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The Smashing Book #5

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Adobe Illustrator Tutorials – Best Of: Part 2

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It’s been about 7 months since the original Illustrator Tutorials – Best Of1 was published, and in that time there have been many more noteworthy tutorials released. With all of that new content , it’s only appropriate to put out a second edition of the best Illustrator tutorials. In this post you’ll find some basic tutorials on getting started with certain aspects of Illustrator and some of its specific tools. You’ll also find more advanced tutorials that deal with all of the potential that Illustrator brings to graphic design.

Many of these tutorials have been developed by some of the best in the business, so you’re sure to find plenty of new techniques and tricks to take your graphic design skills to a new level.

Adobe Illustrator Tutorials – Best Of Link

A Comprehensive Guide: Illustrator’s Paintbrush Tool and Brush Panel2
Probably the most comprehensive tutorial or article on this subject. Everyone can learn something here that will improve their skills with brushes, and it’s especially useful for beginners with Illustrator.

paintbrush guide

Illustrator’s Pen Tool: The Comprehensive Guide3
Another extensive guide from VECTORTUTS. This one leads you through a series of exercises that will quickly develop your skills with the pen tool. Again, an excellent resource for beginners and for those who just want to improve their work with the pen tool.

pen tool guide

An Intro to the Mesh Tool4
Gradient meshes have a lot of power and potential in Illustrator, but you have to know how to use them. This tutorial is a good starting point if you haven’t worked with them before or if you are looking for a refresher.

mesh tool

Create a Cute Vector Monster from a Pencil Sketch5
Illustrated characters are obviously a popular trend right now in Web design. Let Chris Spooner show you the process used to create this vector monster from sketch to Illustrator.

vector monster

Geometric Patterns in Illustrator6
Patterns have plenty of use in Web design, and in this tutorial Veerle takes us through the process of creating one using a hexagonal shape.

geometric patterns

Trendy Geometric Lines Tutorial7
This tutorial uses Photoshop to add finishing touches to work done in Illustrator. It’s easy to find a use for these techniques in wallpaper design or creating background images for websites.

trendy lines

BMX Illustration8
If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands and want detailed design and Illustration tutorials, IllustrationClass is the place to go. The tutorials are available as Zip downloads. The approximate time for this tutorial is 18 hours. There are over 50 images included and the notes are seven pages long.

BMX

Symmetrical Illustration: Thug Bunny9
Another detailed tutorial from IllustrationClass. This one again takes you through the whole process from sketch to finished artwork, this time to create a cartoon thug bunny.

thug bunny

How to Create an Open Book with Illustrator’s 3D Extrude & Bevel Tool10
Learn how to create an impressive-looking book with some handy Illustrator tools.

open book

Blueprint Style Text in Adobe Illustrator11
A text effect that’s surprisingly not as complicated as it looks. The end result is a text logo that resembles a blueprint.

blueprint text

Creating an Environmentally Friendly Green Type Treatment12
This is one of the more useful text tutorials on Illustrator. It will teach you techniques that are especially effective for logo design and creating website headers.

green type

Type on a Path Options13
In this tutorial you’ll get a quick look at the potential of using type on a path. You’ll see examples of several different useful effects, with explanations of each.

type on a path

Create Your Own Vector Cartoon Character14
Starting with a sketch, Chris Spooner will lead you through the process of creating a fun cartoon character. Chris makes it look simple to design vector characters like this one.

vector cartoon

Create a Blissful Vector Scene15
In this tutorial you’ll work through this design of the land, sky and clouds and the colorful flowers that brighten up the scene.

vector scene

Create Abstract Backgrounds16
Experimenting with creating backgrounds is an effective way to master the tools of Illustrator and enhance your skills. This tutorial leads you through some experimentation, and of course there is plenty of opportunity here to go off on your own and be creative.

abstract backgrounds

Recolor Artwork Using Illustrator’s LiveColor17
A helpful tutorial from Veerle that will have you recoloring your work with ease. Veerle takes you through all the necessary steps to use a feature of Illustrator that can be intimidating.

live color

Extract Paths from Mesh Shapes18
This is a quick, brief tutorial, but if you’ve been frustrated trying to edit meshes, this will help you convert them back to paths to make editing much easier.

extract paths

Wrapping Text Around an Image in Illustrator19
Particularly useful if you’re using Illustrator for page layout design, this tutorial will help you create a very professional look.

wrap text

Create a Spiral Ornament Symbol in Illustrator20
Spirals and curls can add a lot of artistic character to a design, and here you’ll learn to create attractive spirals with some of the basic Illustrator tools.

spiral ornament

How to Draw Your Own Vector Wings21
Starting with a photo of a single feather, this tutorial will lead you through the process of creating a nice set of vector wings to use in your own graphic design work.

vector wings

Create a Rotatable Globe in Adobe Illustrator22
You’ll learn some more about working with 3D images in this tutorial. The end result is an impressive and realistic globe.

