Adobe Illustrator has continued to grow year on year since its first release way back in 1987. The current CS6 version has just cemented its place as a must have piece of software for any aspiring or professional digital designer. It has so many great elements and features that it is hard to know where to begin when giving a tutorial but we have tried to cover most of the main elements starting with a 45 minute video for beginners before moving on to specific tutorials for various different tips and techniques.
For those used to photoshop the learning curve will not be as steep compared to a complete adobe virgin but there are many differences between photoshop and illustrator that need to be understood. In essence, many turn to illustrator to produce vectors that can be scaled to any size as they are essentially mathematical equations. This is impossible in photoshop that creates rich images in pixel form that become distorted when expanded.
In reality, it will takes many hours to become competent and weeks of using it to master all the elements but with hundreds of free illustrator tutorials online hopefully your learning path will be fast. Please note that photoshop may be required for some of these tutorials in order refine some of the images but the vast majority will require nothing more than illustrator and possibly a talented artist.
Before we start looking at specific tutorials and effects it would be worth checking out this video by Terry White who runs through the 10 things you need to how to do before getting started with Adobe Illustrator CS6.
Beginners Tutorial: Using Shapes To Create A Robot
In this tutorial various tools and techniques will be used to create a simple vector robot character. The tutorial is not really about creating a robot - it is about getting used to using the basic shapes and tools and is therefore a great tutorial for beginners to get to grips with Adobe Illustrator.
Beginners Tutorial: Create A Vector Penguin Character in Illustrator
Follow this step by step Adobe Illustrator tutorial to create a simple vector penguin character. We’ll be using many of Illustrator’s basic shapes to create the structure of the character, which makes this tutorial great for beginners.
How To Create Isometric Grid-Based 3D Lettering
This is very detailed and well explained 45 minute video showing you all the steps required to convert a scanned drawing to a vector file within Adobe illustrator.
Create a Bending 3D Text Effect in Illustrator
This text guide will teach you how to produce a cool 3D text effect in
Adobe Illustrator. As well as showing you the basics of using the 3D tools you will learn how to o create color shifts with gradients and highlights. Finally, they tutorial also covers how to produce subtle patterns controlled with Opacity Masks.
How To Create A Comic Book Character in Illustrator
William Beachy gives a really detailed tutorial on how to create a comic book character by going through the steps he took when his company had to create the character above for a flyer. He begins with a pencil sketch and then imports this into Illustrator so you need to be a skilled artist of have sketches from someone else you can use.
How To Create Retro Graphics in Illustrator
This tutorial will show you how to create retro style graphics using Illustrator. The steps taken will go from using some simple vector shapes with the Pen tool and then adding textures for a retro aesthetic.
Create a custom lettered logo in Illustrator
This tutorial will teach you how to control and change glyphs from a font to create a unique letterform style. You will be taught how to slice and dice shapes to create a logo to give you a taste of some of some possible logo creation techniques.
How To Make Colours More Vivid In Illustrator
In this tutorial you will learn how to create more volume in your vector illustrations using a few colours per object. The example used will be a tropic bird so you can see the difference this technique has in bringing the colours to life.
How To Design an Isometric Infographic
Tim Smith from ustwo gives a Tutorial on how to create precise isometric scenes in use Adobe Illustrator.
Create Your Favourite Gaming Characters As Vectors
This tutorial is not for beginners and you should have some experience with illustrator before attempting this one. Everything will be done with a mouse although if you have a tablet it will probably be easier. They will be focusing on how to creating the old favourite Sonic The Hedgehog for this tutorial.
Creating A Unique Logo From Sketches
In this post you will be shown how to create a logo using the real life example below. The drawing parts are not shown as there were so many of theme but the go into enough detail to give you a good idea how to create something similar.
Create Polymorphic Style Artwork
Here Damien Vignaux, aka elroy, shows you how he created the polymorphic style artwork below for his band The Escapists.
Create a Glowing Neon Sign using the Appearance Palette – Screencast
This tutorial shows the power of the Appearance Palette in Adobe Illustrator. You will be building an elaborate neon sign, utilizing the Appearance Palette to speed up the process and removing the need of drawing complex paths.
