Illustrator Tutorials – Pen Tool Beginner’s Guide

Copy Help
  • Public/Private: Change the visibility of this video on your My Videos tab
  • Save/Unsave: Save/Unsave this video to/from your Saved Videos tab
  • Copy: Copy this video link to your system clipboard
  • Email: Copy this video link to your default email application
  • Remove: Remove this video from your My Videos or Saved Videos tab
Watch at: 00:00 / 00:00:20[Music]hey guys in today's tutorial I'll beshowing you how to use the illustratorpen tool this is a video I wanted tomake for quite a while since it coversthe very basics of illustrator and itgives you the tools you need to be ableto create vector based design this isWatch at: 00:20 / 00:40typically what you'll be using whencreating professional-grade logos fortypographyand for screen printing on t-shirts forexample so this is one of the mostimportant skills to have as a graphicdesigner before we start I just want tothank our friends at Skillshare forsponsoring this videoSkillshare is an online learningcommunity that offers over 16,000Watch at: 00:40 / 01:00classes and projects on a wide varietyof topics ranging from graphic design tofinance game design illustrationphotography and many other subjects allthe classes are taught by seasonedprofessionals in their respectiveindustries like Jessica hitch and airentrapment for example who I'm sure someof you are familiar with if you're intoWatch at: 01:00 / 01:20lettering or graphic design in generalnow here's just a quick glimpse of allthe Adobe Illustrator classes you'll beable to follow once you get familiarwith the pen tool make sure you guysstick around to get a free two-monthmembership to you can check it out foryourself and get unlimited access to allthe premium content Skillshare has tooffer alright let's get into this now atWatch at: 01:20 / 01:40first the pen tool might seem a littlebit hard to get a full grasp on but it'sreally pretty simple once you understandthe basic principles behind it so Icreated this guide to help you guysgradually get familiar with the pen tooluntil you're comfortable and not to useit on your own and start creating yourown personal designs with it you'll finda link in the video description toWatch at: 01:40 / 02:00download the Illustrator file this iscompletely free and it'll help you guysfollow along the tutorial feel free topause the video at any given time tofollow along and resume whenever youfeel readyall right now that you've downloaded theillustrator file we can get into thevery basics the pen tool works bycreating paths which are connected byWatch at: 02:00 / 02:20control points I'll show you what I meanin just a second so for this part willfocus only on geometric shapes made outof straight padsI'll start by creating an open pathwhich means that not all the points areconnected to make a closed shape likethis Pentagon for example up here I madeWatch at: 02:20 / 02:40some guides indicating where to placeyour control points in order to createthese specific shapes so you guys have areference to fall back on if you'reunsure about where your points should beat this stage it's prettystraightforward but when we'll startcreating curves these will come in handynow let's select our pen tool I'll setthe fill color to none and I'll go withWatch at: 02:40 / 03:00this bright pink for the stroke you canuse any color I just want something thatstands out so I'm going to start at thebottom here and place a point as you cansee my path is now anchored to thispoint and I can move freely around itthen I'm going to connect it to thiscorner up here and from there I'll moveWatch at: 03:00 / 03:20to the next point down here and pressescape when I'm done now we can move onto this next shape and repeat theprocessthis time we'll connect all the pointsand make it a proper closed path you canstart wherever you want and simplyconnect each corners with one anotherWatch at: 03:20 / 03:40[Music]now you see this little circle righthere next to my cursor this indicatesthat I'm about to connect the last pointand close my pad and by the way theseshapes don't need to be perfect just tryand be as precise as you can okay nowlet's go to this slice shape here soWatch at: 03:40 / 04:00again I'll create my first point herebut this time I'll hold down shift it'llmake it so that my pad can only move inperfect 45-degree angles around mystarting point you can see as I movearound my control point that the pathwill snap to the closest verticalhorizontal or 45-degree angle this canWatch at: 04:00 / 04:20come in really handy when creatingshapes and illustrator so let's just goahead and connect all the points holdingdown shift alright so now we know how tocreate straight path feel free to startover until you feel comfortable to moveon to the next part okay so we coveredWatch at: 04:20 / 04:40straight lines but Pat can also becurved the vector curves created withthe pen tool are called Daisy curves nowI'll show you how to create them we'llstart with this single curve right hereI'm going to go ahead and create mystarting point on this end herebut this time I'm going to click andhold now as I drag my cursor you can seeWatch at: 04:40 / 05:00I have these two handles I can rotatetheir own like the way i position thesehandles will determine the angle and theshape of my curve again if I hold shiftI'll be able to drag these handles in aperfect vertical or horizontal line soI'm going to drag this handle up to thisguide I created again you can rely onWatch at: 05:00 / 05:20the figures I made up here to figure outwhere to place your handle nowessentially you want to create yourcurves with as little points as possiblethis will generally translate insmoother looking curves now as you cantell I have this curved path to workwith so I'm just going to go ahead andconnect it to the end of the curve overherenow my curve doesn't have the rightWatch at: 05:20 / 05:40shape but that because I still haven'tplaced a handle on this point so I'mgoing to go ahead and drag my handle tothe guide and now I'm left with a niceand even curve again it doesn't matterif it's not perfect but if you do wantto correct your curve you can just holdcommand or control on PC and select thecontrol point or a handle and move itWatch at: 05:40 / 06:00around until you're satisfied all rightnow we're ready to move on to acontinuous curve so we'll repeat thesame process but this time we'll justkeep going I'll start at the same pointhere and go up with my handle then Iwant to place my second point right herein the middle and drag my handles downand then keep goingWatch at: 06:00 / 06:20[Music]we could go on like this forever nowlet's try another kind of curve thistime