Is it possible / worth / easy to render in Illustrator like in Photoshop?

  • Hi guys,

    I've been learning Illustrator fo some time now. After a while I started to feel like torn, as don't know which of the programmes i like more - Illustrator or Photoshop.

    Once you understand Illustrator and stop swearing, while using a pen tool ;-), it becomes quite pleasant and quicker to work with. On the other hand Photoshop is more intuitive and less stressful 😉 Do you know any cool courses on painting in Illustrator with textures and nice shadows etc? I am using, which is pretty awesome, but it seems to be more for graphic design than painting. Is Illustrator mainly for graphic design or can you also paint in it like in Photoshop? What's opinion? Cosmic Dog.jpg

  • Hi! Well I can tell you that on Illustrator (at least for me) creating pretty rendered pieces is a pain and I feel it limits you, of course it has it's benefits but I would choose PS over it everyday. It is worth it if you are working on a tshirt design or a cartoon series that needs to blowout each piece, and it doesn't lose quality (which was what I made this piece for), or maybe your style requires vectors, but beyond that I see no other mandatory uses. If you still really like it, go for it! You could even use both too!


  • If you want artistic strokes in illustrator like you can get in photoshop, you’ll need to get some good brushes. I recommend retro supply ( They also have a lot of great examples of vector illustrations using their brush packs right there on the site. Even with good brushes, I think you will find that illustrator will start to lag and crash if you try to build up enough “brushstrokes” to get a full-page textured illustration. That just isn’t what the program was made for. The only illustrators I know who work in illustrator are ones with a very clean, simple, graphic style or ones who are forced to by corporate clients who want the ability to resize artwork as needed w/o losing resolution. This normally isn’t the case in publishing as page sizes are fairly standardized. If you do decide that vector is the way to go for you, I don’t think SVS has classes for that, I would check out DKNG Studio on Skillshare. They do gig posters, not narrative illustration, but their vector work is amazing and their classes are some of the best on that platform (in my opinion).

  • It really depends on your illustration style. If you like the painterly approach more I would say use Photoshop, if you like cleanliness (which can be achieved in Photoshop) stick to Illustrator. You can also mix the two programs.

    It really depends on your style. I use Photoshop, Procreate, and Krita and those are more painterly programs. I used Illustrator to design the technical aspects of my business card. Hope this information was helpful. 🙂

  • As someone who was in a similar position a few years ago here are my thoughts...

    As much as I LOVE Illustrator, you can achieve the same kind of look and feel in Photoshop and it is easier more flexible. I used to only work in Illustrator, but I gradually got to the point where Illustrator could no longer do what I wanted. Here is one of my last pieces I did in Illustrator.


    It took for ever to finish this! The piece made me rethink my entire illustration process and switch to Photoshop. Now if I want a vector look I just draw my shapes and use the transparent pixel lock.

    Also, here is a video of an Illustrator who used a process similar to mine.

    To answer your questions.. It is possible to render in AI, but I do not think it is easy nor is it worth the hassle.

    I hope all my rambling helps.

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  • @Jose-A-Nieto thank you for sharing you opinion. Your piece looks interesting.

  • @StudioLooong Thank you!:-) This s very useful. I will look into that.

  • @DarleneAnico thank you, the problem is I am still working no my style so I am not sure what I want 🙂
    @j-sienkowski Thank you! Ive seen @mexifunk before. He is awesome. I need to check transparent pixel lock. BTW I really like your piece

  • @aska
    Sorry this is so late. I'm only on here occasionally. I do have some good advice for you and others that like illustrator though.
    Von Glitschka does all his art/illustration in illustrator. He applies textures and uses brushes. The other suggestion to get brushes from Retro Supply is excellent as well.
    The best suggestion I can give however, and I learned of from Von, is to buy some plugins from Astute Graphics. They do run sales of 40% occasionally so sign up for their emails. Watch their tutorials on their site about how to use the plugins. You will be amazed! It makes illustrator behave so much more intuitively. They are all amazing, but Texturino is one you need to look at.
    Hope this helps your journey in vector art!

    Links below:

    Von's Youtube (I watched his videos on so I'm not sure how his youtube channel may help)

    Astute Graphics
    You can try any plugin for free for 7 or 14 days.

  • @KC thank you, thats very useful! Sorry for late response, but i also don't show up too often here. I want to, but life is so busy

  • Pro SVS OG

    Why choose? They both have their strengths and weaknesses, but you can happily move the same illustration from one to the other and take advantage of both. More than 80% of my illustrations start and end in Photoshop, but I do occasionally have a project that lends itself to a mixed approach. I use AI exclusively for certain type of illustration or start in AI and then move to Photoshop for the final touches and brushwork so that I can get rid of Illustrator's "polished" look.
    It is honestly not worth the effort to try and do a painterly look in Illustrator when Photoshop can do that so much more flexibly and efficiently, and it's a pain to do clean vector-like work in Photoshop when Illustrator can do it so much better. I think the best approach is to use both depending on what type of effect you want to achieve.
    As @KC said, I highly recommend Astute Graphics plugins for Illustrator, as they give you a lot of extra power and efficiency. I don't use all of them, but it's convenient to buy the bundle if you like more than a couple.
    I attach two examples of illustrations from closed and published projects: the first is done exclusively in Illustrator, the second started off in Illustrator and was finished in Photoshop.

    Incidentally, this is not my main style, but I have a small section with work like this on my website and I do get regular requests to work in this style, especially for products and books for younger audiences.


  • @smceccarelli That is some fantastic use of texture!

  • @smceccarelli thank you 🙂 I have been busy trying Astute for past two weeks. I love it! 🙂 And I am happy you wrote not to choose. I don't want to choose anymore. With Astute it's easier to progress in Illustrator and it's time that I was worried about. I wanted to make a choice, in order to become good at one and not average at both (which is my speciality btw 🙂 and here is my first picture created with Astute plugins!! BTW your art is amazing as always! I am super jealous! I also made a switch from other job to illustration. However I don't see I am going to be as good as you within my time on Earth 😉 chrupka2-01.jpg

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