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 1.1+ for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Beginner
Topics Covered: Style Inspector – Gradient Fill
Estimated Completion Time: 15-20 minutes

ATTENTION: As of Artboard 1.7, “shared” styles are no longer part of the default workflow, therefore, references to “New” and “Clone” in this tutorial are no longer current. As of Artboard 1.7, the “New” button in the Format Bar and Style Inspector becomes the “Reset” button. See the Users Guide for more information about shared styles.

Step 1

Create a new drawing at your preferred size in Artboard. From the Styles & Clip Art palette, click onto the Library icon and choose “Backgrounds & Fancy Fills > Gradients” category from the drop-down list. There are 36 pre-loaded gradient styles in the Mapdiva Library.

Step 2

Click onto the first gradient “Evening Sky”. Use the Regular Polygon [g] tool to draw a star. It is drawn using the “Evening Sky” gradient fill.

Step 3

Next, find the “Full Spectrum Rainbow Gradient” style in the Styles & Clip Art palette (HINT: you can start typing the style name in the search bar and it will search the currently active category for a match). Note how when you choose a different style, the Tools palette Preview changes with it – that’s how to tell which style is currently active. Draw another star. Notice that this new gradient is made up of several colors, where the first star’s gradient was a blend of two colors. Let’s look at these in the Style Inspector.

Step 4

With the second (rainbow) star still selected, open the Style Inspector – Expert pane (EDIT: As of Artboard 1.3 the “Simple” and “Expert” buttons have been removed from the Style Inspector (it edits all expert styles by default).). Here we can look at the nuts and bolts of the style. Click the “Clone” button to work with a copy of the style, then click onto “Gradient Fill” in the Style Components list. We can see that the gradient is comprised of six different colors along a linear gradient.

Step 5

The big circle in the gradient-well has an handle you can turn to rotate the angle of the gradient. Go ahead and give it a try. If you hold the SHIFT-key down while you rotate the knob it will move in 15-degree increments. Notice how as you rotate the knob the angle changes, both in the style and in the star object that has the style applied. Remember, you’re working with a clone (copy) of the style so you aren’t changing the original.

Step 6

Let’s draw another shape. Use the Rectangle [r] tool to draw a square (HINT: hold the SHIFT-key while drawing to maintain the aspect ratio and draw a perfect square). The same style is still active and is used with your square. In the Style Inspector – Expert pane, click “Clone” again to work with another copy, and click back onto the Gradient Fill style component to edit its properties. You see the six color-stops along the gradient bar. To remove a color, click on the color-stop and drag it off the gradient bar. Alternatively, click the color-stop then click the little “-” at the left end of the gradient bar. Do this for all the middle colors. You should end up with a gradient with light blue on the left and dark blue on the right.

Step 7

Let’s explore radial gradients. Click onto the “Radial” button. The perspective of the gradient changes. However, in this example we want the middle to be lighter than the edges. Drag the color-stops in the gradient bar to reverse their positions. We also want the center of the gradient to be positioned a bit high to the right. Grab the inner circle (the one with the light blue knob) in the gradient-well and move it slightly up and to the right. Cool! You’ve just created a great radial gradient that looks like light is coming in from above. Applied to a circle it would look like a ball with a bit of depth.

Step 8

Now that you’re familiar with applying gradients from the Mapdiva library, and with creating your own, let’s experiment! Click “New” in the Style Inspector to create a new style from scratch. Choose a drawing tool and draw a shape. I’ve drawn a very quick heart using the Freehand Line [f] tool. In the Style Inspector, click the “+” button and add a gradient fill style component. Click a color-stop along the gradient bar to open the Colors palette and change colors. Click the little “+” on the left side of the gradient bar to add color-stops. Artboard stands apart with its expert stacked styles – here I’ve added a thick Rough Stroke on top of my gradient for added visual weight and a comic effect.

*Note, transparencies within a gradient are not recommended due to a known issue with the external PDF generator used in printing and exporting graphics. EDIT: as of Artboard 1.5, transparencies within gradients are fully supported.

Final Image

Have fun creating your own gradient styles. What would it look like if you moved the gradient-stops closer together? How would a gradient help you add depth to your graphics? Here we’ve added a background in the same gradient style as the foreground shapes… bask in the gradient love!

draw a chalkboard with vector graphic design tool Artboard

Create a Slick Chalkboard Banner with Artboard

When we were featured on Apple’s ‘Apps for Education’ promotion, we got inspired to create a slick chalkboard banner like the “Back To School” page on the Mac App Store. Artboard 1.1 make these effects possible. Find out how.

