Learning a new software application can be a daunting task, especially when tackling an application that’s as deep as Adobe Illustrator! Thankfully there’s a colection of Illustrator veterans who are generous enough to take the time to document the basics, allowing new users to grasp the initial workings and gain a know-how of the tools and core techniques. This collection of hand-picked tutorials cover various tools, and provide plenty of useful hints and tips. Together they form a super handy resource for any beginner looking to get their brains wrapped around Adobe Illustrator.

Learn Illustrator CS3 in 30 Days

View the tutorial

This in-depth 30 day course from Vector Diary is one of the most useful courses out there. What’s more, it’s free!

Illustrator Beginner’s Series

View the tutorial

IllustrationInfo’s Illustrator beginner’s series covers the most common tools with insights into their uses.

Adobe Illustrator Guides and Tutorials

View the tutorial

The collection of tutorials and guides from klethegr8 include various hints and tips for all kinds of tools.

Beginner Adobe Illustrator Tutorials

View the tutorial

Posts filed under the Illustrator tag on ShapeShed include some great introductions to most of the important tools and techniques, including blends, rounded edges and the pathfinder.

Illustrator CS4 Blob Brush

View the tutorial

The newly added Blob Brush to Illustrator CS4 opens up doors to new opportunities. Layers Magazine explain more with this useful video tutorial.

Illustrator CS4 Gradients

View the tutorial

Another new feature in CS4 was a bunch of new gradient editing capabilities. Here’s an overview of some of the new ways to create and tweak gradient fills in Illustrator.

Working with Illustrator Art Brushes

View the tutorial

Brushes are an important tool in Illustrator, and come in various styles. This tutorial from Bittbox covers the Art brush, with great examples of how it can be used.

Illustrator Opacity Mask Basics

View the tutorial

Opacity masks are one Illustrator feature that can really come in useful, particularly for those with versions prior to CS4 who don’t have access to the new gradient opacity options.

The Power and Ease of Patterns in Illustrator

View the tutorial

The basic pattern in Adobe Illustrator isn’t anything to get excited about, but when combined with other Illustrator tools, it can result in some amazing effects.

Wacom Settings in Illustrator

View the tutorial

Unsurprisingly, Adobe Illustrator really shines when used for creating illustrations, and no illustrator is complete without a Wacom tablet. Here’s some handy tips for fine tuning your settings.

Quickly Change Fills and Strokes

View the tutorial

Illustrator’s fills and strokes often cause confusion to designers moving from Photoshop. This selection of tips and shortcuts from Vectips gives a clear understanding of how to quickly set them up.

Illustrator’s Pen Tool: The Comprehensive Guide

View the tutorial

The Pen tool is the most important tool to master in Adobe Illustrator, and can unfortunately take quite a lot of practicing to master. Arm yourself with this great insight and knowledge of how it works.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Pathfinder Panel

View the tutorial

The Pathfinder is also a crucial weapon to master in Illustrator. It’s used in almost every Illustrator project you’ll work on, so it’s quite useful to learn how it works.

Tips for Working with the Gradient Mesh Tool In Illustrator

View the tutorial

Gradient Mesh is actually one tool I still need to wrap my head around, but once mastered it can seriously take your Illustrations to the next level with the ability to create photo-realistic artwork.

Illustrator’s Blend Tool: A Comprehensive Guide

View the tutorial

The blend tool is one of Illustrator’s most powerful features. This in-depth post focuses entirely on its use, with a large selection of examples and diagrams.

Illustrator’s Type Tool: A Comprehensive Introduction

View the tutorial

The Type Tool might not sound like it needs much introduction, but Illustrator also provides some extraordinary type related options. Here’s a handy overview.

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

View the tutorial

While the Art brush was covered in a previous tutorial, here’s a general overview of all four types of brushes in Illustrator, with detailed explanation of how to use each one.

The Basics of Clipping Paths and Opacity Masks

View the tutorial

Just like masks in Photoshop, Illustrator uses masks to hide and show various parts of the artwork. Here’s an overview of Clipping and Opacity masks, and how they can be used in a real-world project.

Adobe Illustrator Shortcuts

View the tutorial

These shortcuts aren’t just the keyboard alternatives to popular menu commands, they also open up new options that otherwise aren’t available.

Beginner Illustrator Tutorial – Create a Vector RSS Icon

View the tutorial

If hands-on learning is more your thing, why not try this RSS icon tutorial? It covers many of the basic commands, plus touches on some advanced tools such as the Pathfinder and creating offset paths.

Share on Pinterest
There are no images.
48 Comments submitted Add yours!
Subscribe receive Spoon Graphics newsletters

Subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to hear about new posts


  1. Great list Chris, I find Illustrator as my “least liked” program, and I will make sure I sit down and check out all these great resources!

  2. Thanks for the great list, for a beginner like me this is a treasure trove! Many, many thanks to you!

  3. this is just what ive been looking for. thanks man! i want to get my illustrator on to tranfer some drawings i have into digital vector format… so this beginner series is perfecto

  4. Does anyone know a good place to get Illustrator brushes? There seem to be loads of Photoshop brushes out there but not so many for Illustrator (my hunt for the elusive ballpoint pen/biro brush continues!).

Comments are now closed