Offset Tool Tutorial in Illustrator

I LOVE the Off Set Tool in Illustrator. It’s fast and easy to use. Best of all, it has so many applications for use. I like it when I am creating dielines for stickers or diecuts. I also adore it for anything that needs a bleed. It works like a charm for nested objects. Take a look and hopefully it will be useful to you as well!

Mini Episode 3: Offset Tool in Illustrator

Introduction to Diecut Design Class Now Available!

class_diecutting1_webI’m so excited to let you know about the release of a new class! It’s been a few months since I had time to create a class and this one is close to my heart. The name of the class is Introduction to Diecut Design and I teach you how to create a tag, envelope, shallow square box, and pillowbox with a flower. I walk you through how to create basic svgs so that you can then use your creativity to expand upon the designs I make with you.

There are four lessons, pdf notes, and you also get the svg files to help you compare against the ones you create. If you have a diecutting machine, this is a great way to get creative with your own designs.

I suggest Illustrator Basics 1 as a prerequisite for this course since all the svgs we create are in Illustrator.

You can check out the syllabus and course description here: Introduction to Diecut Design

AND this class went on sale for the rest of the week for 20% off! It will go off sale with the rest of the classes on February 1, 2015 so be sure to stock up now!

New Card Classes

Print I am so excited to offer two new classes in the shop! These are part of a new Design As You Go Class series, where I try to spend time with students actually making projects that they can use! The best part is that these classes are cheap ($25) and contain tons of new techniques and new approaches in Illustrator.

In Invitation Design, we make three cards: a birthday invite, baby shower invite, and spring party invitation. The best part about these invites is that they are customizable to your style and needs. I’ll be reworking the birthday party invite for Charlie’s upcoming birthday in August.

In Holiday Card Design, you can get a jump start on Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. Don’t pay for card designs! Instead make one that is uniquely yours! There is a bonus print lesson in this class, as PrintI show you the website I use to upload my card designs.

Of course, there is a Release Sale on both of these classes! They are 20% off through Friday ($20). Take advantage while you can!

Happy Learning!


Some Big Changes

class_illustratorbasics2class_600It’s been a busy holiday season this year. I’ve been determined to get all my Christmas decor up with time to enjoy it, find time to share some special things with my kids (i.e. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and make them some things as well (I’ll show soon). In the midst of this, somehow my website decided it was revolting against the holidays. So for the last two weeks, I have been working with my programmers to wrangle anything that has gone awry.

The good news is that it helped me make some very important decisions. First is that all of the classes will be going SELF-PACED as of January 1, 2014. Yes! That means you will be able to get Fabric Design, Digital Design, and Paper Design anytime you want. Neat, huh?

To help the self-paced classes, a new forum is available to all self-paced class members. That way you have access to each other and to me. If you already have purchased a class, you already have access to this forum. Feel free to go in and take a look.

Illustrator Basics 2 will be no exception. It went up for registration today, but the class will be available self-paced on January 1, 2014. Be sure you go and check out the syllabus and take advantage of the 20% off on it for the END OF YEAR SALE while you can.

The final cool thing happening to the classes over the next two weeks is a transition of all of our videos to a new system that will be easier for your viewing pleasure. The new streaming video from the site will allow you to watch easily on your mobile devices as well as from your computer. I am hopeful this will resolve any problems we have had in the past trying to troubleshoot the classes and allows students more freedom. This platform will allow you to sneak in a 5 minute video on your phone while you are waiting to pick up kids from school, sitting in an airport, or even if you want to watch the videos on your mobile device as you work on Illustrator on your computer. The possibilities!

Hope you like all the upgrades around here!




Fabric Design Begins Next Week!


class_fabricdesignclassI’ve been working day and night to finish this new class. I even just updated the syllabus to give you even more details on what we are doing in this class. It is 20% off for this session (because of the Grand Opening sale), and I hope you take advantage so I can see you in class! I’m going to show you how I print fabric from home, create repeats for production, get sketches and painting vectorized, and a whole lot more. I just finished editing the videos with Creative Director Jina Barney, designer Amanda Herring, designer Shari Butler, and designer Deena Rutter. Believe me, it’s going to be fun!!!

