Exploring the best Illustrator tutorials means you'll be able to use Adobe's flagship vector art programme to its full capability. Illustrator has a feature set that will help you with all your design needs – from designing a complex illustration to creating a simple icon. This selection of Illustrator tutorials will guide you through different use cases, and empower you to expand your skills.
There may be increasingly strong competition from software like Sketch and Affinity Designer, but Illustrator continues to be the industry's favourite tool for vector-based design. For more on what it can do, check out our Illustrator CC 2019 review. Or to save yourself time and effort using Illustrator, see our roundup of the best illustrator plugins. Need new vector designs? Here's a round up of the best vector art tutorials.
Whether you’re a total beginner or an expert user, you’ll find high quality, free Illustrator tutorials here for you. Use the quick links opposite, or the drop-down menu above to navigate to the right level for you.
Illustrator tutorials for beginners
This entry-level series of Illustrator tutorials teaches you the basic tools and techniques you need to get started designing with the software. Discover the ins and outs of the Illustrator workspace and learn how to open and save your images.
01. Illustrator basics for beginners
The first of a three-part tutorial series aimed at beginners who want to get started with Adobe Illustrator 2019. This comprehensive tutorial from Tech & Design, is friendly and encouraging, and includes pretty much everything you'll need to know to make a start on your designs in Illustrator.
02. Illustrator basics in 3 minutes
Totally new to Illustrator? Then first get a quick overview of what it can do and how to use it, in this short and snappy video tutorial from Daniel White, aka Danksy. Get up and running (or designing) in three minutes flat.
03. 10 essential Adobe Illustrator CC2017 tips
Although this excellent collection of tips was designed with the 2017 release of Adobe Illustrator in mind, it has relevance beyond that version (note, however, that previous builds don't support the rounding corners and join tool that are used in the tutorials). As YouTube user 'bobacks' comments: "Amazing tips. Even after 19 years of usage, I learned some new things."
04. Drawing with the Pen tool
The Pen tool is one of the most powerful drawing tools in Illustrator. With it, you can create and edit anchor points that make up paths. In this tutorial, you’ll learn the fundamentals of drawing with precision using the Pen tool, to create straight and curved paths.
05. Create and edit shapes
This tutorial 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.
06. Create with drawing tools
This tutorial walks 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.
07. How to use the Color Picker
The Color Picker allows you to select and apply colours to your artwork in Illustrator CC. This six-step tutorial demonstrates how to do so.
08. Add text to your designs
This beginner-level Illustrator tutorial introduces you to 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.
09. Isometric Illustration in Adobe Illustrator
This tutorial has a lot of love in the comments section. It walks you through, step by step, how to make an isometric illustration. It doesn't have an audio commentary so you've got to be pretty familiar with the software, but it is very detailed.
10. Masking in Illustrator
Masking, as you probably know, is how you hide or reveal different parts of an image or design. In this Illustrator tutorial, you'll learn about three different masking techniques: Clipping mask, opacity mask, and draw inside.
11. Transform and edit artwork
In this tutorial you’re walked through the basics of transforming and editing artwork you've designed in Adobe Illustrator CC. Learn how to resize artwork, use groups, align objects and more using the Selection tool, Transform panel, and other transform tools.
12. Get to know drawing tools
Illustrator has a wide variety of drawing tools found in the Tools panel, each allowing you to create in different ways. In this tutorial, you’ll gain an understanding of the Pen tool, Pencil tool, Curvature tool and Paintbrush tool.
13. Practise creating with the Pen tool
Once you’ve covered the fundamentals of the Pen tool, these exercises will help you practise your Pen tool skills by creating new artwork.
14. Change colour and strokes
Discover how to apply colours to your artwork in this Illustrator tutorial. You’ll also be introduced to how to change an object’s colour, create swatches and recolour artwork.
15. Draw and edit curves using the Curvature tool
The Curvature tool in Illustrator CC enables you to draw smooth, refined curves and straight lines easily. This tutorial offers five simple exercises to help you understand how to use it in your designs.
16. Add images and artistic effects
This tutorial begins 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.
17. How to duplicate objects around a circle
Spencer Martin, aka Pixel & Bracket, dishes out some great beginner tips here during a tutorial that describes how to duplicate objects around a circle using the transform effect to create a non-destructive repeated shape.
18. Create and Edit Gradients
This introduction to working with gradients in Illustrator CC explains how to create different types of gradients and modify options such as colours, position, and opacity. This is great for creating basic gradient effects. Note that new freeform gradients have been added in the 2019 Illustrator update, and these aren't covered here.
19. Create art with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
With the Paintbrush tool, you can 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.
20. Edit paths in Illustrator CC
Learn how to edit the paths in your artwork using a variety of tools and options, including the Pen tool, Curvature tool, Anchor Point tool, and others.
21. 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 two-minute tutorial, Dansky runs through how to use each one.
22. Combine shapes in different ways
Shapes are the building blocks of an illustration. This tutorial explains how to design complex shapes by combining simpler ones, using the Shape Builder tool and Pathfinder effects.
23. Overlap artwork with drawing modes
In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use the drawing modes, Draw Inside and Draw Behind, to easily and quickly add interest to your artwork.
24. Illustrator hacks
One of my all time favs this tip for Illustrator. Drawing inside.Click these minuscule buttons on the tool panel or hit shift+d until you see the bounding box around your artwork. Then simply draw inside, you can draw shapes, line work or just paste whatever inside. Simple! pic.twitter.com/r5cRUiFD9fJune 25, 2020
A designer took to Twitter to share a bunch of extremely useful Illustrator hacks, bound to save you time and energy, plus increase your workflow. They went down a storm online, with fellow designers calling them "golden" and asking for more. See one of them above, and our post about it here.
25. 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.
26. Explore the Essentials workspace
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.
27. Arrange artboards
This super-speedy video tutorial from Dansky walks through how to easily arrange your artboards in Illustrator. An essential skill if you're to stay neat and organised, and keep your focus on your design work.
28. Work with artboards
This tutorial explains the function of artboards in Illustrator CC, which are similar to pages in InDesign CC or Microsoft Word. Watch the three videos and you’ll soon learn how to create multiple artboards and edit them.
29. Shortcuts to speed up your workflow
If you’re not using shortcuts, you’re not maximising your productivity. Here’s a great list of Illustrator shortcuts for handling layers, selections, text and more, along with some handy hints for brushes, saving and closing, and viewing options.
Export and share work
30. Shortcut your logo design exports
In this helpful video tutorial, Dansky walks through how to streamline the process of exporting your logo designs. 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 helpful free pack to make things easier.
31. How to share artwork
Learn the basics of sharing in Adobe Illustrator CC in this tutorial. Topics covered in this guide include how to share files, how to save them as PDFs, and how to export your images.
32. Export high-quality, optimised SVG
Once you’ve designed and created your vector artwork in Illustrator CC, you need to export it. This tutorial explains how to export lightweight, modern SVG (scalable vector graphic) files.
33. Export assets for web and app design
It’s important to be able to share your assets with others in different formats. Since 2015, Illustrator CC has offered an option to export higher quality SVG artwork for use in web and app projects. This tutorial explains how to do so.
Next page: Intermediate Illustrator tutorials