Adobe Illustrator (AI) is considered one of the best–and certainly one of the most popular–design programs for illustrators and graphic designers. If you need to design something in vector format, then Adobe Illustrator is an excellent tool for the job. Currently, AI is available as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Until a few years ago, the software could be downloaded along with the Adobe Creative Suite or as a stand-alone program. Now, all Adobe programs are in the cloud and update automatically with a paid subscription.
If you’re looking to improve your AI skills there are a ton of of tutorials available for all skill levels. So many, in fact, that it can be a daunting task to try and find the best of the bunch. Which is why we’ve put together this list for your convenience. In this post we’ll share sixteen Adobe Illustrator tutorials well worth checking out.
Free Adobe Illustrator Tutorials
Most Illustrator tutorials available online are free. That’s because designers are like a tribe and love to help each other. Also, free tutorials are the perfect way to learn the basics of Adobe Illustrator or learn a specific skill. In order to help you out, we have rounded up some of the best free Adobe Illustrator tutorials available for the latest version of Illustrator CC. There are also some high-quality video tutorials by professional design instructors and creative designers with great ideas.
Envato Tuts is one of the all-time favorite tutorial databases for creative professionals in all fields. Their community of professional designers has created tutorials for graphic designers, illustrators, web designers, coders, and photographers among others. They are a creative bunch indeed! Below are some of the best Envato Tuts Illustrator tutorials, ranging from how to use shapes to how to create patterns, and additionally, how to design your own brushes (or you could always download some free Adobe Illustrator brushes to get started).
Beginner Level Tutorials
Adobe Illustrator is the favorite tool for pattern designers. It’s not surprising since AI has all the integrated tools necessary for easy pattern making. This tutorial explains the steps to create vector line patterns in different styles. You will learn to create wavy lines and zigzag shapes in different colors.
Many people love watercolor style designs for their graphics and branding stylings. In fact, designers are always sourcing watercolor brushes to use in Adobe Illustrator. This tutorial explains, in detail, how to create a professional watercolor brush in your personal style.
Intermediate Level Tutorials
If you are looking for instructions on how to create vector art with shapes, then this tutorial is for you. This is an intermediate level tutorial, users should already know the most common keyboard shortcuts and tools. This design is a great way to practice creating a finished product from start to finish, in addition to learning how to manipulate some of the brushes
Icons are some of the most common vector graphics. This intermediate level tutorial explains how to make a house icon by putting shapes together and colorizing them. The step-by-step instructions describe how to set up a pixel grid. The final step is how to make different versions of the same icon.
Adobe Help Center
The Adobe Help Center is full of professional tutorials for all skill levels. There are plenty for absolute beginners; like getting to know the tools, how to use artboards efficiently and how to use the ever-elusive pen tool to make bezier curves. Below is a selection of the best tutorials for the newest version of Illustrator CC.
Beginner Level Tutorials
The first tutorial on the list is specifically about using the ‘drawing modes’ tool. The instructor explains the different ways to create artwork behind or inside vector graphics which are already on the canvas. For example, how to use the ‘isolation’ mode to edit only a specific layer and section of the artwork.
Another practical skill beginners need to know is how to change colors and stroke styles easily and efficiently. This tutorial explains how to use color swatches with personalized color palettes and, additionally, how to use gradients to recolor artwork.
Putting simple shapes together to create complex compositions look easy when you know what you’re doing. Thankfully this tutorial shows the different ways to achieve this skill, with easy to follow steps. In few words, this is a very practical tutorial when getting starting with Adobe Illustrator.
Along with tutorials, self-learners have plenty of other free resources available to improve their Adobe Illustrator skills. For example the ones available on the TrainingOnsite website. Easily the most useful is the downloadable PDF will all the keyboard shortcuts a designer will ever need.
Following a design project commissioned to Jimmy Gleeson, this tutorial follows every step to how he created an artistic map of Australia. Unfortunately, this is not a tutorial for beginners. In order to follow along, users need to know many basic skills to be able to recreate the steps of this creative map. In fact, the tutorial mentions the creation of custom icons and illustrations but doesn’t explain how to make them. This is definitely a tutorial for designers with good knowledge of the program. If you are a regular Adobe Illustrator user, then you should have no problem with this one.
Free Adobe Illustrator Video Tutorials
YouTube is full of amazing information for pretty much everything. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of Adobe Illustrator tutorials as well. We did some searching and have put together the best tutorials. Most are for specific skills like creating intricate patterns and a gradient logo.
TutVid is a great platform full of creative tutorials for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Illustrator. Below are some of the best.
The first video tutorial is a one-hour step-by-step guide on creating a glowing glass planet over a dark cosmic background. It might be ok for a beginner if they are fast learners, but this one is more suited for intermediate users. The instructor explains in detail how to create this shiny glowing planet.
On another note, the second tutorial is completely different. It’s about creating a fancy and intricate lace circular pattern. If you are a lover of mandalas, this tutorial is for you. It’s easy enough for a beginner to follow along.
Dansky is a graphic designer, illustrator, and all-around creative professional with an impressive YouTube channel. He has created tutorials about Adobe XD, InDesign, Photoshop, Sketch, and Premiere Pro. In other words, his channel is an extremely valuable asset to any creative professional.
The first Dansky tutorial is about creating a Gradient Logo. It’s a pretty great tutorial! That’s because both logo design and the use of gradients are incredibly useful skills for designers. A beginner can follow along quite well with this one actually!
In second place on the list, this tutorial is all about making a cutesy pattern. Dan explains how to create a seamless pattern with the help of the integrated ‘make pattern’ tool. Beginner users can get a lot out of these tutorials, especially if they are looking into a career as a pattern design maker.
Paid and Subscription-Based Adobe Illustrator Tutorials
In addition to free tutorials, self-learners also have access to paid and subscription-based courses and tutorials. These are available through a number of platforms. One of the best and most creative course websites is Domestika. In contrast to most tutorial sites, Domestika is in Spanish. Thankfully, there are subtitles in English!
The best Adobe Illustrator tutorial/course from Domestika is all about achieving digital illustration with geometric shapes. Although this is a tutorial for beginners, it gives insight which intermediate users might find handy as well.
Similarly, another big favorite tutorial site is Skillshare. They have lots of extremely valuable tutorials for all skill levels. This one, in particular, is about mastering digital illustration with creativity, style, and efficiency, and it’s directed at both beginners and intermediate users.
The second course from Skillshare is all about using colors creatively and more effectively and in any type of design. As a result, your illustration projects will look more vibrant and interesting.
As a graphic designer or illustrator, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your skills or learn new ones. Thankfully, it’s very convenient that we now live in a time where tutorials at all levels are easy to come by. Above all, Adobe AI tutorials and courses are in great demand and are easy to find. Nevertheless, the trick is to follow along with the ones which are created or updated for the newer version. We hope you managed to learn something new with this updated collection!