Day 1: What is Illustrator?

About Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator is a vector drawing program. It is often used to draw illustrations, cartoons, diagrams, charts and logos. Unlike bitmap images that stores information in a grid of dots, Illustrator uses mathematical equations to draw out the shapes. This makes vector graphics scalable without the loss of resolution.

Advantages of Vector Graphics

  • Scalable without resolution loss
  • Lines are crisp and sharp at any sizes
  • Print at high resolution
  • Smaller file size
  • Good for drawing illustrations

Disadvantages of vector graphics

  • Drawings tend to look flat and cartoon
  • Hard to produce photo realistic drawings

Common Uses for Illustrator

1) Designing Logos

Designing logos
By: Draplin Design

2) Drawing Maps

drawing maps

3) Drawing Illustrations

drawing illustrations

By: Chih Hang

4) Infographics


5) Photorealistic Drawings

By: Kevin Hulsey

6) Packaging Design
packaging design

By: sanna annukka

These are just a few examples of what Illustrator can do. If you have experience with Photoshop, you can bring your illustrations into Photoshop and enhance it. That’s how professionals do it. During the next few days, I will be covering the basics of Illustrator so that you can produce your first vector art!

Next Lesson: Getting Started in Illustrator »
Back to Illustrator Training Course

Related Articles

See the list of all Illustrator tutorials.
Learn 101 Illustrator tips and techniques for free.

About The Author: Tony Soh

Hi. I'm the founder of Vector Diary. Illustrator is my passion and I have written numerous tutorials on illustrator helping people learn illustrator. My most popular tutorial on learn illustrator has been a hit. It makes learning illustrator so easy and has benefited more than 20,000 people worldwide. Also, I've revealed some of my secret techniques in the premium tutorials. So don't forget to check it out!

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  1. Gravtar for Alex Jordan
    Alex Jordan July 15th

    Can help but say “Drawings tend to look flat and cartoon” “Hard to produce photo realistic drawings” are seriously challenged by that realistic camera –
    is there a link for Kevin Hulsey?

  2. Gravtar for Muurtegel
    Muurtegel July 15th

    I must agree with Alex. With the right use of Gradients and maybe some shaddows and masks, you can make nice 3D looking graphics. There are even 3D options available in illustrator.

  3. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary July 15th

    Experts can produce super realistic drawings of products using gradients and gradient mesh in illustrator. However, if you were to produce a realistic drawing of mountains and rivers that I would say it would be a challenge. Illustrator is really not good at rendering textures other than smooth surfaces which can be achieved by gradients. And Kevin Hulsey is really one pro in technical illustration. Check out his portfolio. I have included the link.

  4. Gravtar for david
    david July 30th

    eXcelent resourse for beginners congrats!!!

  5. Gravtar for carl
    carl August 2nd

    Looking for a quick course, preferably during the evening time that will teach me to draw using illustrator quickly.Pleases give info., price if any and other details.

  6. Gravtar for iStockdiary
    iStockdiary August 2nd

    Hi Carl, I will recommend you Lynda’s video tutorial. Read my recommended list of tutorials here:

  7. Gravtar for rajesh
    rajesh August 8th

    very nice job

  8. Gravtar for Jenelle
    Jenelle August 25th

    finally, i will be able to learn how to use the illustrator! bwahahaha!!! 🙂

  9. Gravtar for Chris
    Chris September 5th

    Logos, Illustrations and Product Designs are all areas I want to investigate further with Illustrator.

  10. Gravtar for Jaikumar
    Jaikumar September 9th

    It is really worth.

  11. Gravtar for Akshaya
    Akshaya September 12th

    Its good, but cant say much about b’coz its a first day.

  12. Gravtar for Marcelo
    Marcelo September 14th

    I´m a brazilian designer that uses Corel Draw and want to migrate do Adobe Suite. I think the best tool to work is the tool that you reaaly know how to use, so I´m trying to learn as much I can about Illustrator.

  13. Gravtar for Darren
    Darren September 15th

    Can I use illustrator to create webpages? I am a long time user of Corel Draw and have created looks for websites using Photoshop…I am hoping to migrate completely to Illustrator and not have to boot into vista on my mac.

  14. Gravtar for Dipika
    Dipika September 18th

    Thanks! The first day of an Introduction is nice & helpfull to beginner how,where and when use this software.I admire which you had done for us.This software new for me so Hope I’ll learn Illustrator well through your 30 days.

  15. Gravtar for paresh
    paresh September 19th

    its good imust with agree….

  16. Gravtar for J
    J September 24th

    I have purchased Adobe Flash CS3 Professional- do i need to have illustrator as well to have this function? Can i not create a project in its entirety in the Flash product i have purchased? Do all pictures need to be imported through illustrator , can I make .ai files in adobe flash?
    Thanks for your timely response…. J

  17. Gravtar for Vectordiary
    Vectordiary September 24th

    Hi J, You can’t make ai files in illustrator. However you can draw some basic vector graphics in Flash.

