Illustrator tutorials: The best tuts to sharpen your skills

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Adobe Illustrator has some powerful tools to bring your creative ideas to life – but to get the best from it, you're going to need some Illustrator tutorials. Whether you’re designing an icon, logo, app interface, typography or a complex illustration, there's a feature set to help you. Illustrator remains the industry's favourite tool for vector-based design, despite increasingly strong competition from the likes of Sketch and Affinity Designer.

In this article, we've gathered together the best Adobe Illustrator tutorials to help you create whatever you want to. Whether you’re a novice or a veteran, you’ll find high quality, free lessons here to boost your skills. Use the quick links opposite, or the drop-down menu above to navigate to the right level for you.

Once you've got to grips with how to use Illustrator, it's worth thinking about how you can boost the software with custom Illustrator brushes or add functionality with Illustrator plugins.

Don't have Illustrator CC? No problem, you can get it now as part of a Creative Cloud subscription. Or, if you're short on cash or just starting out in design, take a look at our roundup of free alternatives to Adobe CC software.

Tutorials for beginners

This entry-level series of Illustrator tutorials teaches you the basic tools and techniques you need to get started with the software. Discover the ins and outs of the Illustrator workspace and learn how to open and save your images.

01. 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 in three minutes flat.

02. 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."

03. Start creating with the Pen tool

Illustrator tutorials: 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.

04. Create and edit shapes

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 draw, combine, and trace shapes using the sample files provided.

05. Create with drawing tools

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 create and edit them, including the Pencil and Curvature tools.

06. How to use the Color Picker

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.

07. Add text to your designs

Illustrator tutorials: 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.

08. Transform and edit artwork

Illustrator tutorials: 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.

09. Get to know drawing tools

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

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

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

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. 

13. Add images and artistic effects

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

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

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 tutorial explains how to use the Paintbrush and Pencil to create expressive, freeform drawings.

17. Edit paths in Illustrator CC

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

Illustrator tutorials: combining shapes

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.

20. Overlap artwork with drawing modes

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.

21. Organise content with layers

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.

22. Explore the Essentials workspace

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. 

23. 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.

24. Work with artboards

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.

25. Shortcuts to speed up your workflow

Illustrator tutorials: Illustrator shortcuts

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. 

26. How to share artwork

Illustrator tutorials: 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.

27. Export high-quality, optimised SVG

Illustrator tutorials: export SVGs

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.

28. Export assets for web and app design

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

29. Adobe Illustrator CC 2019: New features

Danksy takes a good look at the most exciting new features that were announced at this 2018's Adobe MAX. Watch the video above for a speedy introduction to freeform gradients, global edits, toolbar customisation, integration with Adobe Fonts (previously Adobe Typekit), trim view and more.

30. Learn how to draw anything in Illustrator CC

This Illustrator tutorial is taught by certified Adobe Design Master Martin Perhiniak, who was voted as one of the top 10 Adobe instructors according to student feedback in 2015. The video explores different drawing techniques in Adobe Illustrator CC, to help you improve your skills when working with shapes. Take a look at this tutorial to learn some new tricks.

31. Create a 3D text effect

Give your type some impact by making it 3D. In this 13-minute Illustrator tutorial video, Danksy shows you how to master perspective and extrusion to create impressive 3D text to use in your designs. 

32. Create sets of product icons in Illustrator

Illustrator tutorials: icons

Ben O'Brien – aka Ben The Illustrator – walks you through the process of creating simple yet effective sets of illustrated icons using Illustrator CC.

33. Blend tool design

Martin Perhiniak shows you how to get more from the Blend tool in this intermediate Illustrator tutorial. In the 20-minute tutorial you'll learn how to use the tool to create a cool typographic design.

34. How to design graphic figures

Illustrator tutorials: graphic figures

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

35. Creative shapes for logo design

In this Illustrator tutorial, Dansky explores how to take your shapes to the next level. He offers a range of techniques you can use to transform basic shapes into more complex shapes, by working with elements such as gradients, opacity and the Shape Builder tool.

36. Create a calligraphic brush in Illustrator

Illustrator tutorials: calligraphic brush

One of the best things about 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.

