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Creating Colorwork Charts in Illustrator

In a previous tutorial, I have covered making colorwork charts in Excel. Excel is a wonderful option for simple charts because most people have access to and a comfort level with it or to a similar opensource alternative. However, for the persnickety designer, Excel lacks a certain level of precision and flexibility. Illustrator has a steeper learning curve but gives you unlimited freedom in designing your charts and many more options for file formats.

For this tutorial, I'm experimenting with doing videos instead of my usual written out method. I would love your feedback on which you prefer. You'll have to excuse my crummy editing, I'm still finding my way around iMovie.

I'm embedding the tutorials below, but I think you'll find them easier to view in High Quality [HQ] and in full screen, so you may want to watch the videos over in YouTube by clicking these links: Part I, Part II, Part III. If there's a good response to these video tutorials, I'll continue to create them, otherwise, I can go back to my old method.

As always, my standard caveats:

  • There are oodles of ways to create charts. This is one way, not necessarily the right or best way. Play around with the tools you have and adjust as you see fit.
  • I work on a mac and am using Adobe Illustrator CS3. Other versions of Illustrator, on other platforms may work differently. Consult your users manual if needed
  • I love hearing your ideas. If you have suggestions, leave them in the comments.

Download the Illustrator file here. Note: I've converted this file to be compatible with Illustrator 10 and higher.


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Comments (6)


Thank you so much for the clear and informative tutorial. I have used Illustrator for making knitting charts before, but your tips will make them so much easier and prettier.

Patty :-):

Thank you Marnie! Great tutorial - I appreciate your efforts! :-)


Great tutorial. Love the video format.

Thanks, Marnie! That was great. Since you asked for feedback, here are my thoughts.

Having a written tutorial is nice for a quick reference, but the videos are much easier for overall comprehension.

Hearing you explain each step at the same time as you're demonstrating it, makes it easy to follow the lesson. With written tutorials, I generally need to reread several times before it clicks.

I'm very impressed with your clear and concise organization of the info.


Marnie, you are awesome! Thanks for such a detailed and amazing post! I've been really curious about using Illustrator for colorwork design. Thank you for all of the hard work that went into putting this together!

Oh I love the video format!...and it's so cool to hear your voice!!....I don't have illustrator yet though.....soon hopefully!


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 20, 2009 4:44 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Creating Colorwork Charts in Illustrator.

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