I know in future sessions I plan on interviewing more designers. Those who take this first session will also get any interviews I do forever after since I plan on just adding them into the class as we do new sessions.

The best is that the Fabric Design class comes on the heels of Quilt Market. I’m heading out tomorrow and trying to wrap up my schoolhouse and make and takes. We are also taking all the audio and camera equipment to do a CGTV episode! Yes, I know it has been a long time, but whewww! It’s been busy!

Instagramming for QM begins NOW!




Template Design Class Begins Next Monday!

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Thankfully, all the sewing patterns were sent to production last week, and I’m well on my way with finishing Carta Bella’s summer releases. By the way, did you see our beach line Beach Boardwalk and our new Giddy Up lines? Serious awesomeness, if I do say so myself.

The sewing patterns you will see in the shop around May 15th. We should have information for retailers and distributors on the site this coming week. Thank you to those that have already emailed and called in for these new patterns! If you are a retailer and need access to the wholesaler site, please email Susan at I am so excited by the response and hyped to show them at Quilt Market! We will have five new patterns—3 doll patterns and 2 beginner sewer patterns. I plan on incorporating the beginner sewing patterns in the Mom and Me Crafting Co. Class that Siri (my nine-year old) and I are teaching this summer. It’s going to be so fun!

Speaking of classes, it’s the last week to register for Template Design! I’m thrilled to be teaching a class like this since it incorporates a number of different techniques that I have never taught online before. I’m especially excited to be showing you how I create interesting shapes like banners and brackets. It’s so useful whether you are just making invited for your kids or making a logo. (FYI, image to the right from my instagram feed this last weekend.)

Will pop in soon with some sneaky peekys!






My First Class!

My first class on my new site starts today—Illustrator Basics CS6 Course 1. It’s a foundation course for all the design courses I plan on teaching. I’m so excited to have everyone in class! We are going to have a good time and I hope everyone learns a lot of Illustrator!

I myself have been working in Illustrator pretty intensively the last month. I am finishing up our five sewing patterns in the hopes of getting them to print by Wednesday so we get them for Quilt Market. If you follow the instagram feed, you’ve had a sneak peek into what I have been up to. Full reveal to come in a couple of weeks.

I’m also trying to finalize our June line for Carta Bella as well as finish our August and Christmas lines. A lot going on around here.

I also just preordered Evening Blooms for our shop. I was thrilled to design Riley Blake’s black and white line. I’m more thrilled to sew with it.

For now I’m enjoying all the sewing projects I have with Remember.

See you in class!



Carina Gardner Shop Opening—March 22, 2013!

I’m in the final stages of finishing our new online shop! We are so excited to be able to offer a number of my products all in one location! That includes my fabrics, sewing patterns, classes, and two new things: digital die cutting files and wallpaper! Yippee!

There is going to be an awesome sale during the first month of this shop along with some really great prizes, freebies, and giveaways. Stay tuned! Be sure and check back here on FRIDAY!


Shop Opening Postponed

Through the many inquiries and emails I have received about classes and products on the new Carina Gardner shop site, I’ve let people know that we were due to open this coming weekend. Sadly, we are pushing that back. We have run into some technical difficulties with the site and we want to make sure it is just right before we open.

I already have three classes set up for this new venture and these will all be pushed back as well. The moment we have a firm opening date, I will let you know the dates on these new classes:

+ Illustrator Basics CS61
+ Template Design
+ Fabric Design

I can’t tell you how excited I am about these new classes! I’ve been working hard to make sure you will get a customized syllabus (depending on what session you take), pdf notes, and more! We have a full schedule of classes due for 2013 and I’m rearing to go!

Other than classes, we will be debuting a number of other fantastic things…more sneaks to come!

In the meantime, I’m going to snuggle my honey and my three little bumpkins for Valentine’s! Hope you do the same!