Create a clean retro badge in Adobe Illustrator
In this tutorial you will be shown how to create a clean retro-looking badge/burst in Adobe Illustrator. These are in high demand so becoming an expert in these will allow you to get plenty of sales on GraphicRiver.net.
How to Create a Web Site Mascot
In this tutorial, you will be shown the steps taken to develop a character from scratch in sketch form and then convert it into a digital character in several poses. This character was originally made for an Envato site but it was never published so they have reused the artwork in this Vectortuts tutorial.
Create Monster Characters with Illustrator CS5′s Bristle Brush
The Bristle Brushes in Illustrator CS5 & CS6 has allowed characters like the ones below to be created so much more easily. Using a
Wacom tablet, you can easily create realistic flowing hair, pressure and direction sensitive sketches, all in vector format.
Adding Depth & Texture in Adobe Illustrator
This tutorial shows you how to use simple tools in Adobe Illustrator makes it very easy to add extra depth to an image. You will be shown hwo to use the Grain effect to add a retro texture that can be combined with some halftone patterns and simple brush strokes. This can turn a flat-looking illustration into a rich texturised design.
Create retro graphics in Illustrator
In this tutorial, I’ll explain how to create a cool T-shirt graphic with a retro feel in just a few simple steps. Using Illustrator, we’ll form some simple vector shapes with the Pen tool and then add textures for a retro aesthetic.
Design Print Ready Business Cards in Illustrator
Illustrator has fantastic tools available for creating small print designs such as business cards. Follow this walkthrough on how to create a fun business card design complete with illustrated character.
Create Graffiti in Inkscape – Tutorial
How To Create a Cute Hairy Vector Monster Character
Follow this step by step Illustrator tutorial to create a cute vector monster character. You will create the character from basic shapes to give a cute and friendly appearance then bring the character to life with gradient colours and a detailed fur effect.
Create A Lovely Chocolate Covered Strawberry
Although this tutorial is specifically about creating a mouth watering strawberry covered in chocolate it will teach you how to create other realistic illustrations and logos.
How To Use Dynamic Gradient Techniques
Many illustrations that look very complicated are actually made from simple elements. In this tutorial, Russian artist Alexandra Zutto shows you how to build up complex, beautiful images by layering and building up small, varied and straightforward segments.
How To Create A Realistic Starfish in Adobe Illustrator
In this Adobe Illustrator Tutorial you will be learning several time-consuming techniques that are required if you want to become a master at Adobe Illustrator. You’ll learn how to use blends, gradient meshes, patterns, and controlled lighting to create a textured starfish.
How to Create a Vintage Typography
Follow this in-depth look at the process of designing type for a vintage style postcard in Adobe Illustrator CS6. The tutorial will delve into clipping masks, using bitmap images, working with layers and type effects.
Create a Killer Chainsaw Bunny Character
This tutorial shows you how I build a character and add a dynamic background effect. This process can be applied to any sketch you are vectorising. It takes some knowledge and skill with the Pen tool, but gives you ultimate control over your line work.
How to Create a Captivating, Self-Promotion Kit
This is another great Vector Premium tutorial which covers all the techniques required to create one illustration that can be used in various compositions to create Business Cards, Postcards and Tear Sheets.
Create Grainy Textures in Illustrator
You can always scan in similar textures and Live Trace them in Illustrator, but you can pretty easily create this type of effect all inside Illustrator.
Create a Stinking Zombie Flesh-Eater in Illustrator
In this tutorial, you will shown you how to create a cartoon zombie in Illustrator using a number of techniques.
Working with 3D Objects and Transparencies to Make a Vector Bottle Design
In this advanced tutorial you will be shown how Illustrator deals with transparency in 3D objects. In just a few steps you will have created a plastic cola bottle, which is ideally suited for those of you involved in product marketing.
Convert A Hand Drawn Sketch To A Vector Cartoon Character
By firstly using the power of pen and paper a character design is created, which is then scanned into the computer to use as a base for tracing with Adobe Illustrator. The final outcome is a colourful cartoon character in vector format!
Design a Print-Ready Label in Adobe Illustrator
This one takes you from setup to production of a really cool label which will be used for a beer bottle in this case although this could be useful for anything cylindrical.
How To Create a Repeating Camo Pattern in Illustrator
This will show you how the camo designs were created and how the pattern file was made so it would seamlessly repeat.
