Adobe Illustrator and I are not the best of friends. I’ve tried nurturing our turbulent relationship over the past year and a half, but I just don’t think Illustrator is that into me—or is it the other way around? (I think this may be one of the only truths we can agree on.) My lofty goal from 2016–2017 was to create a vector illustration each week, for a project called Illustrator 52. As with most projects, I bolted out of the gate with excitement and trepidation. I managed to keep consistent with the challenge for the first few weeks. But then I got bored and frustrated. Coming up with new designs was time consuming. And because it was a personal (aka not gonna get any money for this) project—even though I was cultivating useful design skills—it still felt like a giant waste of time. Especially considering that I wasn’t preparing to become a vector illustrator or fancy graphic designer. (I love InDesign. We understand each other. Our relationship is one of mutual trust and respect.)

However disappointing it was to abandon the Illustrator 52 project at not even the halfway point, I did manage to create worthy pieces that I would not be ashamed to share with the public. It also taught me the value of knowing myself and being honest about my capabilities as a vector illustrator. I am not meant to wield the mighty tablet pen and create gorgeous vector renditions that rival the best of photographs. It’s not a skill set that I need. Better to focus my efforts on what I’m best at—document design.

Here are a selection of my best and favourite vector illustrations.

About the Author Cindy Cheung

Freelance technical writer, copyeditor & proofreader, and designer based in Calgary, Alberta.

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