Despite competition from the likes of Sketch and Affinity Designer, Adobe's vector drawing tool Illustrator CC remains the industry standard. Whether you’re designing an icon, logo, app interface, typography or a complex illustration, Illustrator has some powerful tools to bring your ideas to visual life.
Illustrator tutorials: Quick links
In this post, we bring together the best Adobe Illustrator tutorials to help you do so. Whether you’re a novice or a veteran, you’ll find high quality, free lessons here to boost your skills.
Meanwhile, if you don’t yet have Illustrator CC, note that it’s only available as part of a Creative Cloud subscription, which you can subscribe to here – right now there's 40% off.
Tutorials for beginners
Get to know Illustrator
This entry-level series of tutorials teaches you the basic tools and techniques of Adobe Illustrator CC. Discover the ins and outs of the Illustrator workspace and learn how to open and save your images.
Set up a new document
This first-steps tutorial will teach you how to set up a new document. You’ll discover how to set up the various options to configure variables such as width, height and colour mode.
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 draw, combine, and trace shapes using the sample files provided.
Transform and edit artwork
In this tutorial you’re walked through the basics of transforming and editing artwork 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.
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.
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 create and edit them, including the Pencil and Curvature tools.
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.
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.
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.
Get to know the drawing tools in Adobe Illustrator CC
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.
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 you five simple exercises to help you understand how to use it.
Add text to your designs
This beginner-level 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.
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.
How to share artwork
Learn the basics of sharing in Adobe Illustrator CC in this tutorial. Topics covered include how to share files, how to save them as PDFs, and how to export your images.
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.
Create and edit artwork 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 tutorial explains how to use the Paintbrush and Pencil to create expressive, free-form drawings.
Start creating 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.
Practise creating with the Pen tool
Once you’ve covered the fundamentals of the Pen tool in the tutorial above, these exercises will help you practice your Pen tool skills by creating new artwork.
Edit paths you draw
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.
Create artwork behind and inside 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.
How to use the Color Picker
The Color Picker allows you to select and apply colors to your artwork in Illustrator CC. This six-step tutorial demonstrates how to do so.
Export high-quality, optimised SVG
Once you’ve 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.
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.
Combining shapes in different ways
Shapes are the building blocks of an illustration. This tutorial explains how to create complex shapes by combining simpler ones, using the Shape Builder tool and Pathfinder effects.
Illustrator shortcuts to speed up your workflow
If you’re not using shortcuts, you’re not maximising your productivity. Here’s a great list of shortcuts for handling layers, selections, text and more, along with some handy hints for brushes, saving and closing, and viewing options.
Next page: Intermediate Illustrator tutorials