Starting today, i’ll be giving out simple tips on how you can be more productive as an illustrator, based from my day-to-day experiences and passion as I go through the ups and downs of creativity. Hope you’ll be with me til the end. 🙂

Organize your layers

So you’re in the middle of your art project and you’ve been really busy with your plans and putting them into your art and there will be times that you will be ignoring your layers. Try to look at the image below.


The layers don’t have unique names, some of them are not even grouped together. So for my first simple tip:

always try your best to arrange the layers of your artboard.

When arranging layers, please take note of the following things:

    • Give your layers a unique name
    • Group relevant layers together
    • Arrange them appropriately based on their layer positions.
    • Learn to lock layers if you think that they are in the right place already so they will not be moved anymore.

Take a look at the image below. Side A is the part where the layers were not arranged and the other one has been arranged prior to the needs of the artist.


Notice the layers of Side B:


All the elements found there were named appropriately and relevant elements were even grouped together, which will give the artist a more efficient way of moving things for example and thus, improving the workflow.

The strokes of the selected grouped elements will have a colored outline which will depend on the assigned color of your layer.

Useful hint: to change the assigned color of the layer, simply double click on the layer and a pop up window will come out and from there, you can go to the colored box and select your desired color.See the image below.


Now, let’s take a look at Side A where the layers were not organized properly.


It will be very much difficult for you to determine which layer is which as all the names are similar: from <Path>, <Group>, etc. This will be not a problem if you have a small art project with small elements. But what if you have tons of elements on your artboard already, with backgrounds, and other miscellaneous things.

For example, I want to move the bird on top of the rock. Since you want to maintain the position of the elements, from its eyes, feathers, body, beak, you would actually want to move the whole thing together so you’ll be able to preform your task correctly. If you’re dealing with the similar structure on your layers such as the image below:


Then there’s still a need for you to select all parts of the bird and you can simply use the Selection Tool (V) to help you out.


But when it comes to this, you will also be selecting other elements that you don’t want to be part of the bird and you will still find more effort in deselecting them and there will also be possibilities that you will not be able to select all the necessary things that you need to get and thereby taking a little of your time which can cause delays for production.

Closing words

The things that the artist is doing on their digital art boards can reflect the personality of the artist himself as a person but at the same time, it can also be an agent for practice for self improvement especially when it comes to organization. When you master the art of organizing your digital layers, then you can eventually put it into your day to day life experiences which can help you more as a person.

Remember this especially when you are in the freelance industry where your clients need the raw files. You would not want them to have an AI file with unorganized layers, right? Smile


More simple tips soon!



Skeeper | The Art of JC Roxas