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Back to School Special: 30 Easy Adobe Illustrator Tutorials

Read Time: 11 mins

Summer is coming to an end and it is almost time to go back to school again. With this in mind, let us get to basics and share with you a selection of great beginner tutorials and articles which explain tools, panels and other tricks Adobe Illustrator has to offer!

Back to Basics: Learn the Basic Tools

Before you jump into more complex projects, it's always good to get to know the tools you will be working with on a regular basis. If you're an absolute beginner or perhaps a seasoned pro, learning the basics is a must have. You may realize something you might not have seen before, so it's always good to refresh your knowledge of these tools.

  • Illustrator's Pen Tool: The Comprehensive Guide

    If you use Adobe Illustrator, then it's almost certain that you use the Pen Tool when creating your paths. This comprehensive guide aims to introduce or remind you of features, shortcuts, and methods for working with what is arguably Adobe's most essential tool.

  • An Introduction to Illustration's Color Tools

    You may know about RGB and CMYK, but how about LAB or HSB? With all these color choices and ways to use them it's often easy to get confused. In this introduction to Illustrators color tools you will learn about the different color spaces, how they work and what tools you can use to get the most out of them. Let's get familiar with the powerful color tools that Illustrator offers!

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

    Illustrator's Paintbrush Tool (B) and Brush panel are some of its most powerful tools. With the Paintbrush Tool (B) and Brush panel you can dress up your vector paths into compelling flourishes, patterns, tapered edges, and more. In this tutorial, we will break down the basics of the Paintbrush Tool and Brush panel and show you how to create your own brushes.

  • A Comprehensive Guide to the Pathfinder Panel

    You've probably used the Pathfinder panel to combine shapes and make new ones. But do you often find yourself clicking (and undoing) each icon in the panel until you get the look you want? Wouldn't it be easier to take some time and learn exactly what each function does? Here's a look at the über-useful Pathfinder panel.

  • A Comprehensive Guide to the Pathfinder Panel Part 2

    You've probably used the Pathfinder panel to combine shapes and make new ones. But do you often find yourself clicking (and undoing) each icon in the panel until you get the look you want? Wouldn't it be easier to take some time and learn exactly what each function does? Here's a look at the über-useful Pathfinder panel, part 2.

  • Illustrator's Blend Tool: A Comprehensive Guide

    In Adobe Illustrator, the Blend Tool can help you create impressive color blends. But there is more to it than you might know. This comprehensive guide can help you unlock your creative potential and teaches the features, shortcuts, and in depth methods that the Blend Tool has to offer.

  • Illustrator's Type Tool: A Comprehensive Introduction

    Type is an essential part of Illustrator; whether you're desktop publishing, designing logos, or using type for image building, you'll be reaching for the Type Tool. This guide comprehensively covers the essentials of what is a huge amount of Illustrator functionality, which is type.

  • Capture Colors With the Adobe Kuler App for the iPhone

    You can be a skilled sketch artist and designer, but color theory is still something which can be hard to grasp for some. This is why the new Adobe Kuler iPhone app and it's integration with Adobe Illustrator CC has me jumping for joy so much I've needed a new computer chair!

  • Quick Tip: Typography Skills, Basic Kerning

    What is Kerning and why do I need to know about it? If you've ever asked this question, then today's Quick Tip is perfect for you. You will learn the basics of kerning, why kerning is so important in design and some handy tricks to make kerning easy.

  • 5 Ways to Customize Adobe Illustrator

    Adobe did such a great job of thinking of everything in the entire Creative Suite, they even thought of ways to let us think of our own ways to improve upon it, if you can follow this twisted logic. In this article, we'll share some Illustrator tweaks and customizations that you may find useful.

  • Quick Tip: A Closer Look at the Expand Appearance Command

    Have you ever wondered what the Expand Appearance command is used for? This video Quick Tip will show you how. Aimed at the beginners, you will see up close how special effects are applied via the Appearance panel and how to make the effect a solid shape.

  • Quick Tip: The Character Panel in Adobe Illustrator

    In this Quick Tip screencast, we take a look at the Character panel in Adobe Illustrator. This comprehensive guide will show you what each field does, and you'll learn some time-saving keyboard shortcuts for setting the character attributes of your text.

  • All About Transformation in Adobe Illustrator

    In this tutorial you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about one of the most powerful Adobe Illustrator Tools - Transformation. Discover how it works, learn multiple ways of transforming objects, study the tools of transformation, and many other useful techniques.

  • How to Use Scribble Effects in Illustrator

    There are quite a few Illustrator tools that many of us have never used, finding a workflow that we have found efficient and stick with it. Occasionally though, it's a good idea to crack open Illustrator and take a look at some of its underused features. Scribble effects are worth taking a look at because they're a quick way to add texture to your designs and a bit of personality. Let's take a closer look at how to use this effect and how you can get creative with it!

  • Quick Tip: The Graphic Styles Panel

    The Graphic Styles panel in Illustrator CS4 is more powerful than it's ever been. Quickly add, create and save appearance attributes to make your work stylin'.