instead of going straight up anddown with the handles we'll do a 45degree angle I'll drag this one up toWatch at: 06:20 / 06:40the guy holding shift but this timewe're going at an angle and then I'll goto the second point and do the same andpull up to this guy so now we have acurve with two control points instead ofthree so this is just another way tocreate curves depending on the shape youWatch at: 06:40 / 07:00want you can also make the freehandcurves without holding down shift ifyou're going for a more inconsistenttype of shape like this but for nowRidge is going to focus on creatingcurves with straight handles now in someinstances you'll want to be able toconvert a curve into an angled corner orWatch at: 07:00 / 07:20a pointy tip for example on is droppedin we have all these smooth curves andthen we have this sharp tip so I'll showyou how to go about it I'll just startcreating my shape now you can startwherever I'm just going to go ahead andstart up here and make my way down tothe tip following the guide now as youWatch at: 07:20 / 07:40can see this bottom handle here isn'treaching the guide but I'll adjust itonce I created my point down here so I'mjust going to create the point and dragdown and then I'll adjust the handle byholding command to bring up the directselection tool and dragging this handledown remember to hold shift to keep aWatch at: 07:40 / 08:00straight line alright now I'm going togo ahead and adjust this point down hereto get the curve I want so I'll bringthis handle right up to the guide[Music]now I want to keep going but I'm kind ofstuck because handles will only let mecreate curves so what we're going to dois we'll break this curve by keepingelves pressed and grabbing this handleWatch at: 08:00 / 08:20now we can bring it up to the guide thenI'll move up to create the same curve onthe left side I can then proceed toclose my shape up here now I added anextra challenge to this part so once youWatch at: 08:20 / 08:40feel comfortable recreating the drop pinwith the guide you can move on to thisfigure here and try tracing it withoutguides[Music]again feel free to go over this part asWatch at: 08:40 / 09:00many times as you need until you feelcomfortable moving onalright guys now's the time to puteverything we learned to the test soI've created this squirrel shape whichis made out of straight fat a bunch ofcurves and some broken fat I alsoincluded curves that weren't made withWatch at: 09:00 / 09:20straight vertical or horizontal handlesbecause sometimes you just won't be ableto get the curve you want just by usingstraight handles and that's finenow let's try tracing this guy I wouldsay try and trace without looking at thereference too much and just refer to itwhen you feel stuck this should help youWatch at: 09:20 / 09:40get a better grasp on where to put yourpoint and how to drag your handle I'mgoing to trace along but I'll just speedit up a little bit so the video doesn'tlast forever[Music]Watch at: 09:40 / 10:00[Music]Watch at: 10:00 / 10:20Watch at: 10:20 / 10:40and guys remember that you can alwaysedit your curves after making them sothey don't have to be perfect on thespot alright guys sorry shape is doneWatch at: 10:40 / 11:00now if you had a hard time at first it'sall good I know it can be a bitfrustrating when starting out but trustme just keep practicing and at somepoint it'll just kick in for you andyou'll get the hang of it so just keepgoing at it until you feel comfortable[Music]now I know a lot of you guys followingWatch at: 11:00 / 11:20me are into lettering as well and you'llbe using the pen tool to create digitallettering so I've added this lastsection to show you guys how I createletters using everything we just learnedthere's a lot of different ways tocreate letters in Illustrator but thisis just how I prefer to do it Iessentially create each part of theletter as a separate shape that way IWatch at: 11:20 / 11:40can easily move things around afterwardsif I want to tweak the letter forinstance with this beep I'll createthree separate shapes the top curve thebottom curve and the bar again I'm justgoing to trace along but I'll speed itup a little bit and by the way I barelyever go right into illustrator andWatch at: 11:40 / 12:00freestyle so if you've watched some ofmy speed art videos you'll see that Ialways start by sketching my piece withpen and paper so I have a pretty goodidea of the shape and composition of theword I'm going for I find this to be amuch easier workflow than to just jumpinto illustrator and start tracing so Ireally encourage you guys to sketch yourWatch at: 12:00 / 12:20work beforehand it'll make it a loteasier for you[Music]alright guys so we've covered all thefundamental steps now the pen tool takesWatch at: 12:20 / 12:40a bit of practice so I know I keeprepeating myself but feel free to goover these exercises as many times asyou need until you feel like you'vemastered all the steps think of this asa primer to digital lettering or logocreation once you feel comfortable usingthe pen tool you'll have the foundationyou need to create pretty much anythingin Adobe Illustrator creating logos andWatch at: 12:40 / 13:00type is what I personally enjoy the mostwhen it comes to graphic design which iswhy I wanted to share this skill withyou guys in the hopes that you'll enjoyit as much as I do I'm always pushing toget better at it by learning new skillsand techniques to try and perfect mycraft for example right now I'm learningthe process of customizing typographyWatch at: 13:00 / 13:20with this class by Aaron droplet thisguy's pretty much the ultimate referencewhen it comes to vector work andcustomizing type and he has a verynatural and captivating way of teachingwhich I really enjoy I've also juststarted this class by George Beauvoir onhow to design a modern style logo GeorgeWatch at: 13:20 / 13:40is pretty much a veteran when it comesto brand identity and digitalillustration so I'm having a ton of funlearning about his techniques and whathis workflow is like when creating alogo you will find thousands of classesjust like these on Skillshare so Istrongly suggest you guys check it outif you want to step up your graphicdesign game make sure to click the linkWatch at: 13:40 / 14:00in the video description to get yourfree two-month Skillshare membershipthis means you'll have access to over16,000 premium online classes completelyfree which i think is a pretty sweetdealall right guys so as usual if you haveany questions or suggestions make sureto let me know in the comments sectionI'll do my best to get back to you asWatch at: 14:00 / 14:20soon as possible thank you so much forwatching I'll catch you in the next one[Music]you

