SESSION: Calling all cartographers!

Illustrator 101 with Boston Globe infographics artist, David Butler.

David opened the show with a tutorial on how to create and customize a pie chart using Adobe Illustrator. He admitted that Illustrator is best served for simple charts. For more complex needs, David suggested that Excel would be the better choice.

Next up was shape drawing. The class was shown how to draw a simple key by creating, duplicating, rotating and scaling shapes. A good idea to help line up shapes and points is to view your work in outline mode, David said. This will eliminate the thicknesses of lines and will help you see what’s going on a little bit better. Using the pathfinder in the transform toolbar helps put some of the finishing touches on the key.

As a show closer, David demonstrated the basics of map drawing. There are two different approaches to map drawing. One way is to draw the streets and have the blocks be the negative space. The second way is the exact opposite — drawing the blocks and having the streets be the negative space.

Someone show me a map to the awards dinner — I’m starving!

Marcus Snyder
Middle Tennessee State University

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