Adobe Illustrator Tutorials – Best Of


Over years Adobe Illustrator has become the standard application when it comes to illustration design. Artists, illustrators and graphic designers use Illustrator to create vector-based graphics which — contrary to raster-based editors such as Adobe Photoshop — can be easily rescaled without the loss of quality. E.g., Illustrator is often used to quickly transform hand-drawn sketches on a sheet of paper into lively and colorful digital images.

However, to master Adobe Illustrator isn’t easy; and the creating process of professional illustrations requires both time and patience. Therefore tutorials can turn out to be real life- and time-savers as they show exactly what needs to be done in order to create professional illustrations and how masters of illustration actually manage to do their magic. One year ago we’ve presented a hand-picked collection of Illustrator tutorials1. Now it’s time for a fresh portion of healthy and creative Illustrator material.

In this post we present a collection of excellent Adobe Illustrator tutorials for beginners and advanced designers. The new selection isn’t enormous, but big enough to provide you with some good starting points.

Please notice that

  • we’ve selected only those tutorials which haven’t been featured last year or were released after the article was published.
  • you might also be interested in Adobe Photoshop Tutorials – Best Of2 we’ve presented few weeks ago.

Illustrator Tutorials

Creating a Crazy Cool Logo3
In this post I will show you how we created the logo. I will skip the drawing parts, yes there were tons of drawings before going to the computer, because when they stole my computer and backups in 2006 they took all my photos of the drawings.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot4

Spice up Pie Charts5
For some charts you might only want to spice up the most important slice or the biggest one. Although most topics aren’t as fun as mutations, any sort of added graphics make boring charts look a lot better.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot6

Wolf Drawing Tutorial7
Learn how to create an illustrated wolf from the hand-drawn paper sketch to final product with Illustrator and Photoshop.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot8

Skull Tutorial9
An alien skull tutorial. Editorial illustration.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot10

How I Do Stuff Tutorial11 (Video-tutorial)
It’s just a speed-up video of how one can go from a sketch to a mediocre illustration using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot12

Test Your Creativity13
“Using a provided set of basic shapes I have to compile them to create my illustration. The theme is up to me but there are some ground rules such as you cannot edit the shapes or distort them, you however can subtract from them using any of the shapes in the provided set.”

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot14

Vintage T-Shirts15
It’s easy to create authentic collegiate T-shirt designs using Illustrator, Photoshop and a good old-fashioned iron. In this tutorial, illustrator Derek Lea reveals how combining both applications can create stunning results.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot16

Gigposter Design: The New Sex17
Learn how to create an impressive gig poster design with Illustrator.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot18

Pirate cartoon tutorial19
Learn how to create a vector pirate cartoon character from a hand-drawn sketch.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot20

Pixels and Vectors Tutorial21
The gap between working with pixels and vectors in Photoshop and Illustrator is closing rapidly, thanks to Smart Objects. Derek Lea explains all while creating a highly textured yet vector-sharp masterpiece.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot22

Comic Book Style Tutorial23
Learn how to create illustrations and turn them into flyers or posters. The end product will be a flyer which was created for an art show.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot24

Creating Road Maps in Adobe Illustrator25
Sooner or later every designer comes across the exciting job of producing a map, whether it’s on a leaflet or website the overall aim is to visually document a particular area of land to allow for people to find their way to a place of business or event.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot26

Cutaway Car Illustration Tutorial27
In this lesson you’ll learn how to create a 3-Point Perspective-view drawing of a generic car, working from plan and elevation view reference only.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot28

White Tiger Tutorial29
A cartoony white tiger tutorial. A poster illustration.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot30

From Sketch To Vector Illustration31
A technique of vector illustrating that takes a little bit more skill is starting with hand-drawn sketches. This tutorial captures the whole design process — from scratch.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot32

Retro Car Tutorial33
All you need is Illustrator, some inks and some brushes to turn a photograph of a car into a vector illustration.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot34