Here’s our inspiration:

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 1.1+ for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector Core Image Filters
Estimated Completion Time: approximately 30 minutes

ATTENTION: As of Artboard 1.7, “shared” styles are no longer part of the default workflow, therefore, references to “New” and “Clone” in this tutorial are no longer current. As of Artboard 1.7, the “New” button in the Format Bar and Style Inspector becomes the “Reset” button. See the Users Guide for more information about shared styles.
NOTE: This tutorial was written using an earlier version of Artboard. In Artboard 1.3+, “Simple” and “Expert” tabs are removed from the Style Inspector interface. Use the Style Inspector to edit advanced styles; use the Format Bar located above the Rulers to edit simple fill and stroke styles without needing to open the Style Inspector.

Step 1

Open a new drawing and choose File > Drawing Size & Units from the main menu and set “pixels/points” as the units of measure. We’ve set our drawing size to 1024 x 350 to make a banner for our website – set the drawing size to suit your purpose. We’ve also turned off all Graphic > Snap To settings in the main menu. Use the Rectangle [r] tool to draw a rectangle the size of your drawing canvas. We are going to add several layers to our drawing, so we’ll name them to keep track of what’s what. Double-click onto the “Drawing Layer” text in the layer list and type “background” and click the Enter-key to end.

Step 2

Return to the Select [s] tool and make sure your rectangle is selected. Open the Style Inspector – Expert pane. With the rectangle selected, click “New” to create a new style. Click onto “Fill” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. From the Style Inspector, click the “+” button and choose “Gradient Fill” from the drop-down list of components. Click onto the first color-stop in the gradient slider to open the Colors panel. Choose a dark green color (we’ve use RGB 33,52,34). Click the “+” in the gradient slider to add a new color-stop and choose a medium green color (we’ve used RGB 61,100,62). Click onto the last color-stop and choose a dark green color (we’ve used RGB 58,78,60). Keep the style Inspector open; close the Colors panel.

Step 3

Drawing on a new layer keeps your drawing objects separate from the background. Add a new layer by clicking the “+” at the lower left corner of the Layers panel. The layer name will immediately be ready for editing; type “eraser marks” and click Enter.

Next we’ll create a fairly subtle style to make some eraser marks on the chalkboard. Choose the Freehand Path tool and click “New” in the Style Inspector to apply a new style. Draw a squiggly line across the board. In the Style Inspector, click onto “Fill” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. From the Style Inspector, click the “+” button and choose “Core Image Filter” from the drop-down list of components. A core image filter is a group that applies the filter effect to which ever style components are in the group. Drag the stroke component from the top of the list into (visually nested under) the Core Image Filter Group in the components list (as needed, click the little arrow in front of “Core Image Filter Group” to expand the group). Click onto the stroke color-well to open the Colors panel and choose a white color and slide the Opacity slider to about 50%. Close the Colors panel. Change the stroke width to about 3.5-pt. Click onto “Core Image Filter Group” in the style component list. Choose “Gaussian Blur” from the drop-down list. Slide the Radius slider to about 30% and make sure “Clipping” is set to “None.” Don’t worry that your line is barely visible (though it should still be selected) – subtle is what we are going for!

Now we want to continue drawing with this style to make more eraser marks. Picture how you’d swipe back and forth to erase on a chalkboard. Draw some more squiggly lines with the Freehand Path tool. Note that due to the line’s style, it will be nearly impossible to click on a line to select it. As needed, use the Select[s] tool and drag a rectangle over to select lines or choose Edit > Select All from the main menu. Use a bit of patience and experimentation.

Step 4

We’ll use core image filters again to create a chalk style to draw on the chalkboard. Add a new layer and name it “chalk”.

Choose the Freehand Path tool. Click “New” in the Style Inspector to apply a new style and draw a line (the line is so you can see your style changes as you make them). In the Style Inspector, click onto “Fill” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. Click onto “Stroke” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. Click the “+” button and choose “Core Image Filter” from the drop-down list of components. Choose “Bloom” from the drop-down list and make sure “Clipping” is set to “None” (click the little arrow in front of “Core Image Filter Group” to expand the group). Click the “+” button and choose “Roughened Stroke” from the drop-down list of components – it will be added to the core image filter group. Click onto the Rough Stroke color-well to open the Colors panel and choose a whitecolor and slide the Opacity slider to about 55%. Close the Colors panel. Change the stroke width to about 1.5-pt and a roughness of 85%. This is your new chalk style! Optionally, return to Style in the components list to name and save your style.

Use any path or shape tool to draw on the chalkboard. We’ve drawn an “XOXO” with the Freehand Path tool.

Step 5

The above chalk style was a pretty advanced application of Artboard’s Style Inspector. Now we want to make a couple other chalk styles. Draw a new line. One of the beauties of Artboard is the ability to clone existing styles. Chalk is still our active style, so in the Style Inspector click “Clone.” You now have a copy of the chalk style that you can modify without affecting the original.