XOXO, Carina

Retirement Sale at—50% off Illustrator Classes

That’s right! I’m having a Big Ol’ Sale! Several of my classes are on sale for 50% off until Dec 31st, 2013. These classes are being retired to make way for a brand new curriculum I’ve developed for 2013. It’s going to include design and Illustrator driven courses. Just like any designer/instructor, I learn things all the time that make my life easier and I want to share them in these new courses. I’ll have more on this to come! For now, check out these self-paced classes that are 50% off:
Illustrator 101
Illustrator 102
Illustrator 201
Tips for Rockin’ Illustrator
ABC Inspiration

See all 50% off classes>

These classes will be only be available for purchase until Dec 31st, 2012.

I’m also teaching my last session of Art of Digital Design 2. It starts January 21st, 2013. These will not be an individual critique portion of the class taught…instead we will be participating in forum critiques along the way. Syllabi will be available for download on January 1st in preparation for the class. It’s 20% off since I will not be doing the individual critiques.

Tips for Rockin’ Illustrator—New Class Series

Today registration for my newest Illustrator class series opened up—Tips for Rockin’ Illustrator! I’m so excited for this course format because it is more technique-base, and I get to share many of the best and most useful ways for using Illustrator. Most of the techniques shown are new to the Illustrator series (as in NOT shown in Illustrator 101(beginning), 102(drawing), or 201(patterns)).

The brilliance of this series is that even people who have never touched Illustrator before will be able to do the lessons BUT advanced users of the program will STILL find the techniques helpful (and hopefully help create a faster workflow!)

The subscription price for all 20 episodes is $50 and the individual episodes will be just $2.99! It’s a steal-of-a-deal! And if you have any interest in Illustrator, you are going to want the entire series!

Check out the episode list:

1. Building dot and scallop brushes
2. Designing patterns using the Distort and Transform
3. Illustrating a bird silhouette using shapes
4. Designing a film strip photo frame
5. Using shapes and type to build a simple card
6. Creating a chore chart
7. Moving work between Illustrator and Photoshop
8. Manipulating type
9. Creating a calendar mask/template
10. Creating symbols
11. Using the scissors tool
12. Creating brushes from lines
13. Designing banner templates
14. Creating a perfectly spaced photo montage
15. Designing simple flowers from the pattern brush
16. Warping and twirling
17. Grouping vs. uniting objects
18. Illustrating a simple ladybug
19. Using clipping masks in Illustrator
20. Using the glyph tool

Each episode video is between 6 to 12 minutes long with detailed pdf notes. The hope is that you will be able to master the technique or project in less than an hour.

Also at, my Designer’s One-on-One Workshop began today. This is basically a a mentoring program to help those who are venturing into the digital, paper, fabric, and marketing world clean up their portfolio and get some insights into what an art director wants to see in their work. It’s basically set up as two sessions—the first is a verbal critique and the second is a phone call.

I love personal interaction with my students and it’s one of the things I miss from university life…seeing people’s work and getting excited about all the bubbling creativity! It was nice to get a splash of that at Designer Workshop this year!

I hope you are having a fabulous Monday (despite it being Monday)!



Paper and Digital Designer Workshop Review February 2012

This last weekend was the Paper and Digital Designer Workshop. I obviously wasn’t thinking straight when I scheduled it the weekend after CHA. Despite the back-to-back scheduling, we had a fabulous time and it went off without a hitch.

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter how many classes I have taught, I always get a little nervous about getting in front of a group. Thankfully, the group dealt with all the Illustrator techniques I, ahem, made them participate in relatively well!

I was so impressed with the doodling, papers, textures, techniques, and elements that these ladies came out with during this workshop. (I was equally amazed at the amount of food I managed to eat during the two days.) The group was a wide range from beginners to industry designers. You’ll recognize some faces and names from this group (and might I suggest some up-and-coming designers?). Though I was the teacher, I learned so much from them as they shared their tips and tricks.

