Since its release, Adobe’s Illustrator has grown to become the designer’s right hand man when it comes to creating premier vector graphics and elements. There’s so much you can do with the tool that it can be difficult to know where to start.
Here, we round up some of the best Adobe Illustrator tutorials, covering everything from illustration to logo design, adding depth to your typography and much more. With so many to choose from, you’re sure to find a project to inspire you!
Setting up a new document
In this video tutorial presented by Angie Taylor you’ll learn how to set up a new Illustrator document. She looks at options in the New Document dialog box like Width and Height, Color Mode, and Transparency Grid.
Using the Selection tools
This tutorial explores the various options for selecting items in Illustrator, including the Selection and Direct Selection tools, the Select Similar options, and the Layers panel.
Essentials of the Pen and Pencil tools
The Pen and Pencil tools are very useful but require a little practice to get comfortable with. This video tutorial explains how to start using the Pen tool to create clouds and the Pencil tool to create hills.
Creating objects with the Shape tools
In this video tutorial you’ll see how to use Illustrator’s shape tools to create primitive shapes that you can use as the basis for objects. You’ll also learn how to use the Shape Builder tool to combine shapes.
10 Things Beginners Want To Know How To Do
In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite video podcast, Terry White shows you how to get Started with Adobe Illustrator CS6.
5 tips for drawing in Illustrator
In this video, artist Mordy Golding explains five tips to make drawing easier in Adobe Illustrator CS5. These are great tips for beginners as well as experienced users that are new to CS5.
Use a column grid to align your typography
Mark Bloom walks through how to create perfectly aligned typography using a column-grid system for guidance.
Get to know the toolbox
Create a colour group with Live Color
As enjoyable as it might be, choosing a colour palette for a new brand or design can prove time-consuming. In this Illustrator tutorial, Lee Barnes demonstrates how you can use the Live Color tool to create a colour group for a logo or brand mark.
How to use the all-new Pencil Tool in Illustrator
The revamped Pencil tool in Illustrator CC offers a new way to draw vector paths. These videos from Adobe show you how to use it.
Examples and tips for using Illustrator’s Warp tools
The warp tools, also known as the liquify tools, are not dissimilar to Photoshop’s Liquify tool but instead are set out into seven different categories. Master their art with this Illustrator tutorial.
Create custom brushes in Illustrator CS6
Illustrator comes with a selection of default brushes but it’s really easy to create your own too. This tutorial explains how…
Creating graphs with Adobe Illustrator
If you’re unfamiliar with the process of creating graphs in Adobe Illustrator, this article will help in giving you some insight into the work-flow. You’ll be a pro in no time!
Gradient opacity masks in Illustrator
This quick video tutorial will show how you to use a basic gradient as an opacity mask over text. Once you know this method, you can utilise it in different ways to benefit your designs – as an easy-to-use alternative to a clipping mask, for example.
Bring a fluorescent transparency to life in Illustrator
Using Illustrator with finesse and perfecting the finer details can take practice. This tutorial looks at a selection of transparency and gradient tools and uses them to create a lifelike but contemporary animal study. The techniques covered can be applied to any subject matter that requires a striking dynamic look or an elegant subtle shine.
How to edit drawings in Illustrator with Image Trace
Retain the hand-drawn, linear quality of your artwork in Adobe Illustrator. Artist Anna Wray shows you how to get to grips with the Image Trace tool.
Add texture in Illustrator
Add depth and texture in Illustrator
Adding extra depth to an image can be a quick process that utilises some simple tools. In this Illustrator tutorial, Jeffrey Bowman explains how to use grids, gradients and textures to add depth to illustrations.
Create your own leather texture in Illustrator
This Illustrator tutorial shows you how to create a leather texture of different colours. This is a basic tutorial to follow and will take around 30 minutes to complete.
Adding texture to your vector illustrations (video)
Adding texture to your vector is a great way to give it more dimension and perspective. In this easy to follow video, Illustrator expert Alexandra Cecilio explains how to get the most out of textures.
Get a vector sponge texture using Illustrator
Today designers and illustrators strive to add that retro/vintage style to their work with textures. This Illustrator tutorial covers the process of creating a cute kids-style illustration complete with a vector sponge stamp effect.
