Adobe Illustrator Basics: Tools and Resources for Beginners

We recently published a post on Photoshop brushes that included links to some awesome resources for mastering Photoshop and the use of the various tools. As a counter option I’ve written this post to help designers who want to start following some Adobe Illustrator tutorials, to take their skills to the next level.

Illustrator is a powerful program and can be overwhelming or confusing at times. If you’re new to Illustrator then 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 I’ve organized 100+ resources that will teach you Adobe Illustrator basics and all the techniques you need to learn for success as a digital designer.


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

Illustrator CS4 Appearance Panel (video)

Illustrator CS4 Appearance Panel

Magic Wand Tool:

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

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

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:

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