Click onto Rough Stroke in the style components list and click onto the color-well. Pick a pink color and slide the Opacity slider to about 55%. You now have pink chalk. Draw other shapes and strokes as desired. We added a Heart shape from the Artboard built-in collection and applied the style to it using the Style Dropper.

Experiment with different colors and settings to vary the effect.

Step 6

Next we will add our banner text. This involves placing text, then converting it to a shape to apply a cool new style. Add a new layer and name it “banner text”.

Use the Text Box tool to drag a large text box onto your drawing canvas. Double-click the text with the Select [s] tool and type to edit, clicking the esc-key to finish. With the text still selected, open the Fonts panel to choose a nice fat looking font and increate your text size. We are using Myriad Pro, semi-bold, 36-pt. We’ve also increased the spacing between letters (kerning) just a bit using the Option Key-Command- → keyboard shortcut.

When you have your text just how you want it, right-click and choose Convert To > Shape from the contextual menu (note you cannot edit the text once it is converted to a shape). Open the Style Inspector – Expert pane and click “New” to create a new style. Click onto “Stroke” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. Click the “+” button and choose “Core Image Filter” from the drop-down list of components. Choose “Crystalize” from the drop-down list. Set the “Radius” to 1 and make sure “Clipping” is set to “Inside Path.” Click onto “Fill” in the style components list and drag it into (visually nested under) the Core Image Filter Group. Click onto the Fill color-well and change the color to white and set the opacity to about 95%.

Step 7

To add a subtitle, follow the above step to add and edit your text. We used Myriad Pro, regular, 24-pt. When you are satisfied with your text convert it to a shape.

Use the Style Dropper tool to pick up the style from your title text in the previous step and drop it onto your subtitle. In the Style Inspector – Expert pane click “Clone” to duplicate the style. Adjust the radius of the Crystalize effect to 2. Click onto the Fill color-well and choose a yellow color. Since the text is a bit small, we’ll make it crisper by adding another Fill the same yellow with about 30% opacity. Drag the new Fill component to the top of the component list so it is not part of the filter group.

You now have a chalkboard banner with chalk drawings and banner text. Pretty cool!

Final Image

At this point you can customize your banner by it jazzing up with an image. We added a new layer and placed the Macbook image with our Mac App Store screenshot. Use guides to help get your layout just right. To export for a web banner, choose File > Export… from the main menu and choose PNG at 72-dpi resolution. Tip: We like to run our images though a PNG compressor before uploading to the web and really love (free web app) and PNG Compressor (from the Mac App Store).

Create a Polished Raised Type Treatment

Use the Style Inspector along with Artboard’s new transform settings to create a polished raised type treatment. It is super easy to apply the style to other shape objects. Read more

Add Images to Styles in Artboard

The standard way to add images to your drawing is to drag-and-drop them from the Image Browser or Finder window to your drawing canvas where they are placed as “image objects.” But did you know images can also be added to shape objects as part of the shape’s style? This tutorial shows three methods for adding images to styles, and when to use them. Read more

A Graphic Design Primer, 3: Basics of Composition. Noupe Article.

In the first two sections of this primer, the basic elements of design and the basic principles of design were covered. In the third installment of this graphic design primer, author Cameron Chapman covers different composition methods and guides, including: the rule of thirds, Gestalt principles, and grid layouts. Read more

Vector vs. Raster Drawing

Computer graphics can usually be divided into two distinct categories: vector graphics and raster (or bitmap) images. Artboard is vector-based illustration software for Mac OSX. Find out what the differences are between vector graphics and raster images.

There are instances when working with vector tools and formats is the best practice, and instances when working with raster tools and formats is the best practice. There are times when both formats come together. Understanding the advantages and limitations of each technology and the relationship between them will help you choose the appropriate tools and plan your drawing strategies.

Understanding Vector Art and Raster Graphics

Example showing effect of vector graphics versus raster graphics. The original vector-based illustration is at the left. The upper-right image illustrates magnification of 7x as a vector image. The lower-right image illustrates the same magnification as a bitmap image. (source Wikipedia)

Raster images are based on pixels and thus lose clarity when scaled, while vector-based images can be scaled indefinitely without degrading quality.

Raster images are made up of a grid of dots, or pixels, with each pixel containing color information. Computer displays are made up from grids of small rectangular cells called pixels. The picture is built up from these cells. The smaller and closer the cells are together, the better the quality of the image. When magnified, the pixels are magnified and the image can become grainy, or pixelated.

