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2.2 The Pen Tool

The Pen Tool is arguably Illustrator’s most fundamental tool. In this lesson, we’ll be using it to draw custom shapes using straight and curved lines.

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2.2 The Pen Tool

[MUSIC] The next one we are going to look at is the Pen Tool. Now this is super, super cool. It takes probably a little bit more learning, the Pen Tool, but once you've mastered it, it is incredibly useful, because it effectively allows you to create any shape. So you can see the Pen Tool over here on the left and you can left-click. Lots of left-clicks effectively creating a dot to dot. I don't know what this is by the way, very creative shape. Okay, so we've created a dot to dot with straight lines. We can also use the pen tool to left-click and then left-click and drag. And you can see that we can drag out a curve. And we can adjust this and see how that curve would look and let go. And it automatically wants to follow that up with another curve. And it's very helpful, because it shows you where this curve is going to go so you could nicely balance it. So it's something like this. Nicely balanced, so it flows nicely from the left edge all the way through to the right edge. And we could left-click, and then we left-click and drag again. However, I want to follow this up with a straight edge. I don't want it to automatically continue that curve. Well there's a couple of ways we can do this. You can just left-click or hold Alt and left-click on this anchor point and it will cut that short and then go back to a straight line. And as before you can hold the almighty Shift key and it will draw a vertical line or a horizontal line or a 45 degree line. So you can see that there's a lot of flexibility in what you can actually create. And of course that's incredibly helpful when creating logos, because if you need that custom shape, that none of the other shape tools can really kinda do, then you can just draw it yourself. Now, another tool that we've got. If we left-click and hold on the Pen Tool, we've got the Add Anchor Point Tool. Now, as the name suggests, this will let you add an anchor point. So what's an anchor point? Well anchor points are all of the things that we've created and any shape created within Illustrator is made up of these anchor points. So if we select the Add Anchor Point tool, we can hover along this line. If you don't see these pink guides here, these are called Smart Guides. They're incredibly helpful, and you can turn them on over View and down to Smart Guides. So you can see as it hovers along that line, and I can left-click, and I can add lots of different anchor points. And I'll show you in a moment how we can then manipulate those anchor points as well. And of course we can left-click, and we've got the Delete Anchor Point tool. And as you guessed, it will delete anchor points. It won't actually delete the space between two anchor points, but it will delete the anchor point, and automatically connect up the remaining points. And we've got the Anchor Point Tool here, which I think used to be called the Convert tool. So if we create a curved shape. And by the way, if you want to stop this kind of continuation here you can go up to Select, down to Deselect or just press the Esc key. So if we select the shape and then we'll go to the Anchor Point tool. We can click on this middle anchor point and it will convert that from a curve to a straight edge. Cool, so that's the pen tool, we've also got another variant of the pen tool. This is something that you'll be able to access with a slightly more recent version of Illustrator and it's called the Curvature Tool. Now, I like to think of this as a slightly more helpful, beginner friendly version of the Pen Tool. Because when you click, you just left-click, a single left-click, and it very nicely shows you that curvature on both sides of the anchor point. So rather than just kind of running up to that first anchor point, I can see how this is going to affect it. As I bend this around, you can see it adjusts the rest of the shape to make sure that I get some really nice smooth curves. So, I'm just going to create a random shape here. So, you can see that as I go to join that up the circle next to the pen tool indicates that I will be completing the shape. But it automatically adjusts that first line I created, just to make sure everything bends and flows nicely, nice and smooth. So, that tool is incredibly helpful.

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