About The Author

You Might Be Interested In

Comment (0)

  1. I'm the only one who has attempted this tutorial several times and remains not even close to doing it right.
    I have better luck when eating soup with a fork. Thanks for the tutorial anyway; I see it has helped many others.

  2. it does take a lot of time to figure out the logic behind the pen tool!
    anyway, this video and the ai practice template do make it easier to follow for AI newbie
    thank you SO MUCH~please keep making great video like this<3

  3. This is not the way it works in my illustrator when I loose the click on the top the line disappears when I click back somewhere to get the line it makes an anchorpoint at that point of click

  4. My professor gave us a tutorial game that was supposed to help us learn the Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator. It, in layman's terms, sucks! There was no explanation on how the Shift and Alt buttons were supposed to help with creating the curves.
    Then, I found this video and it explained everything so simply, I was able to follow along without many hiccups. This was simple and easy. Thank you for making this video!

  5. I think it matters where you place the anchor points right? (Like for the squirrel)? I find it so hard to make seamless curves (where it looks pleasing to the eye)

  6. Thanks a lot, really helpful! I knew nothing about how to use the pen before (frustrating as a designer). But just from following this I now feel I can handle it pretty well.

  7. I honestly cannot hit that like button hard enough. I have been working in Illustrator for a few weeks now, took a course on Udemy, watched multiple videos and yet, in 6 minutes (I've paused this video to try out the downloadable page, and to now type this comment) you have completely demystified the pen tool for me!!! Sir, you are amazing. I am so pleased I stumbled across this video. I haven't seen your other content yet, however, I am subscribing. Thank you so much for this, it is an absolute game changer!

  8. Me before watching the video: WAAAAAAAH, why is this pen tool so useless?
    Me after watching the video: Man, this is the best thing on the world


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *