The ultimate guide to Adobe Illustrator

Whether you're an experienced user of Illustrator or just starting out, our experts have handy tips and advice for you.

Of all Adobe's tool, Illustrator is increasingly the one we write about most often, and for good reason. Indisputably the industry standard tool for vector drawing and illustration, it's used by a wide variety of creative professionals including editorial illustrators, identity designers, textile and pattern designers, UI designers, motion artists, web designers and many others.

With a broad feature set, Illustrator has always long an incredibly versatile tool for creating vector graphics are infinitely scaleable and in most cases relatively lightweight. And in the last few years cool new features added to Illustrator CS6 and the new Illustrator CC 2014 have consolidated the software as the go-to tool for pro designers.

In this post we've grouped together the best articles, tutorials and tips features on Creative Bloq on the subject of Adobe Illustrator. Whatever your level of expertise, you're bound to find something to help your understanding and improve your technique. And we'll keep coming back to the post and updating it, so make sure you keep it bookmarked!

Getting started

Illustrator ultimate guide

Adobe Illustrator for beginners: 11 top tips

Master some cool tools in Adobe's vector illustration software with our quickfire guide.

Get started with vector illustration in 10 easy steps

Ben the Illustrator explains how to create vector illustrations using Adobe Illustrator, explaining the key tools and offering expert tips.

9 top Illustrator resources

Want to boost your skills in Adobe Illustrator? Then check out these top online resources.


Illustrator ultimate guide

20 pro tips to take vector illustration to the next level

Rob Carney speaks to the world's top illustrators to give you essential tips for progressing your vector illustration career.

7 tips for using textures in Illustrator

Nicole Tan explains how to combine hand-drawn and digital techniques to add interesting textures to your artwork.

18 Illustrator shortcuts to speed up your workflow

Take a look at our quick list of Illustrator shortcuts, covering layers, selecting, transforming, and saving. They're guaranteed to boost your productivity!


Illustrator ultimate guide

The easy way to build quirky characters in Illustrator

Use the vector drawing tool to transform basic geometric shapes into colourful creatures.

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 output a wide variety of brand collateral.

How to create a repeating pattern in Illustrator

Pattern creation is easy in Illustrator CS6 and CC 2014. We show you how.

How to extract CSS from Illustrator CC

You can now turn your designs in Illustrator CC into CSS. Here's how.

100 amazing Adobe Illustrator tutorials

Illustrator ultimate guide

Expand your vector knowledge with these Adobe Illustrator tutorials, covering everything from retro graphics to logo design.

55 amazing vector art tutorials

Take a look at these brilliant tutorials, all of which will help you to create your own incredible vector art.


Illustrator ultimate guide

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. This tutorial shows you how to use it.

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 edit drawings in Illustrator with Image Trace

Artist Anna Wray shows you how to retain the hand-drawn, linear quality of your artwork in Adobe Illustrator.

Illustrator ultimate guide

Create a colour group with Illustrator’s Live Color tool

Lee Barnes shows you how to create and edit colour groups with the Live Color tool.

How to use the Blend tool in Illustrator

How to use the Artboard tool in Illustrator

How to use the 3D tool in Illustrator


Illustrator ultimate guide

How to draw a character in Illustrator CC

10 easy steps to create a simple character using the Pathfinder and Image Trace palettes in Illustrator CC.

Create 3D type in 10 simple steps

Make your type stand out: Alex Gill reveals how to quickly create 3D type using Photoshop and Illustrator.

Create a retro T-shirt design in 10 easy steps using Illustrator

Design a T-shirt featuring retro graphics by creating simple vectors and textures in Adobe Illustrator, by following our step-by-step guide.

Illustrator ultimate guide

Create a pixel-perfect vector icon in Illustrator

Design a pixel-perfect vector icon using effects to achieve unique shapes. Jory Raphael provides the basics and introduces some core Illustrator tools.

Illustrate more effectively with Kuler - part 1

Ben the Illustrator reveals how you can generate colour palettes on the move using the Kuler iPhone app – and then take them into Illustrator CC to create a stunning illustration.

Illustrate more effectively with Kuler - part 2

Ben the Illustrator concludes his Kuler tutorial by adding some type, finishing up, and showing you how to upload directly to Behance to get feedback…

Illustrator ultimate guide

Create a modular grid system in Illustrator

Mark Bloom walks through how to create a flexible modular grid system that will change the way you approach design.

How to create frozen liquid effects

Sergio Vichique shows how you can bring the coolest of effects to your illustrations.

Create a drip-effect portrait in Illustrator

Tom Mac reveals how to create a drip-effect portrait using Illustrator's Pen tool and object layering techniques.

Create a 3D custom map in Illustrator

Radio explains how to create isometric icons in Illustrator using a grid and the 3D Extrude tool.

Should you upgrade?

Illustrator ultimate guide

5 killer features of Illustrator CS6

What features make it worth upgrading your version of Illustrator? We talk to the designers that use it for their work every day to find out.

The top 5 new features in Illustrator CC 2014

Discover what's changed in the latest release of Adobe's popular vector drawing tool.

Adobe Illustrator CC 2014: hands-on review

Illustrator moved to a subscription-only model last year, but now Adobe has released a new version, so what does it bring?

Alternatives to Illustrator

Illustrator ultimate guide

Is there an alternative to Illustrator?

Adobe's tool isn’t the only vector image editor in town. We select five brilliant apps that offer a viable alternative to Illustrator.

Which is better - Photoshop or Illustrator?

Which of the two design tools is better for which tasks? Jason Cianfrone of BaseCreative compares Photoshop and Illustrator to see which comes out on top.

Computer Arts Studio Training: Illustrator

The second in the series of Studio Training guides from Computer Arts focuses squarely on Adobe Illustrator. Over 100 pages you’ll learn in-depth design and illustration secrets you can put to use in your daily design work. This special is divided neatly into four sections – and although you’ll get something from each no matter what your discipline, you can quickly jump to the features that are most relevant to your workflow and design goals.

Don't forget to bookmark this post for future updates!


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.