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Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 73 lessons to boost your skills

Adobe Illustrator tutorials
(Image credit: Adobe)

Adobe Illustrator tutorials offer all kinds of tips to improve your workflow and help you get the most from Adobe's industry-standard vector art programme. Whether you want to design a simple icon or complex illustrations, the more techniques and shortcuts you're familiar with, the quicker you'll be able to achieve the results that you're after.

While the likes of Sketch and Affinity Designer now offer strong competition, Adobe Illustrator is still the most popular vector-based design programme by far, both for individual creatives and the wider design industry. If you still need the software, see our guide to how to download Adobe Illustrator and our regularly updated guide to getting the best Adobe deals.

Once you have the software, there are many Adobe Illustrator tutorials online that can either help you get up and running or to learn more advanced techniques that can save you time or create new effects. Wading through them all to find the most useful Illustrator tutorials for you can take a lot of time, so we've selected the best Illustrator tutorials for different levels in this handy list. You'll find them organised below over three pages, divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced. Use the quick links to jump straight to the section you want, or scroll down to browse our full selection of the best Illustrator tutorials. 

For more ways to get the most from Adobe Illustrator, see our guide to the best illustrator plugins. We also have lists of our favourite vector art tutorials and how to draw tutorials.

Adobe Illustrator tutorials for beginners

If you're getting started, these beginner Adobe Illustrator tutorials will give you a solid grounding in Illustrator's basic tools and techniques. You'll learn the ins and outs of the workspace and how to open and save your images.

Getting started with Adobe Illustrator

01. Illustrator tutorial for beginners in 10 minutes

This quick walkthrough deals with the Adobe Illustrator basics. You'll learn everything you need to get started in just 10 minutes (enjoy the richness of the narrator's voice while you're at it – one person comments that he sounds like Disney's Goofy. This tutorial will teach you all about Creative Cloud, how to use the interface and save documents, what vectors are, how to resize and so on. 

Meanwhile, if you're already familiar with Adobe Illustrator but want to see what's new in the latest edition, this five-minute YouTube overview on YouTube provides a good summary of CC 2021.

02. Create and edit shapes

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: create and edit shapes

For a closer look at how to create and edit shapes, this tutorial from Adobe itself provides a great introduction to how to use the Adobe Illustrator Shape tools. You'll learn how to use Illustrator to draw, combine, and trace shapes using the sample files provided.

03. Create with drawing tools

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Create with drawing tools

Another Adobe Illustrator tutorial from the software maker itself, this one takes you through the concepts of Paths and Curves and introduces the tools needed to design and edit them, including the software's Pencil and Curvature tools.

04. How to use the Color Picker

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: colour picker

Adobe Illustrator's Color Picker allows you to select and apply colours to your artwork in Illustrator CC. This six-step Adobe tutorial offers a quick demonstration of how to do just that.

05. Add text to your designs

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: add text to your designs

Want to add text to your designs in Illustrator CC? This beginner-level Adobe Illustrator tutorial introduces the basics of how to do that. You’ll learn how to add text, apply formatting, reshape and style it, and also how to place text on or inside a path.

06. Illustrator for iPad 2022 beginners tutorial

Of course, as well as the desktop version, Adobe Illustrator is also available for the iPad. This tutorial offers a succinct beginners' guide to what you'll find in the iPad version of the software and how to get started. It provides a basic tools and gestures overview and walks us through working with layers, grids and guides, how to combine and edit shapes and how to apply colour and gradients. Users who are already familiar with the desktop version might also find this useful as a quick overview of what to expect from the iPad package.

Creative techniques

07. Isometric Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

Isometric illustration has been hugely popular in recent years. This tutorial from Satori Graphics shows how to create isometric illustrations in Illustrator without using a grid. It's a very clearly explained and demonstrated tutorial.

08. Masking in Illustrator

As you probably already know, masking allows you to hide or reveal different parts of an image or design. In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, you'll learn about three different masking techniques: clipping mask, opacity mask and draw inside. 

09. Transform and edit artwork

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: transform and edit artwork

This Adobe tutorial runs through the basics of how to transform and edit artwork designed in Adobe Illustrator CC. You'll learn how to resize artwork, and how to use groups, align objects and more using the Selection tool, Transform panel, and other transform tools.

10. Get to know Adobe Illustrator's drawing tools

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: drawing tools in Illustrator

This handy tutorial focuses on the wide variety of drawing tools you'll find in Illustrator's Tools panel, each of which allows you to create in different ways. The tutorial will give you a good understanding of how to use the Pen tool, Pencil tool, Curvature tool and Paintbrush tool.

11. Practise creating with the Pen tool

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Pen tool

Once you’ve learned the fundamentals of the Pen tool in Illustrator, these exercises will help you hone your skills with the tool by creating new artwork.

12. Change colour and strokes

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Change colour and strokes

This Illustrator tutorial shows how you can apply colours to artwork in Illustrator. You’ll also learn how to change an object’s colour, create swatches and recolour artwork.