  18. Gravtar for milee
    milee October 1st

    what is illustrator is a vector drawimg program.

  19. Gravtar for ASHOK KUMAR
    ASHOK KUMAR October 9th


  20. Gravtar for hendra
    hendra October 26th

    hi, i want to know if you can also show some website or book that is best for photoshop beginner

  21. Gravtar for BaGsHiK
    BaGsHiK October 29th

    Thanks a lot for this tutorials , bro 😀 !
    Keep up the good work , i will subscribe to your RSS 😉 !

    Greetings from Belgium !


  22. Gravtar for divya
    divya October 31st

    i would like to under go the classes.

  23. Gravtar for ayyaj Patwegar
    ayyaj Patwegar November 7th

    it is very nice softwear

  24. Gravtar for Arteymiel
    Arteymiel November 18th

    Is possible this tuttorial in spanish ?

  25. Gravtar for vidya
    vidya November 27th

    very very nice…. i got it… !!! thanks! 🙂

  26. Gravtar for aaaalpha
    aaaalpha December 6th

    illustrators fun too

  27. Gravtar for cool
    cool December 6th

    i dont like this program but u will get use to!!!!!!!!

  28. Gravtar for josh
    josh December 6th

    pls tell me how i can can my illus’s work in to jpeg…great work….carry on…..

  29. Gravtar for Vectordiary
    Vectordiary December 6th

    Hi josh, go File>Export and select JPG.

  30. Gravtar for Tom
    Tom December 16th

    New here – New to illustrator too! just wanted to say thanks for this =]

  31. Gravtar for Gina
    Gina December 17th

    Salut je voudrais savoir si je ne pourais pas avoir les livres disponible en francais.

  32. Gravtar for o m g
    o m g January 30th

    oh em gee this is soooo coool <33333 i love you devon

  33. Gravtar for bugs
    bugs February 27th

    Can’t wait to crashed on Illustrator for m graphic design course. But, I really interested to make product package, and map. I will stay long hours for that.

  34. Gravtar for josh
    josh March 4th


  35. Gravtar for Naheez Thawfeeg
    Naheez Thawfeeg March 13th

    I started this tutorial 3 days back…I love to learn Illustrator very much!!!

  36. Gravtar for keith rhodes
    keith rhodes April 14th

    I have just started to learn Illustrator, I love the program, but there are a couple of bugs still in the software, it isn’t quit polished as Photoshop, things like, Anchor points appearing in the design, that I did not creat, Anchor points shooting of screen, leaving colour trails behind, and the amount of memory needed for large files is staggering, I have 4gig, and it isn’t enough for Illustrator.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love this software, but because of the flaws, I usualy end up spending more time in an Illustrator design, than I do in Photoshop, there are other bugs, but the ones I have mentioned above, are the most annoying ones.

    All the best to you all here.


  37. Gravtar for artistnutts
    artistnutts April 23rd

    kooool site!

  38. Gravtar for Christine Moore
    Christine Moore June 8th

    I can’t wait to dig into this tutorial. Thanks for providing it. I am also a contributor to iStock. I’ll be checking out your illustrations.

  39. Gravtar for mohammad mohsin vahora
    mohammad mohsin vahora June 24th

    I learn this tutorial & this lesson of the illustrator
    tutorial & it is a very nice ! Thank You Very Much….

  40. Gravtar for A. Ahmed Ansarudeen
    A. Ahmed Ansarudeen August 4th

    its really nice

  41. Gravtar for sandy
    sandy October 10th

    It’s nice tuts for fresher.

  42. Gravtar for meenakshi manglik
    meenakshi manglik October 18th

    i want to know more about luustrator… n i want to see more sample designs.. pl show me as soon as possible.

  43. Gravtar for meenakshi manglik
    meenakshi manglik October 18th

    I learn this tutorial & this lesson of the illustrator
    tutorial & it is a very nice ! Thank You Very Much….

  44. Gravtar for meenakshi manglik
    meenakshi manglik October 27th

    Hi ….

    I Can’t wait to crashed on Illustrator for m graphic design course. But, I really interested to make product package, and map. I will stay long hours for that.

  45. Gravtar for malik arif
    malik arif November 11th

    i am Arif.i m professional embroidery digitizer i like so much ann i want talk 2 ann please send me contact detail of contact detail below

  46. Gravtar for nadia
    nadia December 28th

    thanx for the info…

  47. Gravtar for onizuka1412
    onizuka1412 April 15th

    Thank you, i love it ^_^

  48. Gravtar for onizuka1412
    onizuka1412 April 15th

    Thank you, i love it. ^_^

  49. Gravtar for maniroo
    maniroo April 29th

    it’s verryy nice

  50. Gravtar for sheik
    sheik May 4th

    Very useful . Thanks Sheik K

  51. Gravtar for Karim Imran
    Karim Imran July 19th

    I want to learn Illustrator , so please send me all idea’s technique to my mail id.