Realistic sand and pebble texture in Illustrator
In this Illustrator tutorial you will learn how to create random vector sand and pebble textures that could come in handy. It’s a pretty simple process that shouldn’t take longer than an hour.
Create detailed illustrations
Create a semi-realistic lifebuoy graphic
In this Illustrator tutorial, you start with a bunch of concentric circles and some basic vector shape building techniques. Once you create the starting shapes you’ll continue with some Pathfinder options, several Warp and Gaussian Blur effects plus some basic masking techniques.
Create a detailed scanner illustration
In the following Adobe Illustrator tutorial you will learn how to create a detailed scanner illustration. You’ll start with a bunch of simple shapes, some basic vector shape building techniques and a host of effects.
Create a printer illustration
Here, you will learn how to create a detailed printer illustration using simple rectangle shapes. Some basic vector shape building techniques will come in handy for this one.
Convert a drawing into vector artwork
This 45-minute video explores how to convert a scanned drawing into vector artwork in Adobe Illustrator.
Create a Playstation Controller in Illustrator
This Illustrator tutorial is less focused on drawing skills and more into the tools, so this shouldn’t be that hard for beginners. You execute it using a mouse or even a track pad.
Design cool, scalable pop art with Illustrator
In this Illustrator tutorial, Nils Davey, from Binary The Brain, guides you through the process of making pop art-style vector graphics.
Pretty patterns in Illustrator
Create a repeating pattern in Illustrator
In this 15-minute Illustrator tutorial, Andy Buckle explains how to use the new pattern-creation tools to create a seamlessly repeating design for use in your websites.
How to create seamless patterns in Illustrator CS6
This quick tip utilises how you can use the pattern feature in order to construct seamless vector patterns. This Illustrator tutorial is a great starting point for gaining an understanding of how the new pattern tool feature works.
Create a retro triangular pattern
Follow this step by step Illustrator tutorial to create the popular retro style pattern design made up of lots of colourful squares and triangles. The process is quite simple, making this a good tutorial for newcomers.
Breathe life into your pattern swatches
Becca Allen shows you how you can use a few tools in Illustrator to turn a flat vector pattern swatch into a 3D object.
Happy Tree Friends characters in Illustrator
Create this softer, cuter image of the hit series with this simple Illustrator tutorial. You’ll be using the pencil and pen tool as well as ellipse tool for this creation.
Create a Cool Vector Yeti Character in Illustrator
Follow this step-by-step Illustrator tutorial to create a cool vector Yeti character. You’ll use as many basic shapes as possible to achieve that quirky style of illustration, then bring the character to life with a palette of cold colours.
Create Courage, the cowardly dog
This tutorial is half a case-study and half a tutorial, so you may notice some fast pacing on some parts. But if you’re used to Marcos Torres’ illustration tutorials, you’ll be fine!
Create a cute snail character
Here, you’ll learn how to draw a snail using tools such as the Pen Tool, Selection Tool, Direct Selection Tool, Ellipse Tool and Gradient Tool. Some shapes will be created with the help of the Pathfinder panel.
Create a badass hip hop character
For this Illustrator tutorial (whose title is self-explanatory), Marcos Torres recommend that you install the San Locisco, The Black Bureau and Ghetto Wolves fonts. You can get them at Legacy of Defeat.
Create a retro fox illustration
Use basic shapes, stylish colours and the Warp Effect tool to create this adorable fox illustration in Illustrator. This retro illustration tutorial’s a great project for beginners.
How to create a vintage type postcard
Follow this in-depth look at the process of designing type for a vintage style postcard. This Adobe Illustrator tutorial delves into clipping masks, using bitmap images, working with layers and type effects.
Create detailed vintage typography
In this Illustrator tutorial you’ll discover how to customise a typeface and then use Photoshop to create a stunning vintage detailed typographic design.
Create a ’50s ad poster in Illustrator
Get vintage inspired with this ’50s Ad poster. You’ll be creating images as well as vintage typography.
Make your colours pop
Create a colourful parrot using gradients in Adobe Illustrator
Here, you’ll learn how to create volume in vector illustrations using a few colours per object. Bring a sketch of a beautiful tropical bird to life using vectors and a handy colouring process. Summer is officially here, so celebrate with this colourful tutorial.
Create a colourful stylised portrait
This tutorial focuses on creating a vibrant, poppy portrait in Adobe Illustrator, using bright colours, transparent gradients, and a sense of whimsy, you’ll be constructing facial features and candy hair in no time.
