Simple³ Adobe Illustrator tutorial for noobs

I recently started playing around with Adobe Illustrator and since I rarely find tutorials, that are made for people like me (noobs who just want to draw simple, cute stuff) I decided to share my own experiences with you (plus a friend kinda requested this lol).
First, I do recommend this one on deviantART. It shows you the basics for kawaii things based on simple shapes. So if you're going to do Hello Kitty styled stuff, this is the tutorial for you.
What I show you here is doodling with the brush tool and color the result in different ways. It's a quick and simple way to make things if you don't want to just build shapes together. But please note, that I work with a newer version (CS 5) so if you use an older version you may do not have all the tools I use.
Well, here we go:

Step 1: Draw something.
Yep this step is pretty simple and you don't have to be perfect here. The lines you make will be smoothed automatically and you can also change everything you want.
I made a cat. Of course. Cats are cool. I prefer to use the brush tool but I think you could use the pencil tool as well. I have to admit, that I didn't figure out the differences between them yet.
flyer1 brush tool
flyer1 pencil tool
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Step 2: Adjust your lines.
When you select your lines with the selection tool, you can see, that they contain several white spots. These are anchor points. By pulling and rotating them, you can modify your lines until you're satisfied. When you need additional anchor points, you can add them by holding down your left mouse button on the pen tool and choose the "add anchor point" tool. There's also an option to delete anchor points if you need to.
flyer1 selection tool
flyer1 direct selection tool
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Step 3: Change the brush style (optional)
Go to window > brushes to open the brushes window. Now you can add a nice (and maybe more natural) touch to your selected lines. I doesn't look always good, but you should still give it a try.
I recommend the artistic brushes. Open them by clicking on the symbol on the bottom left of the brushes window (the one that looks like two folders) or browse all brushes with the two arrows next to it.
For this one I go with the standard brushes. I just made them thicker. You can change the thickness on the stroke panel (window > stroke) under weight. Also you can make the caps and corners of your lines round, what gives a cuter appearance.

Step 4: Coloring

There's more than one way to color your stuff. I wouldn't call any of them perfect. What works for you, depents on your lines, your version of the program and your method of working, I guess.
The first and maybe the easiest is just to use a fill color. But your lines have to be simple and not splitted up to get a good result. Here it worked fine for the cat but not for the banner.
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Second and also easy way is to use the live paint bucket. You find it by holding down your left mouse key on the shape builder tool. You may have to choose what you want to color first, by using the live paint selection tool (you'll get a message about it). Keep clicking until everything you want to color looks screened and then you can easily fill all your stuff with the bucket afterwards.

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Another cool thing is the blob brush. I didn't use it here but still want to mention it. It works as easy as the brush tool, but instead of creating a line, it creates a shape of what you draw. so you can adjust your coloring like your lines. I think it's a great way to add shadows to your images. But older versions unfortunately don't have it (I think its CS4 and higher)
flyer1 blob brush tool

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Step 5: Finish
Basically were done here. What I like to add a more loosey-goosey look, is that I seperate the lines from the coloring (like copy everything, delete the color from one and the strokes from the other one and bring the colors to back) and then move the colors a little bit away from the lines like it's sloppy colored.

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Sooo I hope I could help you a little bit to take your first step into the awesome world of Illustrator. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Maybe I can even answer them. Or maybe not.

And there's more: you can also find me on Pinterest now. Yep I jumped on another social bandwagon. Hahaaah~