Intricate Patterns In Illustrator Tutorial35
This tutorial will show you how to create intricate patterns in Illustrator super quickly. Stuff that would take you hours to draw manually with the Pen Tool takes just seconds when you use this technique. Video-version is also available.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot36

Not as easy as it looks: A beveled star37
A simple and effective tutorial on how to create a beveled star — in 7 steps.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot38

Tutorial: Transform, Style, Blend39
Do you like things to have a bit of randomness, an element of surprise? Me too. Learn how to create random swirls in Illustrator with few steps.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot40

Tutorial: Transform, Style, Blend41
In this video tutorial you’ll learn how to illustrate an iPod Nano from scratch using the 3D Effect in Adobe Illustrator.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot42

Ellipse Drawing Tutorial43
Creating a Circle in Perspective with Adobe Illustrator. More excellent tutorials for beginners44.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot45

How To Make 3D Vector Vintage Stars46
I’m going to walk you through a technique to create vintage looking 3d stars in Illustrator. You guessed it, 100% vector.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot47

Poster Illustration: Go Forth and Create48
Suffice it to say this tutorial is my personal switcher story from FreeHand to Illustrator and contains the good, the bad and the ugly details of both apps. Tutorial Includes Notes in both ‘English’ and ‘Español’.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot49

Create a Vector RSS Icon with Illustrator50
Probably one of the most popular and recognisable icons in the web universe; the RSS icon is displayed on many website to indicate the availability of a subscription feed. There are pre-made icons you can download and place on your website, however this tutorial cover the process of creating your own custom vector RSS icon in Illustrator.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot51

Vehicle Vector Tutorial52
Learn how to design a vector vehicle with Illustrator.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot53

Fertile Mind Tutorial54

This tutorial will walk you through an illustrative banner for the Portland Oregon AIGA chapters ‘Urban Forest Project.’

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot55

Face, Hair, Clothing Illustrator Tutorial56
Learn how to create real-looking human face, hair and cloth.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot57

Illustrator: Golden Selection58
Have you ever wondered why a profound piece of art is so compositionally pleasing? The artist probably employed the use of the Divine Proportion, which is a phenomenon that suggests that there’s a mathematical equation that’s consistent with the aesthetics of good composition.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot59

Complex Circular Design Techniques60
Creating intricate circular designs and patterns may look difficult because the shapes can be very complicated, but you will be surprised at just how easy making these shapes can be. I will go over some neat tricks, tools, techniques, and settings that will have you pumping out perfect circular designs in no time using Illustrator.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot61

Illustrating the Flower Pattern62
This article will outline the main steps on how I made the flower pattern in Illustrator. Hopefully, this can answer your question.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot63

Drawing a Character’s Face in Illustrator64
Creating a cartoon or human-like caricature is a fun and rewarding project to do in Illustrator. Not only that, but if you’re pretty good with the pen tool, it doesn’t take very long. In this tutorial I will be creating an elf. Be sure to look at refrences of other cartoons or caricatures to make sure your shapes are correct.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot65

Ornate Lettering Process66
I’m going to show you the process as to how I do my ornate lettering. This is a new design I did for Stone Sour that utilized this technique. Now right off the bat, this is not a step by step tutorial. It’s more of a look behind the scenes into how I work.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot67

Transform Again68
You can achieve surprisingly cool results using the Transform Again feature in Illustrator starting from a simple shape. As you all know simplicity is my motto. Today I try turn this into practice again. So sit tight for another step-by-step tutorial using this simple but oh so powerful feature.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot69

Create A Blob Monster in Illustrator – The Scream70
Over that last couple of days i’ve been playing around in Illustrator a lot make some basic shapes and images. One of my best creations is the Blob Monster called the scream. It is really simple to do and doesn’t take long to complete. This technique can be used for nearly any type of simple shape / monster.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot71

