Tutors for Adobe Illustrator flat sketching?

I am an OLD SCHOOL designer who still sketches designs by hand. Design schools such as FIDM or OTIS LA don’t offer continuing ed singular courses in flat fashion sketching which is required if you want to work as a designer, and companies don’t train their employees.
I am seeking a freelance designer perhaps right out of school to sit IN PERSON with me and teach how to create flat sketches because without this skill I cannot get hired on spite of being a Design Director for the largest US brands.
LinkedIn and YouTube tutorials are only good for THAT design, but then if your design calls for a placket or zipper, ruching, lace ,buttons it’s like learning every sketch all over again. It takes me HOURS to create one sketch I sketch by hand in 5 minutes. And it looks terrible.
Where do I go to find someone like this and has this happened to your career where you are aged out because of all of these software requirements?


LinkedIn learning has a great course for apparel tech pack design in Adobe illustrator. Check your local library online. They will have a free online learning course. It may be LinkedIn learning or Ed2go. This used to be called Lynda.com. You can go to the library. Bring your iPad or laptop. They can set you up with an account, show you how to navigate the app. They can show you how to set up and use the learning module. Once you get started it’s great. You can follow along, pause the course and restart to work at the pace you need. And it’s free.
You can start with a basic illustrator course and progress as you get more comfortable.you can also take a class with a community college. I know Pratt has certificate classes that are live, zoom classes and the instructors are wonderful. Continuing Ed is an important category in all the schools now and many are still via zoom.


Thank you. I will try this. I also see Photoshop seems to be required as well. Is this in order to drop colors and prints into each flat sketch?

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I’m not sure what type of job you’re looking at. If you want to DM me, we can talk. Photoshop is used for many things; putting a design into index colors to send to the mill is one use. Sometimes for repeats, sometimes illustrator is used for repeats.

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Have you checked out Spec’d Studio’s Techpack booster workshop? They teach exactly what you are looking for: https://www.linkedin.com/in/specdstudio/

My friend took the workshop back in 2020 with only rudimentary understanding in Illustrator and got accepted by Staud brand last year. From what she told me you’ll learn all the in’s and out’s of how to use illustrator plus all the required skill sets the industry is looking for. Though the workshop is focused on handbag & SLG design, it’s the same skill set you can use to create apparel flat sketches too. I think they may have a class starting in mid Jan but you should email Spec’d Studio just to be sure.

Good luck.


I have an interview as Senior Designer with an activewear company and they want the person to be proficient in Illustrator and Photoshop to create flat sketches and to update line sheets with each fitting design change. It is Monday!
I want the job but they don’t know that this is the one thing on their long list of requirements I cannot do. I am trying to learn quickly in case their is a second interview or project required.
They already like my resume and design portfolio of which ironically every sketch is done by hand. I need the job!


If you have worked in illustrator and photoshop, the learning curve will be faster than if you haven’t. Check YouTube videos also.

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If you are in NYC I tutor newcomers in Illustrator flat sketching. In person. You need to have Illustrator and Photoshop on your computer to practice. I am also a veteran designer who learned Illustrator 10 years ago so that I could work again. It does take more than a few days to master, but you will love it when you do! DM me if you are interested.

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If you’re LA based I’d be happy to offer to tutor.
Learning to create CADs can take some patience to learn, and after sketching by hand, it’s a different mindset-- you are creating “shapes” and putting them together (a sleeve! A collar!) and it takes a while to get used to. I’ve been using ai for over 20 years, and for complicated designs, I still usually roughly sketch out my concept by hand, then figure out how to draw it in CAD form.
Having a great tutor- with self practice time in between- is probably the best way for you to learn. And creating a library of shapes and brushes (lace, stitches, ruching) will eventually make the process so much easier.
BTW, I barely use photoshop. Yes, I know some basics, but at your level (and mine as well) I can count on my textile artists to give me perfectly repeated prints, etc- I just “drop” them in the sketches! So a focus on illustrator is most important for you :slight_smile: Much luck!!!


I am in LA. There is a member on here also based in LA I am going to contact for tutoring and see how that goes! Thank you!

