Explore the fundamentals of drawing with precision using the Pen tool in Adobe Illustrator. 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 Toolbar, is one of the most powerful drawing tools in Illustrator. With it, you can create and edit anchor points and paths.

Set stroke and fill before drawing

To start with the Pen tool, select the Pen tool in the Toolbar 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, and you’ll see a preview of the path you are creating. 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 when creating an anchor point, drag to create direction handles, and then 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 the direction of a path while drawing, drag to create a smooth point (a curve). Release the mouse button. Move the pointer over the end of a direction handle, press the Option key (macOS) or Alt key (Windows), and drag the end of the handle to split them.

Remove direction handles

To remove a direction handle as you draw with the Pen tool, so that 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.

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