Drawing Homer Simpson72
Illustrator is a great program. It offers so much versatility in creating vector images. Hence why it is the top vector program out there. As a beginner to this program I want to share with you a tutorial that is simple to follow that you can use to draw Homer Simpson of The Simpsons.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot73

7 Things You Didn’t Know Adobe Illustrator Could Do74
These are: The Blend Tool / Adding Lines Between Lines… The Mesh Tool / Adding Shading To A Shape… 3D / Entering The Next Dimension… Patterns / Making Fills Interesting… Symbol Sprayer / Splatter some vector… Blur / Smooth Out The Vector…. Transparency / Bringing Depth To Overlaying Shapes…

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot75

Creating Seamless Patterns76
One of the frequest questions I get from readers is how you create seamless patterns in Illustrator. Today I’ll explain how I create such patterns and how you can scale and rotate them using different settings in the Scale tool options.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot77

Creating Pins78
Pins are popular these days, so I thought why not write a tutorial on how to create these in Adobe Illustrator. If you’ve ever wondered how to simulate this realistic looking pin or button effect, here’s your chance to learn.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot79

Complicate Orb Icon80
This tutorial will teach you doing more complicate button icon or Orb effect Icon using Illustrator. This is quite a long tutorial.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot81

Retain Spot Colors without Losing Your Marbles 82
Are you using Photoshop to create something with both transparency effects and spot colors? You may be better off with Illustrator instead.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot83

Stylish Vector Flower84
Learn how to create stylish vector/line flower with Illustrator Blend Tool. This Adobe Illustrator tutorial is great for creating background and large print illustration. More Illustrator tutorials from nDesign85.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot86

Illustrator Tutorial: Creating Vector Snowflakes
Just in time for the holidays… a tutorial for creating those fun, festive holiday snowflakes. These vector flakes are a must-have for turning your holiday designs into a winter wonderland. So sit back, grab a cup of eggnog, and feast your eyes on how amazingly simple it is to create a vector snowflake.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot

The Complete Digital Comic, Part 2: Inking in Illustrator87
This is part two in my series of tutorials about how to make comic book art on the computer.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot88

Instant Op Art89
Use Illustrator’s transform functions to create a stunning op art piece with a real sense of movement. Mark Mayers shows you how… This is a PDF-Document.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot90

Creating Reflecting Web Icons in Illustrator91
One of the looks of "Web 2.0" is the aqua icons that Matt Kloskowski shows us how to make in the first issue of Adobe Illustrator Techniques print issue. Another look is the reflecting icon. The clean, crisp look of these attractive images makes clicking through a website’s navigation fun. Here’s how to make one of those neat icons.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot92

Draw Ballon in Illustrator Tutorial93
Simple, yet effective. In few steps to a nice illustrated baloon.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot94

Illustrator 3D Effect Tutorial95
3D Effect slide show tutorial on Flickr.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot96

Sources and Resources

↑ Back to topShare on Twitter

Co-Founder of Smashing Magazine. Former writer, web designer, freelancer and webworker. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories.

  1. 1

    you made me want to work with illustrator =P~
    these tuts will keep me busy for the next few days :D
    thanks for another smashing post ;)

  2. 2

    thank you guys! this is absolutely super!!

  3. 3

    Jeremy (fine art of fathering)

    February 5, 2008 8:07 am

    man this is the best resource on the net…thanks for all the great posts!

  4. 4

    I love this post! Very helpful and inspiring – thanks!
    - craig

  5. 5

    quit spamming your own site with all the compliments.

  6. 6

    It seemes like the link on “how to make random swirls” is not right…

  7. 7

    Thanks! I suck at vectorial !!!

  8. 8

    Beautiful list.

  9. 9

    Nice smashing list as usual ;)

  10. 10

    This is awesome! I will have to spend the weekend going over these.

    I mainly use for tutorials which I definitely recommend, but it’s not free.

    Thanks again.

  11. 11

    Thanks for all the links!

  12. 12

    Me too, definitely. Great set here, thank you very much.