    I wiil be happy if i get better response from yours

    Karim Imran

  52. Gravtar for SEO Pakistan
    SEO Pakistan September 18th

    Very much informative TUTORIALS! like id and learned alot from here

  53. Gravtar for JANGA KARUNAKAR RAO


  54. Gravtar for tony
    tony October 27th

    awesome. thanks.

  55. Gravtar for usman
    usman November 4th

    I love ai….thank’s bro

  56. Gravtar for MichaelV
    MichaelV November 29th

    DAY 1: So far so good….I am totally new to this product but have always been fascinated by some of the things that can be created. Case in point – the camera in Photorealistic Drawings! This simply blows me away. I always felt this sort of thing was way beyond me but I guess I am about to find out once and for all. See you all after Day 2.

  57. Gravtar for katkat
    katkat December 9th

    This is great and very helpful! No need to shell out bucks for AI classes. =)

  58. Gravtar for printing
    printing January 1st

    awesome..started off just using photoshop and online tutorials have tought me so much, thanks for everyones help.

  59. Gravtar for Proteinpulver
    Proteinpulver January 14th

    I really love Adobe Illustrator! It is one of the best tools I know! I use it regularly for my graphics.

  60. Gravtar for Allgaeu
    Allgaeu January 14th

    This is a very nice blog. Very helpful for my work! Thank you very much!

  61. Gravtar for pakdezaki
    pakdezaki January 27th

    Hi I’am graphics passion too. Your blog very useful. Pleased to meet you

  62. Gravtar for Luisa
    Luisa February 20th


  63. Gravtar for bortai
    bortai April 18th

    thank you! you are helping me so alot.

  64. Gravtar for Mr Men
    Mr Men May 8th

    :p it is…………….okayyy i guess.

  65. Gravtar for Carrie Hentz
    Carrie Hentz May 9th

    yeahhhhh buddy!

  66. Gravtar for GentleMan
    GentleMan May 23rd

    thanks for the helpful information, I’m going to get all courses
    with all respect GentleMan

  67. Gravtar for Kenessar
    Kenessar June 5th

    That let me know Illustrator don’t only draw cartoon 🙂 It’s very useful software
    Thank 🙂

  68. Gravtar for Reine
    Reine July 9th

    Looking forward to 30 days time…

  69. Gravtar for selvi evangaline
    selvi evangaline August 28th

    nice and useful

  70. Gravtar for kjisrtji8sj5y9us
    kjisrtji8sj5y9us August 29th

    that weird and terrible

  71. Gravtar for xdude
    xdude September 7th

    your cool.

  72. Gravtar for senthil
    senthil October 12th

    It is very use full to me, thank’s

  73. Gravtar for wheel hub
    wheel hub October 17th

    Excellent Post.. I enjoy some of content in the post.. please keep it up..
    i want same like this from you… thanks

  74. Gravtar for RB
    RB February 8th

    Lesson 1 looks good. Especially like that you give list of common project types. I noticed web design isn’t on there, though I found at least 1 person w/ a blog that uses Illustrator for that. One observation: lesson 1 is so short (only took me 5 min) that you could combine it w/ lesson 2.

  75. Gravtar for joe
    joe February 14th

    this is hard core BS

  76. Gravtar for Mirajul
    Mirajul February 23rd

    I like To Illustrator

  77. Gravtar for mereen
    mereen March 5th can i go to the day 2

  78. Gravtar for kdd
    kdd March 6th


  79. Gravtar for lasisi
    lasisi March 8th

    i love illustrator so much that i will always go for it anytime anyday

  80. Gravtar for Việt Designer
    Việt Designer April 19th

    very nice introduction, thanks for share 🙂

  81. Gravtar for Pramod srivastava
    Pramod srivastava May 7th

    thanks…a lot of . finally i satisfy with this tutorial

  82. Gravtar for Email Backgrounds
    Email Backgrounds May 9th

    I used to buy stock photos to make email stationery for my site which very expensive. I love to draw, I know basic Photoshop but never touch AI. Your tutorial helps me a lot. Thanks for making this for free

  83. Gravtar for vinayak
    vinayak July 6th

    Thank u lot of thank u your tutorials is very usefully.

  84. Gravtar for htake khaung tin
    htake khaung tin August 20th

    It’s so useful

  85. Gravtar for Fuzail
    Fuzail September 3rd

    Very useful tutorial

  86. Gravtar for ANIL
    ANIL December 21st


  87. Gravtar for tyler
    tyler January 14th

    nice and very cool tutorial one of my freinds made really cool diamond

  88. Gravtar for jordan
    jordan January 22nd

    lol that actually quite works 🙂

  89. Gravtar for Tony Soh
    Tony Soh April 3rd

    Hi Wendy, try pressing Ctrl + F5 to clear out the cache.

  90. Gravtar for Octavia
    Octavia April 9th

    Hi there! I just would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for your
    excellent info you have here on this post. I am coming back to your site for more soon.

  91. Gravtar for Maik
    Maik May 6th

    Very nice, i hope i could do something like this after 30 days too…