13. Draw and edit curves using the Curvature tool

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: draw and edit using curvature tools

Illustrator CC's Curvature tool allows you to draw smooth, refined curves and straight lines easily. This tutorial offers five simple exercises to help you understand how to use the tool in your designs. 

14. Add images and artistic effects

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: add images and artistic effects

This tutorial starts out by explaining the basics of how to add images to projects in Adobe Illustrator CC. It then walks you through how to add and edit effects, apply brush strokes, and more.

15. How to duplicate objects around a circle

Spencer Martin, aka Pixel & Bracket, shares some great tricks in his Adobe Illustrator tutorials. In this one, he shows how to duplicate objects around a circle using the transform effect to create a non-destructive repeated shape. 

16. Create and edit gradients

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: create and edit gradients

Gradients are another popular design trend. This introduction to gradients in Illustrator CC explains how to create different types of gradients and how to modify options such as colours, position, and opacity. It's a useful tutorial for learning how to create basic gradient effects, although it doesn't cover freeform gradients, which Adobe Illustrator added in 2019. For that, we can recommend this tutorial from Tutvid.

17. Create art with the Adobe Illustrator Paintbrush and Pencil tools

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Paintbrush and Pencil tools

The Paintbrush tool allows you to draw a path and apply a brush to the stroke at the same time to give paths an artistic look. This Illustrator tutorial explains how to use both the Paintbrush and Pencil to create expressive, freeform drawings.

18. Edit paths in Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: edit paths

This Adobe Illustrator tutorial shows how to edit paths in your artwork using a variety of tools and options, including the Pen tool, Curvature tool, Anchor Point tool and others.

19. A guide to Pathfinder Shape modes

There are four different ways to combine basic shapes in Illustrator: unite, subtract, intersect and exclude overlap. In this handy tutorial, Dansky runs through how to use each one in just two minutes. 

20. Combine shapes in different ways

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: combining shapes

Shapes are the building blocks of illustration. This tutorial explains how to combine simple shapes to create more complex ones using the Adobe Illustrator Shape Builder tool and Pathfinder effects.

21. Overlap artwork with drawing modes

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: create artwork

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use the Draw Inside and Draw Behind drawing modes to quickly and easily add interest to your artwork.

Adobe Illustrator workflow

22. Illustrator hacks

See more

Designer Matthew Lucas shared a whole bunch of useful Illustrator hacks in a post on Twitter. They went down a storm, with fellow designers asking for more. See one of them above, and check out our post about his Illustrator hacks.

23. Organise content with layers

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Organise content with layers

This brilliant beginner-level introduction to layers in Adobe Illustrator CC will show you what layers are for, how they work and how to use them to create, edit and organise content.

24. Explore the Adobe Illustrator Essentials workspace

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: explore the essentials workplace

Learn how to customise your workspace using the Properties panel in Illustrator CC, allowing you to find and use the right controls when you need them. Making the right adjustments can improve your workflow, saving you a lot of time and energy.

25. Arrange artboards

In another super-rapid video tutorial from Dansky, here you can learn how to easily arrange your artboards in Illustrator. It's an essential skill if you're going to stay neat and organised, and it will help you keep your focus on your design work.

26. Work with artboards

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: work with artboard

This tutorial offers another look at artboards in Illustrator CC. It explains the function of artboards, which are similar to pages in InDesign CC or Microsoft Word. Watch this and the video tutorial from Dansky above, and you’ll quickly learn how to create and edit multiple artboards.

27. Shortcuts to speed up your workflow

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Illustrator shortcuts

If you’re not using shortcuts, you’re probably not working as efficiently as you could. Here’s a great list of Illustrator shortcuts that can help you improve your workflow and save you time. There are options for handling layers, selections, text and more, along with some handy hints for brushes, saving and closing, and viewing options. 

Export and share work

28. Shortcut your logo design exports

Creatives will be all too familiar with the hassle of exporting logos in various sizes and formats for different client needs, but Dansky has created a handy free pack to make that a whole lot easier. In this helpful video tutorial, he shows how to streamline the process of exporting logo designs to meet different specs.

29. How to share artwork in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: how to share artwork

This Adobe guide covers the basics of sharing in Illustrator CC. It covers the topics of how to share files, how to save them as PDFs and how to export images.

30. Export high-quality, optimised SVGs in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: export SVGs

Once you’ve designed and created your vector artwork in Illustrator CC, you need to export it. This tutorial explains how to export lightweight SVG (scalable vector graphic) files.

31. Export assets for web and app design

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: export assets for web

It’s important to be able to share your Adobe Illustrator assets in different formats. This tutorial explains how to export higher quality SVG artwork for use in web and app projects.

Next page: Intermediate Illustrator tutorials

Georgia Coggan is a regular freelance contributor for Creative Bloq, who has also worked on T3 and Top Ten Reviews. With a particular interest in branding and retro design, Georgia writes about everything from logo design to creative technology, enjoys hunting down genuinely good deals and has even used her knowledge as an ex-teacher to create buying guides on products including children's books and bookcases. Tying these design interests together is an obsession with London Underground posters from the last century.