3D globe

Create a Stunning Undersea Painting Using Vector Packs23
Go Media’s vector packs are well known in the industry, and this tutorial takes you through a very detailed process of using the contents of the vector pack to create something special.

undersea painting

A Pseudo-Sugar Skull: From Start to Finish24
Go Media puts out another complete tutorial that takes you the whole way through the process of sketching this skull and creating the finished piece in Illustrator.

skull

Create a Four-Leaf Clover25
Starting with some basic shapes and mixing in some nice use of gradients, you can create a well-designed four-leaf clover relatively quickly.

four leaf clover

Create a Sidekick LX Styled Vector Illustration26
There are all kinds of Photoshop tutorials for creating mobile phones, but not nearly as many for Illustrator. This tutorial starts with a JPEG of the sidekick and works through the process of creating a realistic vector version of it.

sidekick LX vector

Create an Envelope Icon with a Satin Feel27
This is a detailed tutorial with plenty of screenshots to lead you through the process of creating an attractive envelope icon, which of course has plenty of practical usage possibilities.

envelope icon

Creating a Cool Water Effect28
There are a number of Photoshop tutorials on creating similar water drop effects, but this is a nice one for Illustrator. You’ll create the background and style the text to complete the look.

cool water

How to Create a Vector Safari Compass in Illustrator29
Design a highly detailed compass that makes nice use of a vector world map as the subtle background of the compass face.

safari compass

Working with Illustrator “Art” Brushes: Options and Adjustments30
Learn more about one of the four types of Illustrator brushes. It’s mostly a post that leads you through some experimentation that will help you understand more about how art brushes work.

art brushes

Command Shape in Illustrator31
Learn how to recreate the Apple command key icon. This is an informative tutorial on working with shapes, even if you are setting out to create a different end result than the command key shape.

command shape

Using Illustrator’s Mesh Tool as Nature Intended32
In this tutorial you’ll take a basic leaf and give it some added character using the mesh tool. It’s only a seven-step process, and there’s room for some experimentation as far as how the end result looks.

mesh tool

Using the Symbol Tools33
This is part of a 30-day series on learning Illustrator34 (definitely worth checking out, especially for those who are new to Illustrator). By understanding symbols you can create images like this one quickly by reusing the symbol.

symbol tools

Illustrator Tutorial: Disco Ball35
A fun tutorial on working with symbols and the 3D effects of Illustrator. This is a fairly quick tutorial, with not a lot of steps to create the ball itself.

disco ball

Illustrator Tutorial: Surprise Gift36
If you’re looking for a tutorial in which you’ll get to work with a number of different tools, this is a good option.

surprise gift

Creating Halftone Effects37
A popular trick with Photoshop users, creating a halftone is also possible with Illustrator CS3.

halftone effects

Crazy Cool Vectors in Illustrator and Photoshop38
This tutorial starts in Illustrator to create the basic colored disk and then moves to Photoshop for some layer effects and brush work.

cool vectors

Swirl Mania in Illustrator and Photoshop39
Although this tutorial also uses Photoshop, the bulk of the work to create the swirls is done in Illustrator; Photoshop is used more for finishing touches.

swirl mania

How to Draw Simple Flowers40
Using the pen tool, you can create the outline of the flowers and gradients to add the color. As it says, it’s a simple end result, but a nice skill to have nonetheless.

simple flowers

Design Gift Boxes Using Illustrator’s 3D Tools41
The 3D tools of Illustrator have made a few appearances on this list, mostly because they give the user so much potential with surprising ease. The end result of this tutorial is a beautiful festive design.

gift boxes

Envelope Distortion in Illustrator42
Learn more about distortion and how you can use it to improve your work and explore creatively during the design process.

distortion

Background Designs43
This video tutorial from Layers Magazine shows you how to use the live trace effect to convert a stock image into an effective website background.

background designs

Creating Silhouettes in Adobe Illustrator44
Using a simple photograph, you can create a useful silhouette by tracing and cleaning it up.

creating silhouettes

Create Non-Raster Drop Shadows in Illustrator45
Here you’ll go through some well-detailed steps to create drop shadows with a few different approaches.

drop shadows

Create a Vector Home Cinema Design46
Go step by step through the process of creating a flat-screen TV, speakers and stands, all with attractive shadows and polish.

home cinema

How to Make a Vector Pattern Brush47
By creating a brush that can be used for seamless patterns, you open up a lot of opportunities for creativity. This tutorial takes you through the steps of setting up the brush and making sure that there are no seams.

pattern brush

Adobe Illustrator Shortcuts48
This is not so much a tutorial as it is a productivity post. Increasing efficiency and streamlining processes is always a good thing, and this post will give you plenty of practical shortcuts.