Create a vibrant peacock
In this tutorial you will get to know one of the most useful Adobe Illustrator features – the Appearance panel – and draw a fabulous colourful peacock with the help of various effects. The Appearance panel helps us to add as many fills and strokes as we need, applying various effects and arranging them in the necessary order, all applied to one object.
Draw a city portrait using Adobe Illustrator
This is a useful Illustrator tutorial for any graphic designer, as you’ll be suing some advanced techniques to get an amazing drawing portrait. Not to worry though, you’ll only be using basic tools.
Get gamey with Mario and Sonic
Create the Sonic the Hedgehog opening
This is a more advanced Illustrator tutorial, so a previous knowledge of the software (and the character) will be helpful. It can all be crafted using a mouse, although using a tablet will make the process quicker.
Create Super Mario’s head
This Illustrator tutorial is for beginners but it’s a great way to practise your skills in the software. You’ll be creating the Mario face using some simple and easy to create shapes.
How to create retro graphics in Illustrator
This Illustrator tutorial takes a look at how to create a T-shirt graphic (pictured above) with a cool, retro feel. There’s only a few simple steps. Form simple vector shapes with the Pen tool and then add textures to create that retro aesthetic.
How to make vintage vector textures
Learn how to use halftone patterns and to add a retro, hand-printed effect in this Illustrator tutorial. You’ll be one step closer to mastering the Illustrator Brush libraries.
How to create an elegant graphic illustration
See how you can strip a concept back to basics and create versatile graphic shapes that work in different contexts. This Illustrator tutorial will help you improve your skills with the Pen and Pathfinder tools. It will also show you how best to work with bold, simple colour palettes.
Create abstract illustrations
How to add depth to abstract illustrations
This is one of the more effective Illustrator tutorials we’ve come across. Focusing on the Ellipse and Lasso tools, see how you can create a sense of depth in your designs by using drop shadows. The result? An elaborate, eye-catching and abstract illustration.
How to achieve a handmade print effect
Learn how to import textures into Illustrator; use custom presets in Live Trace; and successfully apply textured effects to vector images. You’ll, be pleased with the results.
How to create atmospheric digicollages
Ever tried a digital collage or ‘digicollage’? Today is as good a day as any. Follow BECHA as she walks through a process for developing a distinct aesthetic that combines textures, photos and elements.
Create vector icons in a flash
How to create a vector smiley icon
If you’ve ever wanted to create your own set of emoticons, this is the perfect place to start! The Illustrator tutorial is for beginners to intermediate and it will work for CS3 and up.
How to create a television icon
This easy step by step Illustrator tutorial by Ryan of Vectips shows you how to create a retro television icon just with some basic shapes and gradients.
Working with 3D objects and transparencies to make a vector Coca-Cola design
If you’re already familiar with the 3D effects in Illustrator, then this is a great way to test those skills and take them up a notch. Here, you’ll learn how transparencies can make all the difference.
Spark some creativity with these fireworks rockets
Here you’ll learn how to create a neat icon of Fireworks Rockets. 3D Effect is a convenient tool for creating this kind of illustration, but we have to be aware of the fact that 3D effects can mess up our illustration. This tutorial will show you how to avoid that.
Create sketchy weather icons in Illustrator
Here you’ll draw sketchy weather icons on a paper note with a clip. First you’ll illustrate a background with the Appearance panel and then you’ll create weather symbols and a paper note with a clip before finishing it off with some text.
Give your graphics some edge
How to create a trippy kaleidoscopic effect
This is a Photoshop and Illustrator tutorial double-header. Join Spanish illustrator Marti Sati as he shows you how to how to add a sense of motion to your work by combining vector illustrations with Photoshop’s Pen tool. By the end you’ll have a head-turning kaleidoscopic effect.
How to give your graphics a glossy shine
Luke O’Neill demonstrates how you can quickly and easily add a layer of gloss to various graphic elements. Think slick, shiny graphic buttons and icons…
How to create a line-based vector portrait
In another one of our favourite Illustrator tutorials, Ruslan Khasanov shows you how to manipulate vector line work and gradients to bring an unusual sense of movement to your work.
