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Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 71 lessons to boost your skills

Adobe Illustrator tutorials
(Image credit: Adobe)

Following Adobe Illustrator tutorials can change your game when it comes to the industry's favourite vector art programme. Whether you want to make a complex illustration or design a simple icon, the more tricks and techniques you know, the better chance you have of saving yourself time while producing the result you're looking for. 

Competition may be increasing from software like Sketch and Affinity Designer, but Adobe Illustrator remains the favourite vector-based design programme for both creatives and the industry. If you want to explore the software further, see our guide to how to download Adobe Illustrator. If you don't yet have a Creative Cloud subscription, you'll need the best Adobe deals around right now. 

There are tons of Adobe Illustrator tutorials out there. To save you wading through them all, we've rounded up the most helpful lessons on the internet in a handy list so you can start expanding your skillset. We've organised these quality tutorials over three pages, split into beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Use the quick links opposite, or the drop-down menu above to navigate to the right level for you. 

To save yourself more time, don't miss our roundup of the best illustrator plugins. We also have a roundup of the best vector art tutorials and how to draw tutorials.

Adobe Illustrator tutorials for beginners

This entry-level series of Adobe Illustrator tutorials will help you learn the basic tools and techniques you need to get started designing. Here you'll iscover the ins and outs of the Illustrator workspace and learn how to open and save your images using the software.

Getting started with Adobe Illustrator

01. Illustrator tutorial for beginners in 10 minutes

This rapid walkthrough deals with the absolute basics of Illustrator. You'll learn all you need to get started in a short 10-minute session (and enjoy the richness of the narrator's voice, which is compared to Disney's Goofy by someone in the comments). Anyway, you'll learn all about Creative Cloud, how to use the interface and save documents, what vectors are, how to resize... the list goes on. This is perfect for total beginners. 

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

02. Create and edit shapes

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: create and edit shapes

This tutorial from Adobe itself introduces you to the process for creating and editing shapes in Adobe Illustrator CC using the Shape tools. 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 tutorial, this onewalks you through the concepts of Paths and Curves in Illustrator CC and introduces the tools you need to design and edit them, including the Pencil and Curvature tools.

04. How to use the Color Picker

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: colour picker

The Color Picker allows you to select and apply colours to your artwork in Illustrator CC. This six-step Adobe tutorial demonstrates how to do it.

05. Add text to your designs

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: add text to your designs

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

Creative techniques

06. Isometric Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

This tutorial from Argon has received a lot of love in the comments section. It offers a step by step guide to how to make an isometric illustration. The video tutorial doesn't have an audio commentary so you'll need to already have some familiarity with the software, but the tutorial is very detailed.

07. Masking in Illustrator

Masking, as you probably already know, is how you 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. 

08. Transform and edit artwork

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: transform and edit artwork

This Adobe tutorial goes through the basics of transforming and editing artwork that you've designed in Adobe Illustrator CC. It teaches how to resize artwork, and how to use groups, align objects and more using the Selection tool, Transform panel, and other transform tools.

09. 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 found Illustrator's Tools panel, each of which allows you to create in different ways. It will help you gain an understanding of how to use the Pen tool, Pencil tool, Curvature tool and Paintbrush tool.

10. 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.

11. Change colour and strokes

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Change colour and strokes

Discover how to apply colours to your artwork with this Illustrator tutorial. You’ll also learn how to change an object’s colour, create swatches and recolour artwork.

12. 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. 

13. Add images and artistic effects

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: add images and artistic effects

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

14. How to duplicate objects around a circle

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

15. Create and edit gradients

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: create and edit gradients

This introduction to working with 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 to learn how to create basic gradient effects. This tutorial doesn't cover freeform gradients, which Adobe Illustrator added in 2019. For that, we can recommend this tutorial from Tutvid.

16. Create art with the 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 the Paintbrush and Pencil to create expressive, freeform drawings.

17. Edit paths in Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: edit paths

Here you can learn 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.

18. 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, Dansky runs through how to use each one in just two minutes. 

19. 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 Shape Builder tool and Pathfinder effects.

20. 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

21. 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 calling them "golden" and asking for more. See one of them above, and our post about it here.

22. Organise content with layers

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Organise content with layers

Here’s a great beginner-level introduction to layers in Adobe Illustrator CC. You’ll discover how they work, what they’re for and how to use them to create, edit and organise content.

23. Explore the 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 save you time and energy, boosting your workflow.

24. Arrange artboards

Another super-rapid video tutorial from Dansky, this one demonstrates 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.

25. Work with artboards

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: work with artboard

This tutorial is another look at artboards in Illustrator CC. It explains the function of artboards, which are similar to pages in InDesign CC or Microsoft Word. If you watch all three videos, you’ll quickly learn how to create and edit multiple artboards.

26. Shortcuts to speed up your workflow

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Illustrator shortcuts

If you’re not using shortcuts, you’re probably not being as efficient as you could. Here’s a great list of Illustrator shortcuts to help 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

27. Shortcut your logo design exports

Creatives will be well aware of the hassle of exporting logos in a range of different sizes and formats for different client needs, but Dansky has created a handy free pack to make things easier. In this helpful video tutorial, he shows how to streamline the process of exporting logo designs.

28. How to share artwork

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: how to share artwork

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

29. Export high-quality, optimised SVG

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.

30. Export assets for web and app design

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: export assets for web

It’s important to be able to share your assets with others in different formats. Since 2015, Illustrator CC has incorporated an option to export higher quality SVG artwork for use in web and app projects. This tutorial explains how to use it.

Next page: Intermediate Illustrator tutorials