Inking in Illustrator

Course description

In this 30 minute class, you'll learn how to easily create dynamic vector artwork in Adobe Illustrator. You won't be using the pen tool or basic shapes. Instead, you'll get familiar with the brush and blob tools, perfect for creating artwork that's not rigid or lifeless!

This class is for beginner or pro alike. Some basic understanding of Adobe Illustrator is highly recommended, although not completely necessary.

What You'll learn

  • Creating custom brushes in Illustrator
  • Using the brush and blob tools effectively
  • Adding colour, light and shadow to your line work

In addition to this you'll learn an entire process for creating vector artwork from start to finish.


There’s no better time to start than now. For this project we’ll be drawing botanicals; flowers, petals or leaves. They’re great subject matter because they’re organic and natural—meaning that you don’t have to be able to draw a perfectly straight line. In fact, wobbly lines are even better!

  1. Get some line work exercise in by going through the Practice Sheet in the Resources section.
  2. Upload your drawing into Illustrator and get inking! There are drawings provided under Resources if you'd prefer to use one of them.
  3. Move through the different steps until completion. Stuck? Just refer back to the video lessons.
  4. You’re done! Save out your image in your desired format and share it through your social platforms. Be loud and be proud—after all your hard work, you deserve an applause!

Course outline

Lesson 1: custom brushes

In this lesson we'll be setting up the custom brushes in Adobe Illustrator that we'll be using in the inking process.

Lesson 2: Practice

You'll be going through a practice exercise with your newly created brushes to get a feel for inking in Illustrator.

Lesson 3: Inking

To begin our illustration we will focus on inking the linework and when to employ thin and thick lines.

Lesson 4: colour swatches

Learn how to set up your swatches panel in Illustrator to make your life a whole lot easier.

Lesson 5: flat colour

With our illustration fully inked, let's begin to apply colour!

lesson 6: shadows and highlights

To finish off our illustration we will be applying shadows and highlights in a few different ways and for a few different reasons.

Lesson 7: final thoughts

We'll end things off by going over all that we learned throughout the course.


About the teacher

Melissa is a freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator who has the pleasure of working from home in her comfy pyjamas. When not wrapped up in blankets, she can usually be found hopping between design studios and media agencies. She's been an artworker, illustrator, pitch designer, packaging designer and even powerpoint guru. Today she mostly works on her own illustrations and designs to put up for sale on Creative Market.

This was exactly what I was looking for. I have zero familiarity with Illustrator and I was able to follow along. Would definitely recommend!
— Hailey Myziuk
It always bothered me trying to figure out how to make coloring and shading work through the tools and layering in Illustrator but you made it so clear and organized!
— Tyler Stokes
I’ve been using Illustrator for a long time now and this is a new and brilliant technique for me. LOVE this.
— Staci Reed

This course and many more for just $9/month