This book is pretty and has lots of colorful images in it. There, you know the only thing I like about it. If you expect to learn how to use Illustrator on your own using this book, save your money and buy another one. It is confusing, poorly written, lacks proper directions, and provides neither a quick nor easy way to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator.
A quick note on the numerous glowing reviews. Note that many of these ratings are from students using the book to supplement a course. As purely a reference guide, this book is not bad. However, I bought this book "Learn Illustrator the quick and easy way" (as it says right on the cover) on my own. If you want a book to teach you how to get "started quick", avoid this "quick start" book. It's a waste of money.
After buying this book, I've come to find some other very well written books that are by far superior to this one that I can recommend. No, I'm not some marketer. If you don't believe me, head down to your nearest book store, pull these books side by side and you'll immediately see what I mean. I wish someone had asked me to do the same. It would have saved a lot of heartache.
Try Adobe Illustrator CS4 Bible by Ted Alspach. Read the section in Chapter 2 titled "Picasso Meets Illustrator" and you'll see what I mean. Also good is the Adobe Illustrator CS4 How-Tos by David Karlins. Just compare how he lays out the different document profiles on page 2 with the way Weinman and Lourekas do on page 3 of theirs. (It took two of them to get it that wrong).
My biggest complaint about this book is that it fails to teach at all. The book reads like a series of definitions of functions rather than tell you how to use the tool. To illustrate my points (pardon the pun... I couldn't resist) I've listed a few complaints below:
1. Images in the book are not accessible: Purchase of this book gives you access to the authors' "private" lesson files. One would imagine you'd have access to the image files used in the book to follow along with the various lessons. Good luck. No explanation of where these images can be found is provided. For example, on page 7, the book has an image of four playing cards, all aces. The lesson uses this image to show you how to add an artboard to your document. The instructions fail to tell you where this document is. In fact, you'll be hard pressed to find any access to these pretty pictures.
2. Poor directions: On page 3 'Creating a new document', the book states "From the New Document Profile menu, choose a preset for the medium in which you plan to output your file.". As a PC user, I'm looking in the menu at the top of the screen for some "New Document Profile" menu. There is not one. They mean 'drop-down list box'. And what the heck medium do I plan to output my file??? I'm just trying to draw something!! This book should be "guiding me" by saying, "Select 'Print' in the 'New Document Profile' listbox and click 'OK'".
3. Q: When do I get to draw?? A: Page 80!!! Yeah, you don't even learn how to draw freehand until chapter 7!! There's nothing quick about this quick start. In fact, you'll spend a lot of time reading painstakingly detailed tersely written prose about everything you don't need to know right away before you even draw anything at all. Without the context of a basic drawing, many of these concepts were not clear to me at all.
4. Spaghetti writing: Nearly anything you try to read about will reference a technical term you'll need to look up somewhere else. This term will usually also contain more jargon you'll need to look up and on and on until you've flipped through the entire book.
Example 1: page 7: Under "To add an artboard to your document", step 2 it says:
"Choose the artboard tool (Shift-O).
On the Control panel, click Document Setup, then click Edit Artboards."
I spent a long time a) trying to figure out what the "Control Panel" was and b) looking for the dag blasted Document setup button. The control panel is not described anywhere up to this point. Turns out, the control panel disappears once you hit Shift-O. The book is trying to show you two ways of doing the same thing. The layout of this is not clear.
Example 2: Page 72: "When you release the mouse, the rectangle or oval will be selected, and the current fill and stroke settings will be applied to it." Go to the index to see where you can learn about the Fill and Stroke settings.... Fills, Fill Patterns, and Fill Colors aren't covered until page 333, 131, and 111 respectively. That's right. The basic concepts of filling a shape with a color of your choice aren't covered in detail until much later. Even then, stroke or fill are only tangentially discussed as options in some other lesson. Trying to find what you need is extremely difficult.
5. Extra extra dry writing: This book reads like a dry college textbook on a subject that could be fascinating and engaging if it were written by someone who write as well as they were passionate about their subject. Example page 184: "If you target a layer or group, a "Contents" listing also appears on the Appearance panel. Double-click a Contents listing to display attributes that apply to the whole layer; or click a Group listing to display group attributes."
Maybe I'm being harsh on the book, but I am in the IT industry and I own a plethora of technology manuals. This one has probably been the most frustrating to try and learn from.