Learn the fundamentals of drawing with precision using the Pen tool. You’ll create straight and curved paths while becoming more comfortable with this powerful tool.

What you learned: The basics of creating new artwork with the Pen tool

The Pen tool, found in the Tools panel, is one of the most powerful drawing tools in Illustrator. With it, you can create and edit anchor points that make up paths.

Set stroke and fill before drawing

To start with the Pen tool, select the Pen tool in the Tools panel and, in the Properties panel, set the stroke weight to 1 pt., the color to black, and the fill to none.

Create straight lines

To create straight lines with the Pen tool, click and release to create an anchor point. Move the pointer, then click and release to create another anchor point. You can continue clicking and releasing in different areas to create more anchor points for the path.

To close a path, move the pointer over the original anchor point, and when a circle shows next to the pointer, press the Shift key and click the end point. To stop drawing a path without closing it, press the Escape key.

Create curves

To draw a curve, press and drag away from the point to create direction handles, and then release. Move the pointer, press and drag away to create another anchor point and release. The more you drag when creating or editing anchor point handles, the more curve the path has.

Create corner points (change path direction)

To change path direction, press and drag to create a smooth point. Release the mouse button. Move the pointer over the end of the handle and when the icon appears, press the Option key (MacOS) or Alt key (Windows) and drag the end of a handle to split them.

Removing direction handles

To remove a direction handle as you’re drawing so you can go from a curve to a straight line, click back on the last anchor point created to remove the handle. Then continue drawing.


Presenter: Brian Wood

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