  13. 13

    Wow. My girlfriend will be very happy to hear about this article! She will love me more! :))

  14. 14

    Another great collection. Thanks!

  15. 15

    Very very good collection. :) fajna sprawa:)

  16. 16

    Nice work! Just forwarded the link to all my friends. And Im sure they’ll love it.

  17. 17

    I’m just starting with Illustrator, and it was slow going trying to find actually good tutorials. When I saw this in my feed reader, I almost had a joygasm. Thanks!

  18. 18

    Doug Vander Meulen

    February 5, 2008 11:32 am

    Here is the random swirls url:

  19. 19

    this is without a doubt the best collection of Adobe Illustrator tutorials on the net!

    thanks SM! *thumbs up*

  20. 20

    Wow what a great rundown, it would take hundreds of hours to pull off this stuff.
    The awesome thing is all of these sites are likely to have even tons more tutorials.
    thanks for highlighting these sites then!

  21. 21
  22. 22

    I’ve been wanting an awesome list of AI tutorials forever. Thanks so much for compiling this!

  23. 23

    Thank you so much for this article!!! I love Illustrator but I know I have a lot to learn, and this will REALLY help me learn it for my job!

  24. 24

    Tutorial: Transform, Style, Blend —> bad link, same of ”Not as easy as it looks: A beveled star” ;-)

  25. 25

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    February 5, 2008 3:42 pm

    @oldSkull: thank you, fixed.

  26. 26

    love all content.

  27. 27
  28. 28

    Great stuff!! i really like it ^^

  29. 29

    Thanks…. Nice collection..

  30. 30

    thanks for the great collection …. you are the best

  31. 31

    lol :D i think dudes have done a good job and that’s the reason of plenty of good words ;)

  32. 32

    super man its really worth …..smashing magazine…is my best dude where i am learning every day and getting new ideas in design ks dude

  33. 33

    Sweet collection. And quite handy too!

  34. 34

    Thanks a lot. This is gonna sharpen my Illustrator skills

  35. 35

    thx, nice. have got inspiration)

  36. 36

    Thanks for referencing my site AiBURN, with the Tropical Transparency Effect Tut. This is a great roundup. I was hoping you were going to do one. I’ve been putting together a lot of Illustrator resources and you found some that I wasn’t aware of. I’ll have to check them out. Thanks.

  37. 37

    First thank you very much for listing my tutorial (creating a crazy cool logo) among these amazing tutorials.

    keep up the excellent work.

  38. 38


    Can anyone here respond to a question? I have a mini Mac for starters and had hoped to run some very old Adobe Illustrator software, i.e, version 5.0 from about 1994. I called Adobe and of course its too old to upgrade and the current Macs apparently cant recognize this old fashioned code. Thus, does anyone have any ideas as to if there are ways to run old versions of software like this? I just want some basic geometry tools and dont want to spend the dough on the latest Adobe stuff. If anyone has suggestions or can offer advice, Id appreciate your time!



  39. 39

    That complex circular design is amazing, I plan to print that on a largecanvas for my dining room. Now that would look amazing!

  40. 40


    Why not try bit torrent?


    find an ooooooold i mac on ebay, they go for about $90!!

  41. 41

    men! it was weeks i was searching good illustrator tutorials!
    this llist is perfect!
    smashing you are always the best!

  42. 42

    Nice Collection of Tutorials. Thanks again Guys!

  43. 43

    Great resources. Thx for sharing them with us!

  44. 44


    Last night I found a new free vector drawing program which seems to be what I need; have not had time to work with it, but there are several new shareware and free programs that are available for drawing, which is nice to see!!

    here is a link for you to look into FYI:

  45. 45

    yeah this is sweet !
    thanks to sm i have started doing rnd of tons of things which were not my domain

  46. 46

    hi every body this deepak sharma

  47. 47

    great guys as usual :-)
    “Ellipse Drawing Tutorial” and “Cutaway Car Illustration Tutorial” goes to the same link…I think it needs to be fixed

  48. 48

    Good job !!

