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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 Link

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.

Creating Seamless Patterns73
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 Screenshot74

Creating Pins75
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 Screenshot76

Complicate Orb Icon77
This tutorial will teach you doing more complicate button icon or Orb effect Icon using Illustrator. This is quite a long tutorial.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot78

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 Illustrator79
This is part two in my series of tutorials about how to make comic book art on the computer.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot80

Instant Op Art81
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 Screenshot82

Creating Reflecting Web Icons in Illustrator83
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 Screenshot84

Draw Ballon in Illustrator Tutorial85
Simple, yet effective. In few steps to a nice illustrated baloon.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot86

Illustrator 3D Effect Tutorial87
3D Effect slide show tutorial on Flickr.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot88

Sources and Resources Link

Footnotes Link

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SmashingConf Barcelona 2016

Hold on, Tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf Barcelona, on October 25–26, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.

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Sven is the co-founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. He's now writing at his Conterest Blog, where he focuses on blogs, content strategy and publishing — all in German.

  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!


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