Ai shortcuts

Tug and Twirl Text in Illustrator49
In this tutorial you’ll take simple text and spice it up by rearranging and resizing, and then use the pen tool to create some artistic tails and swirls.

tug text

Transform a Busy Photo into a Strong Silhouette50
This tutorial uses the pen tool to trace part of a photo to create the silhouette. At the end it offers the option to go one step further in Photoshop and create a different effect by filling the silhouette with a texture.

silhouette

For additional Adobe Illustrator tutorials: Link

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Footnotes Link

  1. 1 /2008/02/05/illustrator-tutorials-best-of/
  2. 2 http://vectortuts.com/tools-tips/a-comprehensive-guide-illustrators-paintbrush-tool-and-brush-panel/
  3. 3 http://vectortuts.com/tools-tips/illustrators-pen-tool-the-comprehensive-guide/
  4. 4 http://www.aivault.com/?p=164
  5. 5 http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/create-a-cute-vector-monster-from-a-pencil-sketch
  6. 6 http://veerle.duoh.com/blog/comments/creating_geometric_patterns_in_illustrator/
  7. 7 http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/trendy-geometric-lines-design-tutorial
  8. 8 http://www.illustrationclass.com/?p=112
  9. 9 http://www.illustrationclass.com/?p=107
  10. 10 http://vectortuts.com/illustration/how-to-create-an-open-book-with-illustrators-3d-extrude-bevel-tool/
  11. 11 http://www.layersmagazine.com/blueprint-style-text-in-adobe-illustrator.html
  12. 12 http://vectortuts.com/text-effects/creating-an-environmentally-friendly-green-type-treatment/
  13. 13 http://vectips.com/tips/type-on-a-path-options/
  14. 14 http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/how-to-create-your-own-cartoon-character
  15. 15 http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/illustrator-tutorial-create-a-blissful-vector-scene
  16. 16 http://vectips.com/tutorials/create-abstract-backgrounds/
  17. 17 http://veerle.duoh.com/blog/comments/recolor_artwork_using_illustrators_livecolor/
  18. 18 http://vectips.com/tricks/extract-paths-from-mesh-shapes/
  19. 19 http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/wrapping-text-around-an-image-in-illustrator
  20. 20 http://veerle.duoh.com/blog/comments/create_a_spiral_ornament_symbol_in_illustrator/
  21. 21 http://www.gomediazine.com/tutorials/illustrator/how-to-draw-vector-wings/
  22. 22 http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/create-a-rotatable-globe-in-adobe-illustrator
  23. 23 http://www.gomediazine.com/tutorials/create-a-stunning-undersea-painting-using-vector-packs/
  24. 24 http://www.gomediazine.com/tutorials/a-pseudo-sugar-skull-from-start-to-finish/
  25. 25 http://vectips.com/tutorials/create-a-four-leaf-clover/
  26. 26 http://vectortuts.com/illustration/create-a-sidekick-lx-styled-vector-illustration/
  27. 27 http://www.aivault.com/?p=154
  28. 28 http://www.aivault.com/?p=134
  29. 29 http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/how-to-create-a-vector-safari-compass-in-illustrator
  30. 30 http://www.bittbox.com/illustrator/working-with-illustrator-art-brushes-options-and-adjustments/
  31. 31 http://veerle.duoh.com/blog/comments/command_shape_in_illustrator/
  32. 32 http://www.layersmagazine.com/using-illustrators-mesh-tool-as-nature-intended.html
  33. 33 http://www.vectordiary.com/illustrator/using-the-symbol-tools/
  34. 34 http://www.vectordiary.com/illustrator/learn-illustrator-cs3-in-30-days/
  35. 35 http://www.vectordiary.com/illustrator/illustrator-disco-ball-tutorial/
  36. 36 http://www.vectordiary.com/illustrator/illustrator-tutorial-surprise-gift/
  37. 37 http://vectips.com/tutorials/creating-halftone-effects/
  38. 38 http://abduzeedo.com/crazy-cool-vectors-illustrator-and-photoshop
  39. 39 http://abduzeedo.com/swirl-mania-illustrator-photoshop
  40. 40 http://pinkzap.com/?p=418
  41. 41 http://vectortuts.com/illustration/design-gift-boxes-using-illustrators-3d-tools/
  42. 42 http://www.computerarts.co.uk/tutorials/2d__and__photoshop/envelope_distortion_in_illustrator
  43. 43 http://www.layersmagazine.com/background-designs.html
  44. 44 http://www.layersmagazine.com/silhouettes.html
  45. 45 http://vectips.com/tutorials/create-non-raster-drop-shadows/
  46. 46 http://www.aiburn.com/article/create_a_vector_home_cinema_design
  47. 47 http://www.gomediazine.com/design-tip/pattern-brush-illustrator/
  48. 48 http://www.webdesignerwall.com/tutorials/adobe-illustrator-shortcuts/
  49. 49 http://www.creativepro.com/article/tug-and-twirl-text-illustrator
  50. 50 http://www.creativepro.com/article/transform-a-busy-photo-a-strong-silhouette
  51. 51 /2008/02/05/illustrator-tutorials-best-of/
  52. 52 /2007/02/03/adobe-illustrator-tutorials/
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Steven Snell is a Web designer and blogger. In addition to maintaining his own blog and writing for a number of other top design blogs, he also manages an online shop that offers premium graphic design resources.