Create a Classic Baby Stroller in Adobe Illustrator
In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a classic baby stroller illustrations. If you’re looking to create vintage stroller art, modern baby stroller graphics, for stock art or to illustrate your next graphic project, then jump into this tutorial and learn every detail: from constructing the bassinet area, carriage handle, to wheels and more.
Vector Retro Television
In this tutorial you will be shown you how to make a stylish retro television in Adobe Illustrator. You will learn how to draw basic shapes, modify them and apply gradient and gradient mesh for more realism. Hope you enjoy this illustrator tutorial.
How to Create a Vector Snake Using Mesh Tormentor in Adobe Illustrator
In this Adobe Illustrator Tutorial you will learn how to create a vector snake using the Mesh Tormentor (a free Gradient Mesh plug-in) which will make your work with the gradient mesh much easier.
How To Create Papercut Aesthetics with Vectors
This tutorial will show you how to create amazing craft effects in a digital format.
How to Turn a Photo into Vector Artwork
In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, we’ll create a vector illustration of a high-heeled shoe by tracing a reference photo of it using the Pen Tool. Using reference photos is a popular vector-creation technique. This tutorial should be great practice, even if you’re just a beginner.
How to Use Typography to Create a 3D Text Effect
Follow this quick tip and you learn how to use typography to create a 3D text effect. It may seem complicated but it takes only a few fonts, the 3D options and some extra adjustments at the end.
An Illustrator’s Project: From Start to Finish
In this tutorial, you will be shown the steps of how to create an illustration art piece so that you can witness what goes behind a digital illustrator’s work, as well as gain some new insights for your own projects’ workflow. You will go through conceptualization and idea gathering, creating illustrations in Illustrator, and then finishing the piece in Photoshop.
Creating Line Drawings in Adobe Illustrator
Learn how to create this grumpy old man, and other cool line drawing in adobe illustrator.
Experimental Digital Workflow
In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, you will see the artists process of creating an illustrated type artwork. The focus of this tutorial is to demonstrate how it is possible to draft, develop, and refine a whole piece all within a design program like Adobe Illustrator from start to finish.No more pencil on paper or sketching!
How to Illustrate a Vector Tomato Using Gradient Mesh Tool
You will use Meshes, Gradients and Blends for creating the resulted picture. The skills you will learn here can easily be transferred to creating various objects.
Draw a Vector Traffic Cone with Adobe Illustrator
In this Illustrator tutorial, you will be creating a traffic cone. The creation process is quite simple and you just need to combine a few shapes, use the Pathfinder Panel and Illustrator’s shape tools smartly, and then apply nice gradients.
Creating Seamless Textures
This Adobe Illustrator guide will show you how to create seamless textures will make great backgrounds for your typography.
Adobe Illustrator tutorial: Draw realistic liquids in vector art
Creating convincing liquid effects in vector illustration can be a tricky business. Luckily, Jing Zhang has provided us with this tutorial that shows you how to make a real splash with your art.
Create a Bright Vector Snowboard Design in Illustrator
Follow this Adobe Illustrator tutorial to create a cool snowboard illustration. You'll build up the design with an array of bright shapes, trendy lines and patterns to produce a bright and funky vector composition. The final design will then be mocked up on a handy snowboard deck template to show off the design in all its glory..
How to Illustrate Deliciously Realistic Grapes using Simple Techniques
In this tutorial you will learn how to illustrate a bunch of grapes using basic Adobe Illustrator tools. You will learn how to render multiple light sources and how to model a complex object using simple shapes and techniques. Let’s get started.
Creating Complex Tribal Style Illustrations
Learn the process of making a tribal-style illustration using only some fundamental techniques in Adobe Illustrator. This is more of a process overview than a play-by-play tutorial and thus, some basic skills in the program are needed in order to follow along. The main goal here is to show a workflow process, and from there, it’s up to you to add your own style and aesthetical preferences to your piece.
Design a Dexter Vector Illustration
Learn how to create a vector illustration of a face by using Dexter's as an example.
“Lady Luck” T-Shirt Illustration
How To Create a Beautiful Vector Portrait in Illustrator
Follow this step by step tutorial for the making of a vector art portrait of Tron Legacy’s Quorra. Learn how the portrait is carefully traced and vectorized in Adobe Illustrator to create an interesting vexel style design.