Top 10 Illustrator tutorials of 2013


Learn Adobe Illustrator techniques to help enhance your work using our tutorials created by experts from around the globe.

Adobe Illustrator is a valuable application for illustrators, artists and graphic designers, and a tool that's worthwhile mastering. Use it to create vector graphics, patterns, infographics, type and more, plus add gradients, textures, colour schemes and other effects to your work by following Digital Arts' Illustrator tutorials.

Here, we've collected 10 of our favourite Illustrator tutorials put together by some of the world's top practitioners in 2013, to help you expand your Illustrator skills and to inspire you to create something awesome.

Master dynamic gradient techniques

Many works that look complicated are really made from simple elements. In this tutorial, Russian artist Alexandra Zutto shows how to build up complex, beautiful images by patiently layering and building up small, straightforward segments, always varying them to prevent monotony.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to build up many elements to create a vector image with real depth and richness.

Design a vector animal mascot

Dutch illustrator and designer Martin Rijven, the creator of Mozilla's Firefox OS mascot, details his creative process for producing animals that embody specific human characteristics or ideals, to help you design flexible characters that could be used across a client's identity.

For this tutorial, Martijn details how he would produce an illustrated mascot to serve as part of a larger branding concept for an importer of African coffee and coco beans.

First off, he demonstrates how he uses a pencil and paper to explore posture and different styles to communicate the characteristics requested in the brief. He then explains how he produced the artwork in Illustrator.

Create faux 3D finishes in Illustrator

Karan Singh shows you a clever and ridiculously quick way of giving your flat illustrations a faux 3D finish – without leaving the confines of Illustrator.

Karan finds Photoshop's 3D lighting tools to be cumbersome, and says that Illustrator is more than capable of creating depth and dimension using such effects as the inner and outer glows and Gaussian blur.

Create quirky repeating patterns

In this tutorial, Imakethings (known to his mum as Andrew Groves) shows you how to make a repeat pattern based on map-like imagery. He uses simple shapes and icons to illustrate geographical features from a bird's-eye point of view.

The techniques you'll pick up during this Illustrator tutorial can be applied to a wide range of other images to conjure up patterns for textiles, T-shirt prints or anything else you put your mind to.

Create a Death Goddess inspired by Mexico's Day of the Dead

Want to produce clean and detailed line work but with a hand-drawn edge? With his stunning tattoo-style designs, digital illustrator Chris Parks has the answers.

In this tutorial, you'll be introduced to Illustrator's pressure sensitive 'Blob Brush' and you'll learn some techniques for adding quick colour and detailed depth. You'll also pick up some good tips on workflow and how to add detail by creating separate graphics and duplicating them to save time without sacrificing quality.

Design an isometric infographic

Tim Smith from Ustwo demonstrates how to use Illustrator to create precise isometric scenes. You'll learn the basic isometric principles needed to develop and experiment with your own isometric illustrations, 3D models, diagrams infographics and more.

Use the Kuler iPhone app to develop a colour scheme for use in Illustrator CC

Ben the Illustrator guides you through getting started with Adobe's Kuler app, then using the colour palettes in Illustrator. You'll also discover the Image Brush tool in Illustrator CC, where you'll learn to apply a jpg or bmp image to a brushstroke.

Texture tricks with vector artwork

Texture can add depth and a tangible quality to vector illustrations. In this tutorial, Jeffrey Bowman discloses the techniques he uses to create texture and then explains how he adds this to his work.

You'll learn how to take scanned textures and turn them into vectors using image trace, then effectively apply them to your illustration using clipping masks. Jeffrey will also explain how to add brush strokes to hard vector edges, so as to give a hand-drawn feel to your work.

Bold pattern design

London-based graphic designer and illustrator David Popov takes you through the process he used when creating his Round the World series of graphic artworks.

In this Illustrator tutorial, David focuses on how he went about creating his composition in Illustrator using colour and pattern swatches. He also discusses the influences and experiences that informed the patterns and colours of the artwork's final design.

Create X-ray vector art

Belgian artist Evert Martin demonstrates how he created his series of artworks that sit somewhere between X-rays and 3D holographic projections using Illustrator's Blend tool.

If you have access to a 3D suite such as Cinema 4D, he'll even show you how to animate the artwork.

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