37. Create an isometric text effect

Illustrator tutorials: isometric text effect

This walkthrough from Envato Tuts+ shows you how to create a simple isometric text effect in Adobe Illustrator. It covers how to make your original text 3D using the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect, how to turn the various shapes into compound paths, then how to colour and organise them.

38. Create a linear spiral

This video tutorial walks through exactly how to create a linear spiral in Illustrator. If you're Illustrator savvy, you'll know there's already a Spiral tool included, which is pretty simple to use. However, those spirals are tighter in the centre, getting looser towards the outside. This video shows you how to create a spiral that's spaced uniformly throughout. 

39. How to draw a lace pattern

This tutorial demonstrates how to draw an ornate lace pattern with brushes, plus how to draw calligraphic elements. It is a textbook example of exactly how a YouTube tutorial should be – good pace, and clear instructions accompanied by a detailed walkthrough.

40. Design more efficiently with Dynamic Symbols

Illustrator tutorials: design symbols

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

41.Create a timeline infographic

Illustrator tutorials: create a timeline infographic

Infographics are still big news. Learn how to create a basic one in Illustrator by following this step-by-step guide. The example used here is a timeline-based design to mark Black History Month. If you're happy to venture out of Illustrator, there are a number of infographic maker tools designed specifically for the job.

42. Use the Perspective Grid

Illustrator tutorials: perspective grid

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 by Matthew Pizzi uses both methods to create a 3D gift box, plus you’ll learn an easy way to create a reflection.

43. Design a logo

Illustrator tutorials: design a logo

This tutorial shows you how to use vector shapes to create a logo that will look good on screen as it does in print, and which combines imagery with text.

44. Create a web icon

Illustrator tutorials: web icon

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to modify simple shapes to create a camera icon to use as a social media profile image, and as a button linking to a portfolio on a digital CV. 

45. Create an app icon

Illustrator tutorials: app icon

This step-by-step tutorial by Matthew Pizzi outlines how to create a calculator app icon in Illustrator. You’ll use a variety of shape tools, the Pen tool, and the 3D features of Illustrator CC.

46. Create a geometric logo design

Illustrator tutorials: geometric logo

This tutorial walks you through 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, and add gradients.

47. Quickly join and trim paths

Illustrator tutorials: paths

Learning to join paths 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 close gaps between two open paths.

48. How to create a shaded type effect

Illustrator tutorials: shaded effect

One way artists emphasise the curvature of their type is to apply shading, which adds an illusion of depth to the lettering piece. In this tutorial Chris Spooner shows you how to produce a shaded type effect in Adobe Illustrator.

49. Vector avatar characters with Illustrator

Illustrator tutorials: vector avatar characters

Cartoon-style avatars are a halfway house between formal representation and stylised illustration, allowing a degree of anonymity for the person pictured. In this tutorial, Chris Spooner uses the vector tools in Adobe Illustrator to produce a simple avatar character with a line art style and flat colours.

50. Create a line art badge logo in Illustrator

Illustrator tutorials: line art badge logo

Logo designs made in the style of line art, featuring simplified illustrations to produce a minimalist design, are a popular trend at the moment. In this tutorial Chris Spooner takes you through the process of creating your own line art badge logo design.

51. How to create a rainbow text effect

Illustrator tutorials: rainbow text effect

In this tutorial, you’ll learn to create a simple square and multiply it using the Transform effect. You’ll then progress to turning a set of squares into a pattern brush. By combining this with the Width Tool, you’ll learn how to create a rainbow text effect. 

52. Create seamless patterns

Illustrator tutorials: Mexican patterns

In this step-by-step tutorial by Berlin-based artist Amrei Hofstätter, you’ll learn how to create a complex, colourful Mexican-inspired pattern using just two simple geometric objects in Illustrator.

Next page: Advanced Illustrator tutorials

53. The Golden Ratio for logo design

This useful video tutorial from tutvid explores exactly what the Golden Ratio is, how to use it, and – most importantly – how to make your own in Illustrator. Finally, there's an example of how you might use this to create an icon.   

54. Design a glass planet in Illustrator

This handy Illustrator tutorial walks through how to design a super-cool glass planet from scratch. Designer Nathaniel Dodson (aka tutvid) starts with line art using simple shape tools and the pathfinder, then shows you how to build out gradients.

