Learn Adobe Illustrator: All the Basics for Beginners

A few weeks ago we published a post, Learn Photoshop, that included links to well over 100 resources for mastering the basics of Photoshop and the use of the various tools. In response to reader request, we’re publishing this post to help designers who want to get started with Adobe Illustrator, or maybe just sharpen their existing skills.

Illustrator is a powerful program, but it can be overwhelming or confusing at times, simply because of everything that is possible. If you’re new to Illustrator, taking the time to understand the basics and how to use the specific tools will go a long way towards setting you up for success. In this post we’ve categorized more than 100 resources that will teach you everything you need to learn.

Basic Intro to Illustrator and the User Interface:

What is Illustrator?

What is Illustrator?

Getting Started in Illustrator

Getting Started in Illustrator

Working with Illustrator’s Workspaces (video)

Working with Illustrator's Workspaces

Fun with Illustrator’s Lessor Known, Yet Powerful Tools

Fun with Illustrator's Lessor Known, Yet Powerful Tools

How to Use Smart Guides in Illustrator (video)

How to Use Smart Guides in Illustrator

Illustrator CS4 Appearance Panel (video)

Illustrator CS4 Appearance Panel

Magic Wand Tool:

Illustrator CS4 Quick Tips: Magic Wand (video)

Illustrator CS4 Quick Tips: Magic Wand

Utilizing the Magic Wand’s Tolerance Levels

Utilizing the Magic Wand's Tolerance Levels

Brushes:

Using Brushes

Using Brushes

How to Open Illustrator Brush Sets

How to Open Illustrator Brush Sets

A Comprehensive Guide: Illustrator’s Paintbrush Tool and Brush Panel

A Comprehensive Guide: Illustrator's Paintbrush Tool and Brush Panel

How to Customize Your Default Illustrator Brush Settings (video)

How to Customize Your Default Illustrator Brush Settings

Working with Illustrator “Art” Brushes: Options and Adjustments

Working with Illustrator

How to Make a Custom Illustrator Brush

How to Make a Custom Illustrator Brush

Scribbles:

How to Use Scribble Effects in Illustrator

How to Use Scribble Effects in Illustrator

Create Your Own Scribbled, Scratchy Typeface in Illustrator

Create Your Own Scribbled, Scratchy Typeface in Illustrator

How to Use the Scribble Effect in Illustrator

How to Use the Scribble Effect in Illustrator

Patterns:

The Power (and Ease) of Patterns in Illustrator

The Power (and Ease) of Patterns in Illustrator

How to Import Pattern Swatches into Illustrator

How to Import Pattern Swatches into Illustrator

Working with Pattern Swatches in Illustrator

Working with Pattern Swatches in Illustrator

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Creating Seamless Patterns in Illustrator

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Creating Seamless Patterns in Illustrator

Creating Geometric Patterns in Illustrator

Creating Geometric Patterns in Illustrator

Pen and Pencil Tools:

Drawing with the Pencil Tool

Drawing with the Pencil Tool

Drawing with the Pen Tool

Drawing with the Pen Tool

Illustrator’s Pen Tool: The Comprehensive Guide

Illustrator's Pen Tool: The Comprehensive Guide

Illustrator Pen Tool Exercises

Illustrator Pen Tool Exercises

Transform:

All About Transformation in Adobe Illustrator

All About Transformation in Adobe Illustrator

Transform Again in Illustrator

Transform Again in Illustrator

Using Transform Again in Illustrator

Using Transform Again in Illustrator

Symbols:

Smarter Illustrator with Symbols

Smarter Illustrator with Symbols

Spraying Symbols in Adobe Illustrator

Spraying Symbols in Adobe Illustrator

Using Symbols in Illustrator

Using Symbols in Illustrator

Type Tool and Text Effects:

Illustrator 101: The Type Tool

Illustrator 101: The Type Tool

Illustrator’s Type Tool: A Comprehensive Introduction

Illustrator's Type Tool: A Comprehensive Introduction

Type on a Path Options

Type on a Path Options

3 Ways to Apply a Line Pattern Effect on Text in Illustrator

3 Ways to Apply a Line Pattern Effect on Text in Illustrator

Layers:

Hide Layers

Hide Layers

Improve Your Illustrator Workflow with Layer Masking

Improve Your Illustrator Workflow with Layer Masking

Editing Objects, Layers, and Groups

Editing Objects, Layers, and Groups

Blend Tool:

Illustrator’s Blend Tool: A Comprehensive Guide

Illustrator's Blend Tool: A Comprehensive Guide

Illustrator 101: Superfast Spacing with the Blend Tool

Illustrator 101: Superfast Spacing with the Blend Tool

Fun with Illustrator’s Blend Tool

Fun with Illustrator's Blend Tool

3D:

Illustrator 3D: Bust Down the 2D Barrier

Illustrator 3D: Bust Down the 2D Barrier

Creating 3D Shapes in Illustrator (video)

