Illustration Techniques

Here I have collected a big set of various Illustration tutorials for inspiration on the illustration assignment. Have a look! Try something new!

Here’s the big disclaimer.

All of these tutorials focus only on the technical aspects of creating the work, with only #2 referring to ideas, planning and sketching.

This is not the way to create good work. Good work ALWAYS starts with exploring many different ideas, trying out many different methods of execution before diving into the final work. You should never go with the first idea you have, unless time is extremely limited, and you do not care about creating crap. 

That said, is it good to be proficient with many different styles and techniques, as this will feed back into your creative process, allowing you to imagine more detail in your concepts from an early stage.


1: Combining Analog and Digital Media in Photoshop

Looks like this:

Read the entire tutorial here.


2: Inking and Coloring a drawing in Photoshop

This tutorial is a video, and covers some good basics of illustration composition and process, as well as some ideas for using a wacom tablet in PS and good practice for scanning your artwork.

Looks like this:

Watch the entire tutorial here.


3: How to Paint a Furry Cartoon Character in Photoshop

This tutorial covers the creation of a character from scratch. There are some great tips for using textures, and some ideas for how tools in PS can be used.

Looks like this:

See the entire tutorial here.


4: Create a Graphic T-Shirt

This is a great tutorial which gives you both, some interesting illustration techniques, as well as a nice overview of the history and technology of printing shirts. The tutorial covers how to use work paths in Photoshop, and has some interesting ideas for combining imagery in a graphic manner.

Looks like this:

History of the Graphic T (worth a read)

Read the entire Tutorial


5. Using Illustrator’s Auto-Trace Function to go from Sketch to Vector

While Auto-trace is not always the best option, there are benefits to using it. It allows you to capture some of the analog quality of your original drawing in vector form.

Looks like this:

Read the entire tutorial here.


6. Interesting stylization in Illustrator

This tutorial covers some great tips in working with complex illustrations in Illustrator. HOWEVER, in the article it appears as though they are drawing it from their head. I really really doubt this, and I imagine there is a whole sketch portion of this drawing which has been left out. Start on paper!

Looks like this:

Read the entire tutorial here.


There are many many more techniques than I could ever list here. A google search for “Illustration Techniques” will keep you busy for months.

Besides following technical tutorials I also recommend just looking at other good illustration work.

Check these sites regularly:




A large part of becoming a creative professional is becoming aware of your contemporary environment. Keep your eyes open, and stay curious!