Best book, website, or training for Illustrator 'rules of thumb'

Hey everyone,
To give some background I am terrible at art (no eye for it). Though I have recently been trying to learn Illustrator with a book and some online training videos (lynda). I am grasping some basics concepts on 'How to use the program' and what everything does.
Though since I never took any graphic design course (I'm an engineer) I don't know what types of rules of thumb there are for making basic figures or pictures. What font is best? What type of arrows should I use? Width of stroke? Those are just basic examples of the type of questions I am always asking. So how do I take my basic knowledge of the actual program, and learn how to use those correctly?
I'm an engineer making fairly basic diagrams or drawings for my research, but a slick drawing can really make you stand out. So that is where I'm coming from, I'm also a total begineer so please keep that in mind, I'm looking for more basic advice at the moment. For example below is one of the first drawings I have made in illustrator. Scientific work doesn't need to be too flashy, but any sources/locations would be great.
Thank you so much in advance for helping a terrible artist!

Hi there,
There are a multitude of things you can do to foster your artistic intuition.
1) Google. If you do a quick search for the "principles of design" you should come up with explanations and examples of just that. Here are a few links I came up with:
- GD Basics gives you a brief rundown on design principles and elements as well as exercise prompts you can use to practice and apply what you've learned.
- Learn the Basics is not nearly as elegant as the site above, but gives you real-world examples to show how art and design principles are applied.
2) Take a class. I'm not sure if this is something that could possibly fit into your schedule, but you can take a basic art class at a community college or similar organization and it will help you tremendously. Being in a class will not only force you to practice and learn but you will have the support of your peers, which are generally at all skill levels.
3) Find art and design you like, and take inspiration. I don't mean copy, but if you find an image where you appreciate the line weight, or the contrast of colors, or what have you, save it to an inspiration folder on your desktop. Figuring out what is effective and tasteful is something that takes time and lots of exposure to outside sources.
Please let me know if I can help any further!
Erica

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