Learn how to create shapes of various sizes in this short tutorial.

Transparent shapes overlap to create interesting compositions

It couldn’t be easier to create and manipulate shapes in Adobe Illustrator. The best part is that they’re live shapes that remain editable with a drawing tool.

Create rectangles, squares, and diamond shapes

Select the Rectangle tool, and before starting, set your fill and stroke colors in the Properties panel.

Drag on the artboard to create a rectangle. Drag until you see a diagonal magenta line to create a perfect square. As you drag, you’ll notice an onscreen tooltip next to the pointer that shows the dimensions.

Move the pointer slightly away from the bounding box to see a curved arrow. Now drag to rotate your square to any angle; press Shift to constrain the rotation to 45° to create a diamond shape.

You can scale a shape by dragging any of the eight bounding box handles, and you can easily reset the rotation angle, change dimensions, and make other changes in the Transform section of the Properties panel (Window > Properties).

A rectangle is created by selecting the Rectangle tool and adding a fill. Transform with the handles or Properties panel

Create a triangle and other polygonal shapes

Now press and hold the Rectangle tool in the Toolbar to view other nested shape tools and select the Polygon tool.

One way to start a shape is to simply click on the artboard and enter the number of sides — for example, type 3 to create a triangle, or 5 to create a pentagon.

Change your shape’s dimensions by dragging the bounding box handles; press Shift while dragging to constrain proportions.

 You can easily manipulate these shapes to create non-uniform polygons. Click outside so nothing is selected, and then use the Direct Selection tool to select a control point and drag to transform the shape.

Shapes are created with the Polygon tool and specifying the number of sides and radius.

Create a circle, oval, and organic shapes

Now select the Ellipse tool in the same set of nested tools and drag to create an oval of any size. Look for the magenta crosshairs to create a perfect circle. Alternatively, press Shift while dragging to make it a circle.

Click outside to deselect, and then use the Direct Selection tool to manipulate your elliptical shape to create organic variations to use in your designs.

Circles, ovals, and ellipses are created with the Ellipse tool.

Now that you’ve learned how to create a few simple shapes, practice your skills and use these foundational shapes to create more complex artwork.

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