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Yes, I am in LA. I would appreciate that.
I will DM you to discuss. I am looking to really learn this ASAP.

Good luck to you!

SewHeidi is a great website to look at, and she does give classes in AI that appear to be very helpful. I am way beyond that level so I never took her classes.

Once you have your basic flat bodies saved, you can create different necklines, plackets, ruffles, sleeves, pockets, etc. separately and then just pop them on your bodies.

The very hardest thing about drawing in AI is mastering the pen tool and Bezier curves. It does take a bit of practice.

Have you ever taken a basic class in AI? To master selecting, grouping, aligning etc.

I wish you the best.


Oooh thank you someone for recommending Spec’d Studio. I know some people who have taken their classes as well. And they have someone based in Los Angeles as well who may be able to tutor you. DM me if you need more details.

I hope your interview went well! Honestly, I think most companies just want to know that you’re willing and able to learn. I’ve worked with so many designers & patternmakers who have refused to learn digital tools, I think your motivation to learn is a huge asset for you and I’m sure they’ll see that!.

I actually think illustrator isn’t that tricky, particularly once you start using it day in and day out at a job. If you don’t get the job just because of that, ugh, I feel frustrated for you, it’s just a tool that can be learned but is no replacement for years of on the job design experience!

From my experience being hired, good companies hire me for my skillset and then train me on software I don’t know yet. I’ve gotten many jobs not yet trained on the software I would be using. So, hopefully it’s the same for you too!

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Count me in as another LA-based person who can show you the AI ropes if you’d like! :slight_smile:

Additionally, I had a job interview a few months ago and I was missing one of their bigger requirements. I was completely up-front about my missing skill set but told them I’d be willing to learn if they would be willing to guide me. I thought my honesty cost me the job, but I’ve been working here for 3 months now (whether I’m happy in it or not is another story…). My now-boss told me she LOVED my honesty and could tell from the rest of my interview/work examples that I had the chops to do the job. There’s no shame in saying you’re an old-school designer who isn’t super strong in AI. TBH, in most jobs, it’s the assistant who’s doing the bulk of sketching.

Hope you got the job!


I am familiar with her. I may try more of her classes. I took one.

I didn’t get the job. Zoom interview but the interviewer/founder was late 30’s and over Zoom. Her first comment was age related and never asked about my experience or skill sets. I think being over 50 made her uncomfortable, because she said she was having difficulty finding a younger person who wanted to come into the office everyday. I said I would have no problem with it and would be happy to come in but I later heard back from the recruiter that she passed on me without giving a reason.

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Ugg. I’m sorry to hear that.

I have only found work through people that know me personally. While unemployed due to Covid I applied to about a million jobs but never got one reply.

It is rampant in our industry. That said, learning Illustrator and Photoshop will only help you. Same with 3-D programs, if you are up for that.

What price point do you work in? (Mass, moderate/medium, elevated contemporary, designer?)

Good luck!

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Modern, contemporary, some mass. Most of my background is in contemporary.
I will say I have. never once been hired by anyone other than the company CEO, founder or president in any design job since 1996.
ALL of them were OLDER than me. Now I am older than many at 55 so it’s a CHALLENGE. I do everything to look young but. hey, it’s a reality unless you are a patternmaker or work in another department NOT in design or marketing.

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That is why I transitioned into tech/product development (almost really an associate level, but designer level per hour freelance pay) when I returned to the industry at age 54 in 2014. Tech designers can be older, and I was good at Illustrator. I had that job for almost 6 years.

Now I do tech freelance, but last gig ended in November. Something might roll in soon.

My older designer friends end up with smaller freelance gigs.

I wish you the best of luck.


AI wasnt taught to me in school, and when I got my first job as an assistant tech (over 20 years ago), I saw the designers using it and I was floored. I bought a Mac and did the free tutorials that came with it, learning AI basics and how to use the tools. Then I just started sketching over images.

Fast forward to now, I see how lazy designers are using it, Just learn the tools mainly, and applying it will come naturally to you. Usually at work, you will use something existing and not have to start fresh.

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