Creating 3D Shapes in Illustrator

Illustrator Revolve Tool to Evolve You

Illustrator Revolve Tool to Evolve You

Shapes:

Drawing Basic Shapes

Drawing Basic Shapes

Illustrator Shapes Tutorial

Illustrator Shapes Tutorial

Quickly Edit Shapes in Illustrator

Quickly Edit Shapes in Illustrator

4 Simple Shapes in Illustrator

4 Simple Shapes in Illustrator

Make a Perfect Triangle Path in Illustrator

Make a Perfect Triangle Path in Illustrator

Pathfinder:

A Comprehensive Guide to the Pathfinder Panel

A Comprehensive Guide to the Pathfinder Panel

Pathfinder: Explained

Pathfinder: Explained

Complex Symbols with Pathfinder

Complex Symbols with Pathfinder

Using the Pathfinder and Align Tool in Illustrator

Using the Pathfinder and Align Tool in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator: The Pathfinder Palette (video)

Adobe Illustrator: The Pathfinder Palette

Live Trace:

A Comprehensive Guide to Illustrator’s Live Trace Tool and More

A Comprehensive Guide to Illustrator's Live Trace Tool and More

Perfect Silhouette with Live Trace

Perfect Silhouette with Live Trace

How to Make Pop Art with Live Trace (video)

How to Make Pop Art with Live Trace

Selections:

Working with the Group Selection Tool (video)

Working with the Group Selection Tool

Adobe Illustrator CS4: Isolation Mode (video)

Adobe Illustrator CS4: Isolation Mode

Selection Tools

Selection Tools

Gradient Mesh:

Intro to the Gradient Mesh Tool (video)

Intro to the Gradient Mesh Tool

Tips for Working with the Gradient Mesh Tool in Illustrator

Tips for Working with the Gradient Mesh Tool in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator Gradient Mesh Tool (video)

Adobe Illustrator Gradient Mesh Tool

Clipping Paths, Clipping Masks, and Opacity Masks:

The Basics of Clipping Paths and Opacity Masks

The Basics of Clipping Paths and Opacity Masks

How to Make a Clipping Mask in Illustrator

How to Make a Clipping Mask in Illustrator

Colors:

How to Create a Wide Range of Custom Color Swatches in Adobe Illustrator

How to Create a Wide Range of Custom Color Swatches in Adobe Illustrator

Live Color in Adobe Illustrator (video)

Live Color in Adobe Illustrator

Recolor Artwork Using Illustrator’s Live Color

Recolor Artwork Using Illustrator's Live Color

How to Create Your Own Color Separations

How to Create Your Own Color Separations

Productivity:

17 Tips that will Save You Time in Illustrator

17 Tips that will Save You Time in Illustrator

7 Exceptionally Useful Text Shortcuts

7 Exceptionally Useful Text Shortcuts

Adobe Illustrator CS4 Keyboard Shortcuts

Adobe Illustrator CS4 Keyboard Shortcuts

Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

Lines:

Dotted Lines in Illustrator

Dotted Lines in Illustrator

For more Illustrator tutorials please see:

Published March 28th, 2010 by

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53 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Christiane Beauregard, March 29, 2010

    Check out what could be done with Adobe Illustrator by looking at illustrators

  • Shanna, March 29, 2010

    Wow! this is just AWESOME! Thanks so much for this resource list.

  • Linda van Rosmalen, March 29, 2010

    Friggin’ awesome list. Let the fun commence! Thanks Peeps!

  • Dzinepress, March 29, 2010

    amazing training program you describe in one page, really helping. thanks

  • Fruitful Fusion, March 29, 2010

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • Ross, March 29, 2010

    Waow,

    once again an amazing post!

    Thanks for sharing

  • Web Guru, March 29, 2010

    With the increasing use of illustrations in web development and more of my curiosity for illustrations, this was just the right article for me. thanks a ton.

  • aledesign.it, March 29, 2010

    Fantastic this post. Really useful. Great!

  • Again, another amazing list of resources for everyone using Illustrator.

  • Anonymous, March 29, 2010

    Illustrator is very useful in this case. Good post by the way.

  • Petr Mishin, March 30, 2010

    Omg! Its very very cool :) Thanks

  • James Ballard, April 1, 2010

    While not in the order I would like them to be from beginner to capable, the tuts are great!

    • Vandelay Website Design, April 1, 2010

      James,
      I thought it would be helpful to keep things categorized by particular topics rather than going in order of what’s most appropriate for beginners. In my opinion, ordering like that would be pretty subjective. Anyway, sorry it’s not exactly how you would like, but I’m glad it’s helpful to you.

  • Melinda, April 3, 2010

    Thanks so much for all the recent tutorial posts – hours of fun and I don’t know where to start!

  • Raju, April 4, 2010

    A long & informative post. It will help me a lot. Thanks for sharing.

