How to learn Adobe Illustrator: Is it difficult?

illustrator loading screen- learn illustrator

Many beginners think illustrator is more difficult to learn than Photoshop. Illustrator has a steeper learning curve which some may find complicated and time-consuming. It encompasses a number of concepts that may not make sense in the beginning but once you get a hang of it, it feels like an extension of your hand.

Illustrator can be easier to learn through finding video tutorials and other online programs that make it easier to get through the initial stages. Further, memorizing and using keyboard shortcuts will help save time and keep your work more organized. 

If you have been using Photoshop for a while, learning Illustrator may seem intimidating. It takes time to get familiarized with the new tools, and what they do but once you get a hang of the tools, you’ll find them easier to use than those in Photoshop.

How long does it take to learn Adobe Illustrator?

You can design a simple logo in a day of learning, but It takes a month to six months to become an advanced creator with Illustrator depending on how much time you have. In 1 year of practice, you will have gained advanced knowledge and become a master. 

The time you need to learn will also depend on your familiarity with similar programs. If you are experienced with other applications such as Photoshop, it will be easier to learn Illustrator. If you want to learn specific elements of the application, it may take a shorter time.

Is learning Adobe Illustrator worth it?

Yes, it is worth learning Illustrator. It can be used for projects such as posters, logos, page layouts, icons and maps. Illustrator is an essential program for working in design. Adobe Illustrator is a staple in the graphic design and illustration industries and having experience in the software will improve your resume. 

Employers will give you priority when you are seeking a job, if you have a well-rounded portfolio. Learning Illustrator can be beneficial in developing your personal brand. You can work on a myriad of do-it-yourself projects, that will help boost your imagination and expand your creativity. Graphic design is a competitive field, where you will need a plethora of skills to stand out from the competition. 

You can work as a freelancer, where you can get to enjoy your freedom while earning a decent living. Competitive Illustrators are on high demand. Advance your portfolio and you will be in very high demand in the industry. 

Can I teach myself Adobe Illustrator?

Yes, you can learn Illustrator by yourself in many different ways. There are websites with video tutorials, but have a wide variety of content. Some offer live, instructor-led lessons, which might be easier to follow for beginners. 

illustrator user interface

You can take the courses at home or any other location that is convenient for you as a learner. Online courses are a good way to learn as you get to set your own pace and decide on which lessons to take and concepts to learn depending on your progress. 

You can split the course over several days, weeks or months. Whichever option you choose; you are guaranteed to get detailed guidance that will incorporate a majority of graphic design concepts you are familiar with. 

It may be challenging to find the right online course for you. Some guides rely on outdated versions of Illustrator, so you may not get all the information you need. Check out my list of free graphic design courses where you’ll find some with illustrator tutorials.

Overall, you have to interact with the right resources to ensure you get as much essential information as possible, while learning at a pace that is convenient for you. Patience is very important when learning to use any program. 

Is Illustrator harder than Photoshop?

Most graphic designers find Illustrator harder to learn in the initial stages. However, after they become familiar with the tools and settings, it becomes easier to use compared to Photoshop.

When you have used Photoshop for some time, you may struggle with the tools and concepts on Illustrator. Illustrator is mostly a vector-based editing software that uses mathematical constructs to create vector graphics. On the other hand, Photoshop is based on pixels. See my article on some of the differences between photoshop and illustrator.

Is Illustrator better than Photoshop?

None is better than the other since they serve different purposes. Photoshop is mostly used for photo editing and painting while Illustrator is used for creating and transforming vector graphics. Photoshop has a wide range of tools that helps you crop, adjust lighting and coloring, and to add or remove backgrounds. 

Is illustrator worth the price?

Photographers and digital painters will prefer Photoshop for its user interface and incredible photo-editing features, while Vector Illustrators, animators doing rigging, and Graphic Designers will use Illustrator more. 

photoshop user interface

Illustrator is better for creating logos compared to Photoshop. Photoshop creates raster graphics, therefore it is highly likely to lose quality when scaling up or down. Vector graphics on the other hand are effective in preserving the quality of a logo, regardless of how large or small the scale is. 

Illustrator provides an intuitive user interface. You can also create files in manageable sizes, which can be easily exported to Photoshop or other software. 

What should I learn first, Illustrator or Photoshop?

If you are a beginner photographer or digital artist in the field, you should learn Photoshop first. If you are trying to learn Graphic Design, you should start with Illustrator for logo design. Photoshop is a useful program for the manipulation of photos, and editing pixelated art, and web graphics. You can learn user interface creation and graphic animation.

Is Photoshop worth the price?

Illustrator will become easier to understand once you have captured the essential features of design using Photoshop. To use Illustrator, you have to possess a key understanding of how it builds graphics. However you can start with either depending on the kind of work you wish to create. 


You might find Illustrator hard to learn, but once you have mastered it, it will be worth your time. Illustrator is an essential tool in the portfolio of any modern graphic designer. It is based on vector graphics; therefore, it may be challenging for new users.

However, those familiar with Photoshop and other Adobe products will find it easier to understand the concepts of Illustrator. It is possible to learn it within a short period of time, depending on the individual. You don’t need to know how to draw to use Illustrator, just have great design skills and you are good to go.