Points & Paths is a recurring series here at iStock from illustrator and blogger Cheryl Graham (FreeTransform) that covers all things Vector. Designers looking to pick up some Illustrator tips, iStock contributors in need of workflow help, and raw beginners who couldn't even open an EPS file will all find something useful in the topics covered here.

A buyer's guide to vectors

What are vector illustrations and why should you use them? Learn the very basics about vector files: the different applications, key terms, and basic file editing.

Autotrace dos and don'ts

Auto-trace. So powerful. So fun. So misused. An amazing technology, but one you must wield with care. Learn when and how to turn a photograph into a vector with the Auto-trace tool.

Clipping Masks

You’ve probably heard of a Clipping Path in Photoshop. Well, a Clipping Mask in Illustrator is pretty much the same thing.

Develop a personal palette

Develop an individual color style by customizing your own palettes and swatches. Build your own custom color library.

Global Color

Global Color is a very handy feature in Illustrator that makes quick work out of editing color in an illustration.

Layout, cutout, knockout

Learn to wrap text around a Vector in the two most common layout programs, Adobe® InDesign® and QuarkXPress®.


You probably have a lot of questions when it comes to working with Vectors across color spaces: the difference between RGB and CMYK, when to use each, and switching between.

Rich Blacks

What does it mean when printers and designers talk about “Rich Black” ? Hint: It’s not somebody named Richard.

Save time with templates

Do you ever find yourself starting a new illustration, then spending 10 minutes changing the document size, color mode, the styles, the swatches? Use a template!

Spot Color

What are spot colors, and what do they mean for vector illustrators? Learn to identify and work with them.

Supersize Me

You can easily use a vector file in your Photoshop design projects. What’s more, you can enlarge a vector way beyond its original size

The Layered Look

Layers help organize a file, and provide some pretty nifty editing options. A well-organized file benefits the illustrator as well as the designer.

Vectors for the Web Part 1

Using Vectors in web graphics gives you the most options and best results. Web colors, different file formats, and putting it all in practice.

Vectors for the Web Part 2

Part 2 of our look at the web covers the leap to pixels, strokes, and anti-aliasing.

What's the deal with open paths?

Everybody's talking about Open Paths, but what makes them so awful? Here's everything worth knowing about Open Paths.