  49. 49

    If I can master these, I will be on top of the world !

  50. 50

    Great list as usual, Thanks SM :)

  51. 51

    aaaah, I was seriously learning some Javascript dedicatedly and there you go spoiling it with illustrator tuts…

  52. 52

    They’re awesome Illustrator tutorials , thank you very much

  53. 53

    Thanks so much, excellent work!!.

    Best wishes ;)

  54. 54

    Although I have been using Photoshop since it was version 3.. I am very new (as In I got it yesterday) to Illustrator. i thought it would be simple, but I find myself aghast at that transition. Between the tutorials here and Bittbox, I am finally getting a grip on Illustrator. Thanks so much Smashing Magazine for the tutorials and inspiration!

  55. 55

    I have so much to learn about illustrator… All these tutorials are really going to help me expand the type of work I will make in the future. Thanks a bunch!

  56. 56

    thats so wonderful.great thank!

  57. 57

    Great collection !
    Thank you :)

  58. 58

    This is such an awesome site thank you so much!!!!

  59. 59

    thanks so much…….cool

  60. 60

    I have just started to design digital papers, brushes and elements for the digital scrapbooking industry and was struggling to realise the extensive list of design ideas I had in my head as i was only using Photoshop Elements. I looked at the Photoshop CS3 package and nearly passed out at the cost – after reading your list of tutorials I now know I only need illustrator. I can now realise a lot of my designs without the headache!


  61. 61

    thanks for everything………….. i love it so much, thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  62. 62

    This page has everything i need!

  63. 63

    Can somebody please tell me where I can find illustrator tutorials for begginers, I can do most of the things here because I don’t now the basic…

  64. 64

    This is the best thing that happend to me :) Thank you very very much :)

  65. 65

    These are okay. Nothing really spectacular.

  66. 66

    I cant wait to get started on Illustrator!!!!!!!! Great great great!!!

  67. 67

    Wow…. this was the greatest resources that i ever found in the net…. Thanks alot for the post…… Cant wait to get started with Illustrator

  68. 68


  69. 69

    Thank you! :)

  70. 70

    thank U for the this tutorial !!

  71. 71

    This is really Good stuff Guy!!!!!

  72. 72

    completely worth to try, thanks a lot

  73. 73

    some of tutorials seems HARD, but nice try, n good paves. thank u

  74. 74

    Very nice, please add one tutorial of how to create a calender by using illustrator and photoshop pleaaaaaaaase.


  75. 75

    wow a lot of great tutorials. thanks

  76. 76

    fantastic resource, thank you very much!

  77. 77

    Very helpful…thanks

  78. 78


  79. 79

    best great resources

  80. 80


  81. 81

    really grat post! very educational :D

  82. 82

    Really nice collection! Visually, on screen these are stunning but I would love to see how many of these come off when they are printed.
    Copy Craft –

  83. 83

    Abhijeet Chavan

    April 16, 2009 5:04 am

    This is god send blog to me :))
    Kudos to Smashing… Hit Team

  84. 84

    Thanks for the tutorials, fantastic! Cheers, Matt.

  85. 85

    best tutorial send my id.

  86. 86

    Great abundance of helpful tutorials here! May I also suggest the following tutorial:

    This is a pretty simple one, it shows how to create a particle effect for your design!

  87. 87

    yah dog after i got home from space i went straight to this i learned so much when im upp in space ima take my laptop and do this shit thanks man
    love, sgt stud muffin

  88. 88

    yo man these tuts could use some work nah mean

  89. 89

    man this is oh my… this is a great blessing from up above! God bless you for such help n inspiration!
    Oh my… Thanx very very much for these resources!

  90. 90

    excellent tutorial….it really helped me a lot. Thank you.

  91. 91

    Very good stuff!
    before i wasn t able to do anything in illustrator =D, it really helped me to get started in it and everything good inspiration ;)
    thanks a lot !

  92. 92

    Thks man!!!!

