Illustrator Basics: Layers

Layers are the best way to organize your projects in Illustrator. There are also some hidden benefits to using the layers panel. Join me as I go over the basics of using layers.

*Keep in mind, anytime I say “control” in this video, if you are using a Mac, use “command” instead.*


Layer Basics

Everything I am going to cover here is covered in the video, I’m just highlighting some of the key uses.

  • Layers have rank, the higher on the layers panel a layer is, the more forward it will be in the design. It will lay on top of layers that are beneath it.
  • You create layers by pressing the button at the bottom of the layers panel that looks like a post-it note. The button to the left of that will create a sub-layer.
  • You can select an entire layer by clicking the circle at the right of the layer, this is really useful if your design has a lot of parts. For example, if you are making a person, the head, body, arms, and legs could all be separate layers. If I only wanted to work on the arms, I would click the circle on its layer.
  • You can rename layers by double-clicking their name and then pressing enter when you are done. This is really important once you start getting a lot of layers and you can’t tell from the picture which is which.
  • Just because objects are on a layer together doesn’t mean they will move together, you have to group them in order to do that. You can do this by selecting everything you want in the group, go to the Object tab and click “Group.”

Those are the basics of layers! If you have questions, tweet me @nightgong or comment below and I’d love to help point you in the right direction!

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