Create a pearl brush from gradient meshes
Follow this tutorial by Iaroslav Lazunov and by controlling the transparency of gradient meshes with the help of blending modes, and by adjusting color transition between mesh points and changing its opacity, you’ll make a brush that you can use to create an impressive pearl necklace in seconds!
Using Adobe Illustrator CS6
How to get started with Illustrator CS6
In this Adobe Creative Suite podcast, Terry White shows the 10 things beginners will want to know how to do to get started with Illustrator CS6.
Adding gradients to stroke lines
Brought to you by Lynda.com, you’ll get to grips with some of the new tools in Adobe Illustrator CS6. The video will show you how to apply a gradient swatch to a stroke that is surrounding an object.
Master artwork techniques with Adobe Illustrator CS6
Here, you’ll learn how to master artwork techniques in the new realms of CS6. This handy video tutorial is easy to follow and uses processes that are simple enough for beginners.
Using the Pattern Options tool
Another great Illustrator tutorial brought to you by Lynda.com, which shows you how to create repeatable patterns in different styles and configurations using the new Pattern Options tool.
Work with lettering
How to create isometric grid-based 3D lettering
This is makes a great weekend project. Follow along as Steven Bonner works through the process of building a grid that will form the basis of your design. He then shows you how to draw, colour and light your letters to create an amazing 3D architectural scene.
How to create abstract characters
Celebrated Russian illustrator Zutto reveals how you can make a balanced character composition and add shading using vectors.
How to integrate characters into your work
We’ve got more Illustrator tutorials than you can shake a vector stick at and we’re adding new ones all the time. In this one, Junichi Tsuneoka explains how to create a unique character, build up its background and incorporating custom type to make a stunning composition.
Text effect tutorials
Create a bending 3D text effect in Adobe Illustrator
In this Illustrator tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a bending 3D text effect that will make any design stand out. There’s plenty of skills to soak up here!
How to create a delicious chocolate text effect
Sweeten up your design with this tasty text effect. You’ll need to be at an intermediate level as you will be using the Blend Tool; effects like Roughen and Chrome; different Blending modes and also the 3D Extrude and Bevel effect to create perfect chocolate squares.
Create a marker text effect
Get creative with this cute Illustrator tutorial. It involves intermediate vector shape building skills so make sure you’ve got those down before you go any further!
Create a BBC-inspired mosaic text effect
Inspired by BBC1’s mosaic idents – recently given a 2014 refresh – this tutorial by Andrei Marius shows you how to create a colourful text effect made up of lots of little pieces.
Work smarter and faster
How to create shapes FASTER in Illustrator
Do you ever wish that you could work faster? In this Illustrator tutorial, Jonny Wan shows you how he created a promotional poster for Ford. See how the Pathfinder panel played a key part in speeding up his workflow, ultimately giving him more time to incorporate client feedback and amendments.
Accelerate your branding workflow with Illustrator’s artboards
Graphic designer Andy Cooke explains how to make full use of Illustrator’s artboards to easily construct and edit a range of printed branding material for a company.
Make the most of Illustrator CC’s Touch Type tool
Computer Arts’ Jo Gulliver reveals how to edit and manipulate live text on the fly, using Illustrator CC’s new Touch Type tool.
How to build experiments into your workflow
Experimentation is key to remaining creative (and sane). Find out how to create artwork that has a solid foundation, yet still enables you to mess around along the way. This process might even speed up your workflow and help you get better results in the other Illustrator tutorials.
How to merge vectors with photographic imagery
Learn how to merge a few found images and to mix them in with vector shapes to create a unique editorial illustration.
Create complex and comic graphic design
Create a comic book style character
William Beachy shows you how his company created this comic book style flyer. Starting with a pencil sketch and then imported into Illustrator, you should be a dab hand at drawing.
Creating complex style illustrations: a process
Heinritzh Sales explains the process of creating a complex style drawing in Illustrator. It will consist of a number of layers and a fair few steps, so you’ll need to be at an intermediate level for this one.
Master dynamic gradient techniques
Many images that look complicated are really made using simple effects. Get to grips with gradients by layering and building up small, straightforward segments, always varying them to prevent monotony.
Texturise your vectors
How to design a headline typeface
Whether it’s for an ad campaign, product, publication or identity, a unique typeface can help define a brand, message and tone of voice – giving the client something unique. In this Illustrator tutorial we’ll look at the creative process of designing a new display typeface.