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  1. 1

    Federico Espinosa

    October 8, 2008 1:43 pm

    Very interesting. Thanks

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  2. 2

    great list!!! thanks :)

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  3. 3

    Great list!

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  4. 4

    Excelente lista! se ven muy buenos esos trabajos.
    Justo que estoy en campaña de aprender Illustrator.
    Gracias por el post!!!!!

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  5. 5

    This is why I love this magazine, lovely list!

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  6. 6

    Excellent

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  7. 7

    This is just… i love you.

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  8. 8

    Thanks a lot

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  9. 9

    WOW – These are nice. Some people have been stuck on Photoshop for so long they have forgotten the power of Illustrator. Thanks. Just so there no misunderstanding, Photoshop is the bomb I love it just as much.

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  10. 10

    Great list, thanks heaps.

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  11. 11

    Fantastic. Thanks a lot

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  12. 12

    wow great list! can’t wait to try all these out. thanks

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  13. 13

    Thanks a lot, but anyway — is there any chance to have some collection even about free software links? For example Inkscape is great, too — okay, not as cool as Illustrator, but still it has lots of possibilities, and I bet this was only one of the possible candidates.
    For hobbyists it may be good to provide the choice:) Anyway, for designers it’s really a must.
    Thank you!

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  14. 14

    good……..

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  15. 15

    These are ok. Most of them are pretty basic.

    Illustrator is very powerful and complicated compared to photoshop. Sure you can make those “multicolored droplets spurting from a bottle” coke ads easily enough in illustraor and make a tutorial for it, however I have yet to see anything for some of the impressive mesh work out there. The mesh tutorials in this list do not compare.

    And while illustrator is powerful and complicated you can turn out these quite easily which make a lot of things done in photoshop pale in comparison.

    Where am I going with this? I am not sure beyond the need for better illustrator tutorials, or perhaps in illustrators case, walk throughs for complicated art.

    Also whoever said that inkscape is not as cool as illustrator needs to use inkscape sometime. It is just as cool in its own right, provided you dont want to use the features that it does not have. Going on this list you only need those features for 3-4 (if that) tutorials.

    The problem is the same as illustrator lacking good learning content – not as many people use it so it pales in comparison to the glut of photoshop content available.

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  16. 16

    Gracias muy util

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  17. 17

    On a completely off topic note to our smashing blog website designer. Could you possibly address the link title headings in the smashing articles? It’s sometimes confusing to work out whether the headings belong to the article above or below. A little bit of top margin padding?

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  18. 18

    Great links …. thanks for sharing!

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  19. 19

    It makes me tingle to see such awesome tuts such as these! thanks smashing!

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  20. 20

    Extremely useful ! Thanx a lot !

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  21. 21

    Wonderful tuts… thank’s :)

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  22. 22

    Tnx SM for the these Ai tutorial collection list…very useful especially for the beginners in Ai.

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  23. 23

    Wow, great list! There goes the rest of my free time this week…

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  24. 24

    6

    Pretty please :D

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  25. 25

    How can You forget http://www.ergodraw.com. The owner was very cool.

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  26. 26

    Ryan Putnam from Vectips always shows up. Great friggen designer, sheesh. Nice list guys!

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  27. 27

    It’s a great list there….
    Thanx a tonne !!!

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  28. 28

    Thank you
    Those are some excellent Illustrator tutorials…… Can you post more of them please…..

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  29. 29

    Smashing Magazine has done it again! Thanks for sharing!

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  30. 30

    My switch from Freehand to Illustrator took long. But with these great and helpfull tutorials it is fun exploring Illustrator. Greets from Germany.

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