Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 42 lessons to improve your skills

Adobe Illustrator tutorial
(Image credit: Adobe)

The best Adobe Illustrator tutorials can unlock new skills for beginners and advanced users alike. Illustrator remains the industry-standard vector graphics tool for designers in many sectors, and that means there's a huge community and plenty of tips and tutorials out there, whether it's to help you get started, to delve into more advanced techniques or just for a quick tour of what's new in Illustrator 2023.

Illustrator has so many tools and features that even long-time users often find there are more things to learn, including time-saving shortcuts that can speed up workflows. Adobe Illustrator video tutorials, in particular, are a great way to find your way around the software or get to grips with specific tools and techniques. And whether you want to design simple icons 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.

Below, we've gathered together 42 Adobe Illustrator tutorials that cover everything from the very basics to the advanced techniques and the new features in Illustrator 2023. We've organised them into sections to make them easier to navigate – you can use the menu to jump to the section you're interested in.

If you still need the software, see our guide to how to download Adobe Illustrator and our regularly updated roundup of best Adobe deals – or go direct to Adobe's special offers page (opens in new tab). For more ways to get the most from Adobe Illustrator, see our guide to the best illustrator plugins

The best Adobe Illustrator tutorials

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

Adobe Illustrator beginner tutorials

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 (opens in new tab) on YouTube provides a good summary of CC 2021.

02. 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.

Basic tools in Adobe Illustrator

03. How to use the Color Picker

Adobe Illustrator colour picker tutorial

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 use the Color Picker tool (opens in new tab).

04. Add text to your designs

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: add text to your designs

Want to add text to your designs in Illustrator CC (opens in new tab)? This beginner-level Adobe Illustrator tutorial introduces the basics of how to do just 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.

05. 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. 

06. Transform and edit artwork

Adobe Illustrator transform and edit artwork tutorial

This Adobe tutorial runs through the basics of how to transform and edit artwork (opens in new tab) 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.

07. Get to know Adobe Illustrator's drawing tools

Adobe Illustrator drawing tools in Illustrator tutorial

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 (opens in new tab).

08. Add images and artistic effects

Adobe Illustrator add images and artistic effects tutorial

This tutorial on how to add images and artistic effects (opens in new tab) 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. 

09. Edit paths in Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator edit paths tutorial

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

10. 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. 

Adobe Illustrator workflow

11. 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.

12. Work with artboards

Adobe Illustrator work with artboard tutorial

This tutorial offers another look at artboards in Illustrator CC (opens in new tab). 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.

13. Shortcuts to speed up your workflow

Adobe Illustrator Illustrator shortcuts tutorial

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. 

Exporting and sharing work

14. 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.

15. How to share artwork in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator how to share artwork tutorial

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

16. Export assets for web and app design

Adobe Illustrator export assets for web tutorial

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 (opens in new tab) for use in web and app projects.

Adobe Illustrator tutorials for intermediate users

Intermediate features and creative techniques

17. Adobe Illustrator 2023 New Features

If you're a seasoned user of Illustrator and simply want to know what's new in Illustrator 2023, the latest update, this clear and succinct Illustrator tutorial from Pixel & Bracket Illustrator Tutorials should be just the ticket. The video runs through all the new features in Illustrator 2023 in just over 3 minutes, including Illustrator Quick Actions, expanded 3D format support, new collaboration options and the Intertwine tool, which allows you to overlap parts of objects or shapes.

18. 10 incredible Adobe Illustrator tips and tricks

Will Paterson is full of tips that can be handy for both "professionals and normal people",  and there really are some true gems in here, such as tips for using multiple artboards in one file and scaling strokes and effects. Some of these tips and tricks can be highly effective when it comes to streamlining your processes and improving your workflow.

19. Design a gradient logo in Illustrator

Gradients just aren't going out of fashion, especially in brand schemes. In this popular video tutorial, Dansky walks us though how to create a simple gradient logo (opens in new tab) in Adobe Illustrator.

20. Learn how to draw anything in Illustrator CC

This Illustrator tutorial is taught by certified Adobe Design Master Martin Perhiniak, who was voted one of the top 10 Adobe instructors back in 2015. His video explores different drawing techniques in Adobe Illustrator CC. He offers advice to help you improve your skills when working with shapes (opens in new tab). It's well worth a look.

21. Create sets of product icons in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator icons tutorial

Icons are a world all on their own. Here Ben O'Brien – aka Ben The Illustrator – walks us through the process of creating simple yet effective sets of illustrated icons using Illustrator in an easy to follow tutorial.

22. How to design graphic figures in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: graphic figures

Learn how to turn your basic stick men into graphic figures with their own style and personality in this Illustrator CC tutorial from Ben O'Brien.

23. Creative shapes for logo design

Here, the ever-informative Dansky explores how to take shapes to the next level (opens in new tab). He offers a range of techniques that you can use to transform basic shapes into more complex shapes by working with elements such as gradients, opacity and the Shape Builder tool.

24. Create a calligraphic brush in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator calligraphic brush tutorial

One of the great things about Adobe Illustrator is the ability to create your own brushes. Here, Chris Rathbone explains how to create your own vector Illustrator brush in three simple steps.

25. Design more efficiently with Dynamic Symbols

Adobe Illustrator design symbols tutorial

Illustrator CC's Dynamic Symbols tool allows you to dynamically change a symbol's attributes to streamline the creation of artwork. This tutorial explains how to use the tool to create multiple instances of a master symbol (opens in new tab), which then retain their link to the master symbol even when their shape and visual attributes are altered. 

