I work on Photoshop for over 4 years for web design and user interface purposes but I'm thinking of starting learning Illustrator because most of design jobs now require illustrator skills beside Photoshop.

The problem is that I suck at drawing and I'm wondering what kind of stuff can I craft in illustrator in this situation, and what benefits I can get from using it?

otherwise, does it require any drawing skills? should I start learning or not?

  • I think this question might be a little vague. What are you going to do with illustrator? Drawing might come handy with both, photoshop and illustrator.. just depending on what you're going to do. ( Though I would never use illustrator to actually draw freehand.. I use photoshop for that purpose.. ) But still in my opinion drawing skills may come in handy ..say logo designing.. where you get your sketches to illustrator and essentially use pentool to craft them out. ( ..even though you dont actually do the drawing in illustrator... )
    – Joonas
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 6:26

5 Answers 5


re: drawing skills...start drawing. Get a pencil, paper and draw every day.

As for illustrator, it's like asking if PhotoShop is useful if you can't take photos. Of course it is. Having illustration skills will help, but just like practicing your drawing, you'll be practicing Illustrator and you'll grow your skills there too.

  • Agreed, just do some tutorials and get to know the program. What exactly do you need to draw? If you're web dev and UI, then you probably need to make icons and things like that - there's plenty of resources on the web to do these things step-by-step.
    – TCDesigner
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 21:04

You do not need "drawing skills" to use Illustrator! Just like you don't need "drawing skills" to use Photoshop.

The main benefit of using illustrator vs photoshop is that illustrator creates vector graphics. This means you can scale the images as large as you want or as small as you want and there will be no 'jagginess' because vector graphics aren't made from pixels.

Some things are best done in Photoshop, and some things are best done in Illustrator.

I have 0 drawing skills but work with illustrator almost every day. Like you, I used photoshop exclusively and didn't really understand illustrator. After learning to use it, however, I use it just as much as photoshop. It is a very valuable tool to know, and I'm sure you will learn to love it.

I would highly recommend that you master the pen tool as soon as possible. The way I learned the pen tool, was to place a background image of the Queen of Hearts from a deck of cards, and recreate it by tracing it using only the pen tool. After that everything else is easy.

  • Excellent practice idea for the pen tool.
    – TCDesigner
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 21:00

I have rudimentary drawing skills, and the main advantage that vector drawing software gives me is that it lets me try again if my lack of manual dexterity lets me down. With a bit of sodding about I can get cartoon-ish looking drawings out of illustrator, corel draw or similar software.

If you have no drawing skills at all, I don't know if it will help, but I imagine that you're probably in a similar position to me.

  • The Illustrator Brush tool is particularly good for taking several whacks at a line. You can keep drawing and re-drawing and it will modify your original line until it looks the way you want it.
    – Farray
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 20:31

I seem to disagree with most people here, except for @DA01.

You do not need to be a "natural" at drawing. BTW: "natural" just means people who just keep at it, again and again. Persistence is all there is. Scribble at everything. Draw at least ten post-it-notes each day.

I do not know if the other people here are just extremely modest, or what kind of stuff they produce. But drawing skills are fundamentally an ability to see. I assume there is nothing particularly wrong with your hands, so it is not a lack of fingers that prevents people from becoming good at drawing. It is about seeing. And mentally translating something 3D into something 2D. And a visual feel for balance.

All this is practice. Practice. Practice. All the cool sw in the world will not make you good at drawing, but they are great tools to translate your seeing into visual objects.

And as for learning Illustrator: it can be a struggle. But it is worth it. What you can practice all the time, AFK, is seeing.


You do not need to have any drawing skills to use illustrator. I have been using it for 4 years very successfully. You handle your photos in photoshop and your typography treatment in illustrator, and your vector graphics ofcourse. But it is definitely worth learning.

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