  • el terminali, April 5, 2010

    ı am using corel bu ı want to learn Illustrator, thanks this tutorial, ı hope so ı will learn Illustrator soon :))

  • Sensiz Yaşayamam Dizisi, April 5, 2010

    Omg! Its very very cool thank…………..

  • Adrian | IOM Web Design, April 8, 2010

    Great Post,

    I’ve bookmarked this and shall be returning. I’m a bit of a novice in regards to illustrator as I spend far too long on photoshop. Been meaning to get to grasp with the ins and out of illustrator for a while now and this should be a big help.

    Thanks V Much :o)

  • Gerard Syms, April 11, 2010

    Thanks! Terrific post you’ve blessed us with! I myself am really now getting into Illustrator and Photoshop and this’ll be a great bookmark. I’m wondering about something though: is this site related to BlogSpoonGraphics in any way? I bookmarked a remarkably similar post a couple of months ago, and I could be wrong here, but I’ve had the impression that the two blogs are related somehow.

    Won’t mind if this is cleared up for me.

    Anyhow, continue the wonderful job and best wishes to you all!

    Thanks again!

  • Vintarah, August 1, 2010

    Again one great post!

    I’ve been trying to learn Illustrator for quite some time now. This post will surely help a lot. Thank you very much.

    Cheers!

  • Reverse Look Phone, August 2, 2010

    It’s true, whenever i’m on adobe, i’m always having difficulty with what effects to use their so many to the point where i use up too many then the picture gets all ugly. These are helpful tips too.

  • wien, October 4, 2010

    great post, thank u for sharing

  • NL Schober, October 8, 2010

    Excellent and timely. I’m currently struggling to learn Adobe Illustrator from Classroom in a Book and this will be very helpful

  • usman olly, November 5, 2010

    wooww i love ai , amazing thank’s v much

  • Calgary web design, November 16, 2010

    Thanks a lot for the valuable info on AI. Although we’re more of a web shop, we use AI often for some of the traditional clients.

  • Brett Widmann, December 16, 2010

    I’ve been working with illustrator for awhile but this article is definitely great for beginners.

  • Bryan Richey, December 29, 2010

    Awesome post. I am relatively new to Illustrator and have been blogging my progress in learning about Illustrator as a way to keep notes online for me to reference anywhere. I will definitely be referring back to this post frequently. Thanks.

  • sean, January 20, 2011

    hey how much time will it take to learn illustrator moderately ? i am a complete beginner but do know about illustrator

    • Vandelay Website Design, January 21, 2011

      Sean,
      It depends on how you go about learning it and what resources your using to help. Getting started with the basics isn’t too bad, but there are tons of things to learn and lots of tools to master.

  • Almekhlafi Abdulsalam, February 7, 2011

    Thankyou very much.
    This learning very important for professionalism Adobe illustrator

    thankyou again

  • Jenny, February 17, 2011

    Thanks for the Keyboard Illustrator Shortcuts.

  • Vijay Kumar Maurya, February 22, 2011

    Thanks for sharing this collection.

  • Joy, March 21, 2011

    Thanks, for these real life projects.

  • CaturThoms, March 31, 2011

    thank you, for all tutorials…

  • Elijah Nitcher, May 19, 2011

    With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any methods to help stop content from being ripped off? I’d really appreciate it.

    • Vandelay Website Design, May 19, 2011

      Elijah,
      Yes, it happens several times every day. I don’t really do much to stop it anymore, but you could send an email to the site owner. If you don’t get a response from that you can contact their web host, or if they have advertisers on their site you can contact the ad network or advertiser as some of them have policies against re-publishing copyright protected content.

  • Gabriel Ryan, July 19, 2011

    Really a wonderful notes to develop and motivate our self to learn illustrator. Thanks for sharing this useful information! Hope that you will continue with the kind of stuff you are doing.

  • Betsy, September 27, 2011

    Wow!!! Wow!!! Awesome and timely post…. Thanks a lot….

  • Michelle, November 2, 2011

    Thank you SO very much!! Just what I needed having melted my brain trying to learn from Classroom in a book – talk about frustrating and un-user-friendly! Looking forward to getting stuck into these.

  • John Delton, April 4, 2012

    hey thanks for presenting such a great knowledge of basics of adobe illustrator…

  • Ruburn, August 14, 2012

    Thank you SO much for putting this together!

  • Orla Cahill, January 29, 2013

    Wow! Fantastic set of tutorials. I’m just starting to learn Illustrator CS5 and I can’t imagine I’d ever need to look elsewhere for learning this software. Looks like everything I’d ever need to learn is all here. Thank you for putting this together.

  • Anvita, June 9, 2013

    You have no idea how much this tutorials helped me…really when you have no one,you have the internet. Thanks aloot for publishing this
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!!!

  • Nat, August 30, 2013

    Hi! These are great :). I am just starting to learn Illustrator and so many of my questions are being cleared as I see the tutorials. Thank you for your work and have a great one!