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Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 70 lessons to sharpen your skills

Knowing where to find the best Adobe Illustrator tutorials means you can supercharge your use of Adobe's flagship vector art programme. Whether you want to design a complex illustration or just a simple icon, Illustrator has the features to help you. We've found the most helpful tutorials on the web and rounded them up here – empowering you to expand your skills.

Though competition is growing from software like Sketch and Affinity Designer, the industry continues to favour Illustrator for vector-based design. To explore its capabilities further, 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. Plus, these how to draw tutorials will up your skills.

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. 

Adobe 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.

Get started

01. Illustrator – Tutorial for Beginners in 10 MINUTES!

A totally up-to-date walkthrough the absolute basics of Illustrator in 2020. 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.

02. Create and edit shapes

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 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.

03. Create with drawing tools

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 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.

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 tutorial demonstrates how to do so.

05. Add text to your designs

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 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.

Creative techniques

06. 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.

07. 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. 

08. Transform and edit artwork

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 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.

09. Get to know drawing tools

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: drawing tools in Illustrator

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.

10. Practise creating with the Pen tool

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 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.

11. Change colour and strokes

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 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.

12. Draw and edit curves using the Curvature tool

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: draw and edit using curvature tools

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. 

13. Add images and artistic effects

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 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.

14. 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. 

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 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. 

16. Create art with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 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.

17. Edit paths in Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: edit paths

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.

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 two-minute tutorial, Dansky runs through how to use each one. 

19. Combine shapes in different ways

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: combining shapes

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.

20. Overlap artwork with drawing modes

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: create artwork

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.

Workflow

21. Illustrator hacks

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.

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. 

24. 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.

25. Work with artboards

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: work with artboard

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.

26. Shortcuts to speed up your workflow

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Illustrator shortcuts

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

27. 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.

28. How to share artwork

Adobe Illustrator tutorials: 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.

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, modern 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 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