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.
Illustrator tutorials: Quick links
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once you’ve covered the fundamentals of the Pen tool, these exercises will help you practise your Pen tool skills by creating new artwork.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Export and share work
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.
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.
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