A huge thank you to Riley Blake who donated fabric to the swag bags. We had a number of Riley Blake designers in attendance, which made the event that much more fun! I also need to thank Susan Haglund for taking all of these pictures over the two days of the workshop.

Lots of thinking, thinking, thinking (picture below). Mostly of how we could all get Diet Coke IVs inserted. Since Roxanne came up with the idea, I’m expecting a patent from her soon. You’ve gotta love Samantha Walker’s monster computer screen (she was banished to the back row)!

A few of the ladies posing in one of the Little America Hotel Rooms.

The picture above looks pretty serious. That’s the only reason I included it.

I know that all these pictures give the illusion that we had our heads stuck in our computers the whole time. However, there was a lot of unruly behavior from the blonds at the back of the room (aka mischief-makers assistant Susan Haglund and Heidi Swapp). It seemed like every time I left the room to do a portfolio review with someone, those two had everyone in an uproar.

Other surprises? That Samantha Walker can tell a great embarrassing story on command.

We had lots of locals (Deena Rutter was in-and-out since her boys were battling it out for the hockey state championships.) as well participants from as far away as Canada (Thank you for the maple syrup, Melanie Ritchie!). Meg Stocks, a mentor at, came all the way from Atlanta (I do love my southern girls!).

I was also thankful that Pam Meeks and Rachel McPeek (do you like how their last names almost rhyme?) made it in right before the Colorado snowstorm hit. I was also grateful that it didn’t make it’s way up to Utah! Kathy Sierra-Fernandez came from Washington and became our resident Illustrator expert (we all learned a thing or two on how she magically builds patterns!). Roxanne Bergener of Close to My Heart cracked us up with her wit and  dazzled us with her industry experience.

The picture above is of Audrey Hanks (traveled from Wendover) and Christine Chodil(traveled from Chicago). It was fun to chat with both since they came from your non-typical designer backgrounds (Christine’s degree is in Musical Theater and Audrey has a MA in Mathematics).

Heidi Swapp gives her two cents on our typography exercise. We will certainly take her two cents along with any other change she has on her.

And who knows what I am explaining here? Obviously something to do with the itsy bitsy spider.

Don’t let the cool appearance of this one fool you (Kasey, Casey, Kasie, Casee…who knows how to spell her name?). She’ll slice you with her witty comments. And putting her next to Heidi wasn’t our smartest move.

You gotta love the work of Lori Whitlock. I just felt lucky that she came!

For our final dinner, we let a few guys crash our girl party. I’m pretty sure that I’m saying something extremely important here (photo below). Thank goodness for that pretty damask pattern behind me.

First off, there was no possible way to shrink down the picture of this slice of cake (scroll down, it’s hard to miss). Secondly, I thought it best for you to see the size of it in relation to Susan’s head.

Yes, we ate like that for many meals the entire two days. And yes, I was sick afterwards.

Lori Whitlock’s husband Doug, Eric Swapp of, and Jody Hunt of Echo Park overseeing our picture-taking.

In review—we ate a lot, designed a bit, had a number of “aha” moments (even me!), and had a pretty fantastic time.

Cheers to girl-design-time,


Huge Jessica Sprague Sale! is FOUR! To celebrate, they’re throwing a HUGE Birthday Bash & Summer Sale. From June 13-26, you can save 20% off of every self-paced class (think Illustrator, hehe), and 35% off of ALL digital products. In addition, grab all 27 episodes of Jessica’s amazing Photoshop Friday tutorials for just $1 each before they’re retired on June 26! As part of the celebration, starting on June 24, you can participate in an incredible 47-person blog hop (including a great freebie from me!), picking up a sweet digital freebie at each stop! Best of all, on June 26 Jessica will be making a special announcement of a brand new class coming up in July. We only put our site on sale two times a year, so don’t miss out on this GREAT savings opportunity! For all the info on the Summer Sale, Photoshop Fridays, blog hop, and the new class, just click here!

Off to finish off my new pattern! Be in next week with my freebie!

Hugs! Carina