Learn to manage the hyper-Pen tool and do wonders, literally!

March 23, 2017 Graphic Design

Many newly learned Graphic Designers are most scared to use the super tool, but the Pen tool in the illustrator is a boon and not a pain. Yes, it’s true, to get a hang of this tool requires a lot of brick breaking and practice. It has also been noted that designers feel, using this tool has made their designs, quicker and them, efficient. So here are the basics so that you can use to Bend it like Beckham!

Introduction to the Pen Tool:

Pen tool has four sub-tools inside-

Pen tool(P), Add anchor point(+), Delete anchor point(-) and convert anchor point(Shift+C).

Along with these, one main element of the tool is bezier handle which is used to create the curves and manage the drawing using the anchor points or also to relocate the anchor points. The basic fundamental of Pen tool works on creating anchor points and then joining them to draw lines and curves. Sounds easy? Not really easy, my friend.

Here is a quick cheat sheet that will help you understand this tool and make your design life easier:

1. Draw straight line

Select the pen tool and create anchor points, each point will create a connecting straight line.

2. Create curves

Use pen tool to create anchor points, as you create the second point, you can use the bezier handle(each point has a handle) to turn the straight line into a curved line. [Image]


3. Add anchor points

Move your cursor over a path(straight/curved), the cursor will automatically turn into ADD anchor point tool. You can click on the path and add as many anchor point you want on the path and use them to give a definition or mold the shape you are trying to make.


4. Delete anchor points

As the name goes, select the delete anchor points tool and click on the anchor point you wish to delete. You could also hover your cursor over the existing anchor point to convert your cursor into DELETE pen tool.

5. Move anchor points

You can also move the anchor points, without deleting and adding new ones. Simply hold CTRL/COMMAND and select the anchor point you wish to move. The cursor will turn into direction tool and then you can drag the anchor point to re-position.

6. Move handles

With the pen tool selected, press CTRL/COMMAND the cursor will change to Direction tool. Use this tool to pull or drag the handle and alter the line/curve.
Here are ultra useful tutorials by Swerve Designs and Benny Qibal to help you create wonders with the handy- Pen tool:

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