  93. 93

    thnx alot this helped me alottttttttt thnx for every one:) iam a beginner on illustrator but now i know lots of things that others don’t :)

  94. 94

    some of them are not having explanation…..

  95. 95

    Nice stuff

  96. 96

    thanx for these great tuts

  97. 97

    nice site. do you have these tutorials in pdf form?

  98. 98

    i learn lotes of there very nice callection

  99. 99

    Hi wat up yo a gangsta

  100. 100

    Hi! I’m Yin Yin. Your tutorial is so good. I love your tutorials. You’re a good teacher.

  101. 101

    great vector designs.. I like the VW car one..

  102. 102

    can you help with finding the actuall font for People megazine for this program “Macromedia FreeHand MX” ???
    pls pls ….

  103. 103

    wow, can i say that again? yes, WOW!
    thanks for putting that together.

  104. 104

    best of the best WOW

  105. 105

    Thank you for a great collection!

  106. 106

    Its a nice feeling to learn something interesting, really! I am a learner of adobe illustrator but i found lots of brilliant techniques here. Now illustrator seems easy for me…. thnx a lot …

  107. 107

    Thanks a lot. all expert work great job

  108. 108

    where can i get tutorials or communities where I can learn to design toilet tissue packaging. or at least find a blank template

  109. 109

    Very good tutorial! You are mad.Thanks.

  110. 110

    hello plath and… i speak portuguese im fron angola Launda ,this is…africa…thanks and sorry for my bad english … i like the smash magazine so im here becouse im design and i havent dificult to creat a my tutorial in the web page…and i need your help…thanks.

    • 111

      sorry wild like say i have a big problem to creat a my tutorial in to web pag…and i need your help…thanks

  111. 112

    Nice job!
    I like it so much.
    Do it always! That is my inspirations forever and ever.
    I hope I can use all of the tools of Illustrator like you.
    Thank you!

  112. 113


  113. 114

    its very nice creating thanks

  114. 115

    i want to learn it.its so easy.butt if some of the information about the basic tools of illustrator are available.then its so great.plz

  115. 116

    Great ideas and suggestions. Take a look at the awesome design of this website, It also has great articles about finance, world issues, and everything cool.

  116. 117

    Great Info!, my website is very grateful!!!

  117. 119

    Is adobe illustrator cs3 free?

  118. 120

    Jacques Santoriella

    September 18, 2010 3:58 am

    hey adminstrator , i like w/ ur blog. LOL Please come to my blog

  119. 121

    @above me .lol Do you have another idea about my comment

  120. 122

    Syed Hasimul Kabir Rana

    October 11, 2010 9:17 pm

    Thanking you for nice & exclusive collection.

  121. 123

    shiv pratap singh

    March 23, 2011 6:09 am

    Thanks for this

  122. 124

    really awesome collection here :)

  123. 126

    Thanking you for nice & exclusive collection.
    Graphic Design

  124. 127

    i want vidio tutorial instantly adope illustrator 11.0.

  125. 128

    Awesome tutorials, I like all of them thanks for sharing!!

  126. 129

    Hey guys. Found these super realistic pencil brushes for CS5. Great for illustrators. They are the best I’ve seen out there. The price is pretty reasonable too.

  127. 130

    I’d sure like to use these tutorials, but when I click to get one, all I see is the written introduction — can’t make the video run. Maybe I need some sort of player? I’m running OS 10.6.6, and accessing your page thru FireFox.

  128. 131

    I loved it posts ……………………….Really i am very exited to join this tutorials

  129. 132

    Sorry for the beginners question! Looking for easy way to take an existing .jpg containing an illustration pull into Illustrator and make changes to the drawing. Something like trace the design where I can add more or move existing lines. Can anyone recommend a tutorial that will help in this direction

  130. 133

    Greatest collection of easy to follow resources! Thank you so very much for your time.

  131. 134

    Olajuwon Marcus

    March 13, 2012 6:05 am

    These tutorial are awesome… i will surely see something to learn and use. Thanks

  132. 135

    That’s fantastic! Please


↑ Back to top