How to work with raster effects in Illustrator
Used sparingly, raster effects can help you achieve results in your Illustrator vectors that you’d normally have to cross over to Photoshop to get. If you experiment with them, they can add a dramatic difference and new dimension to your images.
How to add textures to vectors using Smart Objects
In this Illustrator tutorial, see how Amy Martino designs a fashion illustration (using a vector drawing created in Illustrator) that’s editable as a Smart Object in Photoshop. As a bonus, she also explains how to create and apply textures to Photoshop images to add character.
Get it right with colour and graphic assets
How to use Adobe’s Kuler engine with Illustrator
The right colour palette can turn a good image into a great image, but it isn’t always easy to select the best combination for your work. Learn how to get the most out of Adobe’s Kuler, a web-hosted community-based colour scheme editor.
How to make the most of your graphic assets
Whether it’s vector experimentation in Illustrator, manipulation in Photoshop or tinkering around with a 3D application, if you make something interesting then make sure that you categorise it and keep it. You might be able to reuse it (or elements of it) in other projects. Here Anthony Neil Dart demonstrates a practical way to utilise your graphic asset library.
How to layer up vectors for unique effects
Tom Mac reveals how to create a drip-effect portrait using Illustrator’s Pen tool and some clever object layering techniques.
Abstract and experimental effects
Explore 3D papercut aesthetics with vectors
Steven Bonner has done some cracking Illustrator tutorials for our friends at Computer Arts. In this one, he shows you how to layer an image for a realistic 3D effect and how your use of colour can increase relevance and impact.
How to create slick abstracts with a limited palette
In this Illustrator tutorial, graphic designer Dines reveals how to create an imposing mixed-media image using limited shades.
How to design an experimental typeface
In another one of our favourite Illustrator tutorials, learn how to use the Liquify tool creatively; how to combine stock imagery with custom marks; and to create an illustration from type.
Play around with ambigrams and logos
How to create an ambigram-style logo
Graphic artist and ambigram pioneer John Langdon reveals how to bring rotational symmetry to your work.
How to create a custom lettered logo
In this typography tutorial, Designer Chandler Van De Water shows you how to use Adobe Illustrator CS5 to creatively manipulate letterforms in combination with unique shapes and negative space. The result? A solid, recognisable logo mark.
How to use Illustrator’s Appearance panel (video)
Watch how Steven Bonner harnesses the power of the Appearance panel in Adobe Illustrator. See how easy it is? It’s a wonder we ever worried about it.
Create an illustrative monogram
A monogram is a symbol made by combining and overlapping two or more letters; it can be straightforward and functional or a lot more ornamental in appearance. Here Chris Comella demonstrates how he made a monogram for his colleague’s business card.
Make your creations STAND OUT
How to make your type stand out
Alex Gill walks through how to combine Illustrator’s 3D capabilities with Photoshop work. Learn how to manage layers more efficiently and the best ways to add subtle lighting techniques.
How to use Illustrator’s 3D capabilities like a pro
Steven Bonner explains how to add a new dimension to your work with Illustrator’s powerful 3D tools.
How to design a mixed media portrait in Photoshop and Illustrator
Learn how to combine photos and custom artwork with style. This tutorial walks you through using your digital camera and scanner, how to introduce Smart Object/Smart Filter workflow, and playing with Illustrator’s Warp tools.
Create The Avengers text effect
Make your text leap off the page – in the style of Marvel’s logo for The Avengers – by creating a path in Illustrator, then importing it to Photoshop and applying effects and texture.
Branding and bristle brush techniques
How to create a custom lettered logo design
Chandler Van De Water shows you how to manipulate the glyphs from a font to create a unique, appropriate letterform style.
How to create monstrous characters with Illustrator’s Bristle Brush
Top illustrator and web designer Paddy Donnelly shows us how to use Illustrator CS5’s Bristle Brush feature to create monsters…
Design a branding solution in Illustrator
Sebastin Litmanovich tells you how to create a set of vector icons using a logo as a starting point. You’ll learn how to combine and rearrange the shapes of an existing logo or typeface into new forms.
How to use Illustrator: Blend tool tips for beginners
Steven Bonner looks at how to use Illustrator’s Blend tool to create smooth and curved blends, blend by specific distances and to blend different transparencies and shapes.
Keep regularly checking back for more updated tutorials and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.