26. Use the Perspective Grid

Adobe Illustrator perspective grid tutorial

With Illustrator CC’s Perspective Grid, you can either place existing artwork in a perspective plane or draw directly on to the grid. This tutorial from Matthew Pizzi uses both methods to show us how to create a 3D gift box. He also teaches us an easy way to create a reflection.

27. Design a logo in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator design a logo tutorial

Want to create a logo that will look just as good in print and on screen while combining imagery with text? This tutorial shows you how to design a logo (opens in new tab).

28. Create a web icon in Adobe Illustrator 

Adobe Illustrator web icon tutorial

This tutorial teaches you how to make a web icon (opens in new tab). Learn how to modify simple shapes to create a camera icon that can be used as a social media profile avatar and as a button linking to a portfolio on a digital CV. 

29. Create an app icon in Adobe Illustrator 

Adobe Illustrator app icon tutorial

Another step-by-step tutorial from Matthew Pizzi, this one shows how to create a calculator app icon in Illustrator (opens in new tab). You’ll use a variety of shape tools, the Pen tool, and the 3D features of Illustrator CC.

30. Create a geometric logo design in Illustrator 

Adobe Illustrator geometric logo tutorial

This tutorial looks at how to create a perfectly geometric logo design. Begin by creating an initial pattern using smart guides, then remove areas from shapes using the Shape Builder tool or Pathfinder tool. Then add gradients. 

31. Quickly join and trim paths

Adobe Illustrator paths tutorial

Learning how to join paths (opens in new tab) is a great way to clean up your line work in Illustrator CC. This tutorial explains how to trim excess line segments from intersecting paths and how to close the gaps between two open paths.

32. Vector avatar characters with Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator vector avatar characters tutorial

Cartoon-style avatars are a halfway house between formal representation and stylised illustration, allowing a degree of anonymity for the person pictured. Another tutorial from Chris Spooner, this one shows how to use the vector tools (opens in new tab) in Adobe Illustrator to produce a simple avatar with a line art style and flat colours.

33. Create a line art badge logo in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator line art badge logo tutorial

Chris Spooner has a host of useful Illustrator tutorials. In this tutorial, he goes through the process of creating a line art badge logo design (opens in new tab). There's been a trend of designing logos in the style of line art, featuring simplified illustrations to produce a minimalist design. This shows just how to do it.

Adobe Illustrator tutorials for advanced users

More advanced techniques

34. Create a custom brush in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator create a custom brush tutorial

Building a custom Illustrator brush is a great way to put a unique stamp on your work. While the software comes with watercolour-style brushes out of the box, this advanced Adobe Illustrator tutorial explores how you can make your own custom brush (opens in new tab).  

35. Create 3D sushi in seconds in Adobe Illustrator

In this quick and entertaining Adobe Illustrator tutorial, Montenegro-based graphic designer Elena Baryshkina shows how to create 3D sushi in Illustrator (opens in new tab). So this may seem like a very specific brief, but it doesn't have to be sushi. Once you've learned the technique you can apply it to create 3D illustrations of other kinds. Illustrator has been gradually expanding its 3D support, and this process allows you to create 3D imagery starting from a flat illustration using the 3D and Materials panel.

36. Create a multi-exposure image

Adobe Illustrator exposure image tutorial

In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, Ruslan Khasanov creates a multi-exposure illustration to express the concept of multilocalism. He explains how he created it from vision to the finished artwork using Photoshop, Illustrator, Dimension, Adobe Stock, and traditional paints. Follow the tutorial to learn how you can create a multi-exposure image.

37. Unlock Adobe Illustrator's secret symmetry mode

Illustrator doesn't have a dedicated symmetry mode, but in this video, Dansky shares a smart hack that enables you to create a similar effect using the Distort and Transform tool. This is one of those tricks that's fun to play around with to create unexpected effects. 

38. Pose characters using the Puppet Warp tool

Adobe Illustrator Puppet Warp tutorial

In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, Ben O'Brien looks at how to get started with the Puppet Warp tool (opens in new tab). He explores how to use the tools various functions, how to rig characters in preparation for posing using the tool and how to use the Puppet Warp tool to adjust graphic lines or objects. He also discussed how to use your skills to bring personality to a character using the tool.

39. Warp, pose, and sculpt your artwork with ease

Adobe Illustrator artwork tutorial

This advanced Adobe Illustrator tutorial teaches you how to make smooth adjustments (opens in new tab) to parts of vector drawings. The technique involves placing pins using the Puppet Warp tool, and then manipulating specific areas of your artwork.

40. Create a busy city scene

(opens in new tab)

Learn how to add dynamism and atmosphere to a bustling street scene with this step-by-step guide from Ben O’Brien. You’ll build architecture, add figures, place street furniture and experiment with colour to create a lively illustration in Illustrator.

41. How to create colourful gradient orbs

Adobe Illustrator gradient orbs tutorial

This tutorial demonstrates how to use the Gradient Mesh tool to create a colourful circular orb (opens in new tab), which can then be modified into an abstract shape with Illustrator's Warp tool. The design can then be used in all kinds of branding or art projects.

42. Prepare Illustrator graphics for After Effects

Adobe Illustrator graphics After Effects tutorial

Adobe Illustrator files often get passed over for animation when they're clearly not ready for After Effects. Jeff Hurd's checklist will help you ensure your designs are ready for animation before you hand them over.

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Georgia Coggan

Georgia started her freelance career working for CB in 2018, and since then has worked across the site on news, ecom, SEO content... basically anything and everything. Georgia is a slave to the style guide, a logo geek and loves all things London Underground (its branding history, and not at rush hour).