  • The Basics of Clipping Paths and Opacity Masks

    In this tutorial, we're going to cover the benefits, some uses, and the 'how-to' of two powerful methods to hide or show areas of an Illustrator document without deleting objects that you want to be invisible, which allows you to go back and re-work more easily.

  • Quick Tip: How to Tame the Gradient Mesh

    The Gradient Mesh can be one of the hardest tools to control. Even professional Illustrators can be heard crying out in frustration at its seemingly random actions. You can overcome these feelings of frustration by learning some techniques that will make your job easy and fun. This quick tip will teach you two handy mesh taming techniques that will save you time and help you overcome the "Gradient Mesh blues".

  • What's New With Adobe Illustrator CC: Text Improvements

    In this tutorial we will have a close look at the text improvements in Adobe Illustrator CC. We will learn how to use the brand new Touch Type Tool and create funky typographic designs with. We will also learn about the new convert Point/Area type and advanced Search Font options. Let's get started!

Recent Tutorials Ideal for Beginners

Perhaps you want to exercise your new skill set. Why not jump into some of these great beginner to intermediate tutorials, perfect to ease you into creating illustrations and projects in Adobe Illustrator.

  • How to Draw Little Red Riding Hood with Basic Shapes in Adobe Illustrator

    In this tutorial you will learn how to create an adorable cartoon Little Red Riding Hood with her basket and bunch of flowers. You will use the Pen Tool (P) and basic shapes such as the Rectangle Tool (M), the Ellipse Tool (L) and the Polygon Tool. This is a great tutorial for those who are getting the hang of Adobe Illustrator's basic tools.

  • Quick Tip: Creating a Bazinga! Text Treatment in Adobe Illustrator

    With this tutorial we'll show you how to create a Bazinga text effect made famous by Sheldon from the sitcom The Big Bang Theory in Adobe Illustrator. We'll be using some techniques to add multiple effects to a single shape, also duplicating and copying objects quickly, as well as creating a pattern and even rotating that pattern without disrupting the shape it's applied too.

  • Create a Cartoon Bear Scene Using Repeating Shapes in Illustrator

    In this tutorial, Jude C Roxas will be discussing various points in making a cartoon bear scene with simple shapes and with a limiter color palette in Adobe Illustrator. From sketching and planning, he will be choosing the overall color and feel with Adobe Kuler, illustrating main elements for the scene and learning to reuse existing illustrations to save time but will still be able to present a unique look in the elements to avoid redundancy in the design. 

  • Create a Cute and Simple Panda With Basic Shapes in Adobe Illustrator

    In this tutorial you will learn how to create a cute illustration with upside down panda in Adobe Illustrator. You will use the basic shapes and some use of the Pen Tool (P), so a great project for those who still see themselves as a beginner, but want a little challenge. 

Video Courses on Tuts+ Premium

If you're a Tuts+ Premium Member, you have available a series of video courses which are designed for beginners and upwards for a variety of Adobe Illustrator needs. These are just some of the awesome courses available to access right now! The beauty is, you can preview some of the initial videos without a membership, to see if getting a Tuts+ Premium subscription is right for you.

  • 30 Days to Learn Illustrator

    This course by veteran illustrator Von Glitschka takes you through the entire creative process from drawn design to final vector illustration. Glean valuable tips from time proven methodology that will help and enhance your own workflow by implementing a systematic approach to building vector shapes and elements.

  • Creating Vector Art

    Adobe Illustrator is a powerful and popular tool for illustrators and designers, but can be intimidating if you've never worked with vector before. Don't know about anchors, brushes, symbols or meshes? Never fear! Experienced illustrator Ryan Quintal takes you from newbie to Illustrator pro in just 30 days. Once you're up and running, Ryan will work through a final project, a product case design, to show how it all goes together.

  • Advanced Illustrator Techniques

    So you've learned Adobe Illustrator in 30 Days. You know your way around a vector — congrats! But what about using Illustrator for print or apparel design? Or to create a website? Are you ready to take your skills to the real world? In this advanced course, Ryan Quintal throws off the training wheels and gets you into the nitty gritty of actually completing real design projects in Illustrator.

  • Mastering Gradient Mesh in Illustrator

    From photo-realistic 3D to subtle shapes and shades of color, you can achieve some stunning effects with the gradient mesh tool. If you're comfortable with Illustrator and ready to jump into advanced illustration techniques, this is the course for you. Join us as Cheryl Graham teaches us how to effectively use the gradient mesh tool in any illustration project.

  • Illustrator Effects In Depth

    Learning the multiple possibilities of Illustrator's effects and the vast array of tools, is a mighty challenge to take on. In this course, Cheryl Graham will teach you how to work with live effects, text effects, a 3D effect and much much more. So get your creative head on, open up Illustrator and let's get started!


For the beginners, we hope this article helped enlighten some areas in Adobe Illustrator that may have been mystifying! For the more advanced, it's always great to refresh. Don't forget to follow us over on Twitter and Facebook!

The preview image for this article was created thanks to our tutorial on how to create a detailed vector chalkboard icon by Andrei Marius. His tutorials are great for beginners as they require little use of the Pen Tool.

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