Hello. I am new to Illustrator and am very confused by art board size and how to decide what size board I need. I am creating vector cartoons. Does the size of my art board make any difference at all in terms of what my final printed size can be? And if not, can you help me understand why I would choose one size board over another?
If you create vector cartoons, they will be scalable to any size.
But if you know at what size they will print, make that print size the size of your artboards.
Thanks Ton. I do understand that vector cartoons will size up and down for printing without problems so what I'm confused about is why then would you suggest starting with an artboard at the size I plan to print at. I just don't understand the relation one has to the other.
Look at artboards as an equivalent to pieces of paper, some can be used to sketch ideas, some can be used to create the final artwork.
"why then would you suggest starting with an artboard at the size I plan to print at."
That is because you can only downscale theoretically. Practically the resolution of the output device limits what you can do. If your lines get so thin that they cannot be reproduced anymore, then you have a problem. Same goes for any other details.
Correct, scaling at print time can give you surprises. Design and preview at 100% gives you the best possible preview of the printed result.
While vectors can be scaled/printed at any size, the size you make them (and the size of the arboard) does tell someone what size you intend them to be used at.
For example, if you make an illustration on a postcard sized artboard, that's the size it would be when you import it into InDesign. While they could scale it up/down with no loss of quality, it starts at the size you made it in Illustrator.
Also, if you want to make something 2in x 3in, building it at the correct size will let you make things an exact size using the Transform controls or when you click to make a precise shape (as opposed to dragging to make the shape).
One more example, if you're creating art that will be animated, it's ideal to create it at the same size as the final video (1920x1080 for HD for instance) so that when you bring it into After Effects, the compositions that are created will be the proper size.
In summary, working at the correct size is a best practice... but if you don't make it at the correct size, vectors will allow it to be fixed without loss of quality (but it does create more work).
I hope that helps.