Creating top-class, super-affordable illustration tools that make your design workflow faster and more efficient is just one part of what we do at RetroSupply. The other part is inspiration: we’re dedicated to producing and finding the best creative resources out there – from tutorials to pro tips, tricks and techniques – for becoming better designers and illustrators.
That’s why we’ve collated this list of the very best retro and vintage tutorials for Adobe Illustrator, which we’ve divided into the following categories for ease of use: retro and vintage techniques, logos, effects, characters and typography. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something here to help take your skills up a notch.
Scroll down for our hand-picked selection of the best retro and vintage tutorials for Illustrator…
Design ninja Tony Harmer demonstrates a quick way to create compound shapes in Illustrator, in this two-minute video walkthrough. Find out how to create unique forms in seconds by merging, extracting or erasing intersecting objects.
Designer Will Paterson reveals a faster way to digitise hand-lettering and logotypes using Illustrator’s Pen tool, in this super-quick tutorial. He explains how to to shave hours from your vector workflow by mastering anchor points and handles – and says that if you don’t already know this technique, it might just change your life.
Learn some handy techniques for creating a graphic style that works with live text, using the Appearance panel in Illustrator. You’ll find out how a range of fills and strokes can be layered to produce a retro style text effect, while retaining the ability to alter the text and font.
Design some cool retro graphics for a T-shirt by creating simple vectors and textures in Adobe Illustrator, with this step-by-step guide. Key skills covered include how to use the Pathfinder panel to knock out and combine shapes, and how to apply vector textures to shapes.
Get to grips with basic shapes, gradient, blending modes and the Pathfinder panel in this intermediate Illustrator tutorial, which walks through how to make a retro 1950s ‘Greased Lightning’ car.
Produce a set or retro icons in less than 20 minutes with this intermediate Illustrator tutorial. Topics covered range from creating basic Shapes to using the Arc tool and Blob Brush tool.
Illustrator Mark Oliver shares a recipe for transforming shapes to fit a predefined isometric projection without having to do any calculations, in this retro Illustrator tutorial.
From initial sketches to a polished piece of final artwork, illustrator Toby Leigh walks through how to develop a narrative-based artwork in his retro graphic style, using Illustrator and Photoshop.
Recreate the look of a clothbound, vintage book cover and decorative spine with woodcut-style illustrations and calligraphy in this intermediate tutorial, which uses Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.
Create an eye-catching vintage logo design with this Illustrator tutorial walkthrough from Chris Spooner. Based in inspiration taken during a raid trip through Canada, this tutorial will have you creating vintage-style badges in no time.
Craft a 1940-50s-style logo design in this step-by-step to creating a distressed retro logo in Illustrator and Photoshop.
Build a circular motif in Illustrator, before giving it an aged vintage appearance with some final touches in Photoshop.
In this four-minute tutorial, London-based illustrator Matt Lyon walks through a quick technique that he uses to create Spirograph designs in Illustrator. He shows how to combine the Distort & Transform command with Live Paint to produce a captivating Spirograph effect that’s especially useful for patterns, decorative flourishes and details.
Find out how to add a sense of motion to your work by creating vector illustrations in Illustrator and combining them with Photoshop's Pen tool to create a kaleidoscopic effect.
Find out how to create a retro pattern design made up of a limited color palette, and lots of squares and triangles, in this step-by-step Illustrator tutorial.
This beginner Illustrator tutorial shows you how to create a pencil pattern brush in Illustrator, from setting up a simple grid to creating a simple text effect with your own, handmade brush.
Dutch creative duo LouLou & Tummie reveal how to create perfectly balanced characters in Illustrator. They explain how to hone your use of the Pathfinder tool to build new shapes, and tweak lines to give them a sense of flow.
Combine shapes and textures with vectors and symmetry to striking effect in this Illustrator tutorial by xxx-based illustrator Jonny Wan.
Designer Ben Steers walks through how to create your own vintage characters in this retro Illustrator tutorial, while also explaining how to achieve a handprinted effect and use halftone patterns effectively.
This beginner-level Illustrator tutorial explains how to create different elements of character design from scratch, before using these elements to create different characters.
Add an aged, grunge effect to your designs as we walk through how to roughen your typography in Illustrator.
Type artist Bobby Haiqalsyah explains how to create a stunning piece of retro typography in Illustrator using the Blend and Offset Path functions.
Create a light bulb text effect in Illustrator, covering key skills that include: setting up a simple grid; using the live corners feature; mastering the Appearance panel and Transform effect; and basic blending effects.
Find out how to quickly edit any text to look like a wood block print text vector design, in this intermediate Illustrator tutorial.
Marcus Reed walks through how he creates letters with an animal theme in Illustrator and Photoshop, using his L is for Lion print as an example.
Alana Louise's work is heavily vector based. Yet, it maintains the feel of hand-drawn work you mostly see in Photoshop. The lines are loose and organic, and as a collector of vintage commercial art, that resonates with me.
Whether you’re into mid-century advertising, pop art, traditional hand-lettering or beyond, these retro and vintage artists are at the top of their game.
From grunge to halftone to stipple effects, add texture and warmth to your designs with this collection of the best free retro and vintage Illustrator brushes.