Vector graphics use points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s) that are mathematically defined to represent images in computer graphics. A vector graphics program uses these mathematical formulae to build the best quality image possible given the screen resolution. Vector graphics are scalable to any size and detail, and the file size of vector data generating the image stays the same. The quality of a vector graphic is limited only by the resolution of the output or display. Read more

Tips for Static Text in Map Symbols

Sometimes static text (as opposed to dynamic text like route numbers) is an integral part of a symbol. These symbols may be re-scaled and shared for different purposes, such as placement in a legend and reuse at a different size within a brochure or book. For maximum scalability and consistency with complex symbols, convert text objects to shapes when creating a symbol. Your symbols will always look right, even when shared with people who don’t have the same fonts loaded on their system. Here’s how…

Complex Symbol Objects


Map symbols in Ortelius can be composed of any combination of shapes, paths, graphics, and text. However, problems can occur when text objects within a group or symbol are re-scaled, or when a symbol is shared with a user who doesn’t have the same font loaded on their system. The solution is to convert the text to a shape after you are satisfied with the color, font, size, and style. In this way, the text will not change unexpectedly when scaled or if the symbol is used on another system or other vector editing program (such as Illustrator) without the proper font.

We’ll examine a fairly detailed symbol of a First Armored Division patch created by one of our customers. Color and grey-scale versions, and the original patch this symbol is modeled after, are shown.

Convert To Shape


Select the text and choose Graphic > Convert To Shape in the main menu or from the right-click context menu. When the shape is grouped with the other objects and turned into a symbol it will scale properly. Shapes cannot be converted back to text objects. In this example, the text “Old Ironsides” and “1” would be converted to shape before creating the symbol.

Note that some symbols, such as road shields and sequence markers, are designed with dynamic labels that read the feature’s attribute information. This dynamic text should not be converted to shape.

Create Symbol


To complete the symbol process, group the objects and choose Edit > Create Symbol from the main menu. Name your symbol and assign it to an appropriate category, then click the Create button. It will be added to your Library as a symbol master.


A special thanks to Mr. Richard Brummett for allowing us to use his his work in this tutorial. These and several other crests, patches, and maps were created exclusively with Ortelius by Richard to accompany the upcoming book “Search and Destroy” by Keith W. Nolan and published by Zenith Press of Minneapolis (anticipated July 2010). Keith died last February at age 44 and this will be his twelfth and final book on the Viet Nam War.

Map Points of Interest with Smart Sequence Markers

When you need to map points of interest with numbered placemarkers, look no further than Ortelius’ smart Sequence Markers. These symbols save time and sanity. Place Sequence Markers just like any other symbol and they’ll automatically number themselves 1,2,3… (we should call them magic).

Our customers have been finding Sequence Markers really useful, and with their suggestions we’ve made Sequence Markers even better. This tutorial demonstrates some of the advanced (and super easy) Sequence Marker features.

Placing Sequence Markers


Use Sequence Markers over your own custom maps, aerial photographs, even scanned maps and drawings.

Like all symbols, quickly find Sequence Markers in the Symbols palette by typing “sequence” into the palette’s search bar. Note, you won’t see any numbers when viewing the markers in the palette. Choose a marker and place it using the Symbol Stamp tool. Markers automatically number themselves 1, 2, 3… in the order in which they are placed.

Instantly Re-Order the Sequence


Wow. Sometimes you change your mind pretty fast. Shouldn’t you be able to change the order of Sequence Markers just as quickly? Ortelius provides several ways to re-order sequence numbers to fit the way you work best.

Delete re-orders the sequence
After placing a series of Sequence Markers, if a marker in the series is deleted the remaining markers will automatically renumber so there are no gaps in the sequence.

Grouping re-orders sequence
Grouping two or more markers in the sequence will automatically renumber the grouped markers, placing the grouped markers at the end of the sequence.

Use Object Inspector to re-order sequence
Change a the sequence of a marker from the Object Inspector – Features pane. Select a marker and use the up and down arrows under “Sequence” to edit the selected marker’s sequence number.

Edit > Symbols > Sequence to re-order sequence
Changes to the sequence can be made by selecting a marker and choosing options from Edit > Symbols > Sequence in the main menu. Options include “Move to start,” “Move to end,” “Move backward,” and “Move forward.”

Note, as with any symbol you can also change the scale of sequence markers from the Object Inspector – Features pane.

On-the-Fly Sequence Type


Need numeric, roman numerals, alphabetic? No problem.

Sequence markers can be switched to different types, such as numeric (1,2,3…), alphabetical (A,B,C…), roman numeral (I, II, III…), just choose the type in the Object Inspector – Features pane when a sequence marker is selected. Alternatively, choose Edit > Symbol > Sequence > and choose the type. Changing the marker type applies to all markers in the active sequence.