55. Create a custom brush in Illustrator

Illustrator tutorials: create a custom brush

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 in-depth tutorial walks through how you can make your own. 

56. Create a multi-exposure image

Illustrator tutorials: exposure image

In this tutorial, Ruslan Khasanov creates an illustration to express the concept of multilocalism. He explains how he went from vision to finished artwork using Photoshop, Illustrator, Dimension, Adobe Stock, and traditional paints.

57. Unlock secret symmetry mode in Illustator

Illustrator doesn't have a dedicated symmetry mode at the moment. In this video, Dansky shares a smart hack that enables you to create a similar effect using the Distort and Transform tool. Play around to create unexpected effects. 

58. Pose characters using the Puppet Warp tool

Illustrator tutorials: Puppet Warp

In this Illustrator tutorial, Ben O'Brien looks at how to get started with the Puppet Warp tool and how to use its various functions. He shows you how to rig characters in preparation for posing using the tool, how to use it to adjust graphic lines or objects, and how to use your skills to bring personality to a character.

59. Warp, pose, and sculpt your artwork easily

Illustrator tutorials: artwork

This advanced tutorial teaches you how to make smooth adjustments to parts of your vector drawings. The technique involves placing pins using the Puppet Warp tool, and then manipulating specific areas of your artwork accordingly.

60. A faster way to vectorise hand lettering

Illustrator tutorials: vectorise Pen tool

Discover a speedy way to digitise hand-lettering and logotypes using Adobe Illustrator’s Pen tool. This video tutorial explains how to save time by mastering anchor points and handles.

61. 3D dots and glowing fibre effects

Illustrator is not just for simple shapes. In this video, Nathaniel Dodson offers a step by step guide to creating an awesome glowing fibre effect using a pattern brush and custom blending.

62. Create a peeled text effect 

Illustrator tutorials: peeled text effect

In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a flat background and add some text to it. You’ll then use the Appearance panel to create a bold, peeled text effect. 

63. How to create colourful gradient orbs

Illustrator tutorials: gradient orbs

This tutorial demonstrates how to use the Gradient Mesh tool to create a colourful circular orb, which can also be modified into an abstract shape with the Warp tool, ready for use in all kinds of branding or art projects.

64. How to create an editable bar chart

Illustrator tutorials: editable bar chart

In this tutorial you’ll learn to create a fully editable chart in Illustrator using the Column Graph Tool. You’ll then use the Direct Selection Tool and the Graphic Styles panel to stylise the main components of your chart. 

65. Create a faceted gemstone graphic

Illustrator tutorials: faceted gemstone graphic

Here you’ll learn to create the multi-faceted and polygonal logo design style that’s popular right now in the tech and digital industries. Step-by-step, Chris Spooner explains how to use a range of tools to produce such a design in vector format.

66. Create a custom drop cap

Illustrator tutorials: drop cap

This step by step tutorial walks you through how to create a custom drop cap in Illustrator and then use it in an InDesign text layout.

67. Create a busy city scene

Illustrator tutorials: create busy scene

Discover how to bring some dynamics and atmosphere to a bustling street scene with this step-by-step guide by Ben O’Brien. You’ll be constructing architecture, adding figures, placing street furniture and experimenting with colour.

68. Create a distressed vintage style logo

Illustrator tutorials: vintage style logo

This tutorial walks you through the creation of a vintage style logo design for a T-shirt. It’s based on a distressed type based logo design, which is then finished with texturing to achieve an aged look.

69. Prepare Illustrator graphics for After Effects

Illustrator tutorials: graphics After Effects

So many Adobe Illustrator files are passed over for animation that are clearly not ready for After Effects. Follow this checklist from Jeff Hurd to ensure your designs are ready for animation.

70. Create a vector portrait from a photo

Illustrator tutorials: stylish vector portraits

In this tutorial, Eelco van den Berg invites you behind the curtain to see how he creates his incredible vector portraits by turning a photo into a ‘poppy’ vector illustration.

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from Creative Bloq http://www.creativebloq.com/digital-art/illustrator-tutorials-1232697

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