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I would like to learn to use Adobe Illustrator. I want to go from start i.e learn using each tool first and then move on.

Where can I find tutorials for this (Youtube is a good source).

I cant afford video tutorials from Lynda.

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What's your background? Do you know anything about similar programs (Corel, Inkscape), layers, vector curve editing etc? –  takeshin Nov 8 '11 at 10:51
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6 Answers

While experience is important, sometimes you don't even know what you don't know, so with something as complex as Illustrator I don't recommend "sink or swim" learning.

I like the "Classroom in a Book" series; I found a Kindle edition on Amazon (U.S.) for about $29. I LOVE the "Teach Yourself X in 24 Hours" books, and the "Missing Manual" books are usually good, but neither seems to have a current edition for Illustrator.

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There is no substitute for experience. In my opinion the best way to learn a new program is to just start using it and use google if you get stuck. If you want some tutorials on the basics, there are a number here: http://www.adobeillustratortutorials.com/free/index.php?cat=1

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Here's what I recommend, in the order I think you should do:

The Adobe Illustrator CS5 Wow! Book This isn't free, but I highly recommend it if you're serious about getting good at Illustrator. It's one of the best books out there. The early chapters guide you through the basics, this is something you don't find often on the web. Once you're a few chapters in, move on to VectorTuts.com

VectorTuts.com contains high quality vector tutorials, mostly Illustrator. But majority of them may be slightly advanced for someone new to the tool. I recommend reading the following two guides first:

Illustrator’s Pen Tool: The Comprehensive Guide Pen tool is essential for creating more complex shapes in Illustrator. It's also one that takes a bit longer time to get used to. This guide is very very good, also contains links to exercises that are well put together.

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

Also good to knows:

Adobe Illustrator Shortcuts

7 Things You Didn’t Know Adobe Illustrator Could Do

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The most helpful thing I ever did when learning Illustrator was mastering the Pen Tool. At first I didn't really get it and couldn't use it effectively. Now it is one of my most powerful weapons.

How to learn it? Place as a background image a fairly complicated image. I chose the Queen of Hearts from a deck of cards. Trace it using only the Pen Tool and by the time you are finished everything else in Illustrator will be easy.

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First thing that I do, I read the manual or the help of the software. Learning by what the people that made the software gave me it is a great step.

Second thing, spend a lot of time on it, trying to do the most simple thing, or the difficult ones, just to try to get familiarised with the tool and what I am able/not able to do.

Third and last, google "illustrator tutorial" that I search on google :)

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You can check out some lynda.com video tutorials. They're very long, very detailed and will teach you virtually everything Illustrator (or any other Adobe product of your choice) can do.

I myself prefer video tutorials over any other type of learning when it comes to specific applications, especially anything graphically oriented, because you can see how you're supposed to work. Lynda's tutorials are definitly worth the price.

Reading books can only teach you some theory, but you also need a lot of pratcies and watching someone work is going to save you a lot of time rediscovering things.

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I agree Lynda is a great source of the stuff he's looking for, but the question said "I cant afford video tutorials from Lynda" - so I think that's probably why somebody gave a -1. –  Wilka Jan 9 '11 at 13:25
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