adobe illustrator pen tool tutorial

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial using Pen Tool

In Adobe Illustrator, for Beginners, Pen Tool Tutorials, Tutorials by Jason Secrest

ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR PEN TOOL TUTORIAL

In this step by step Adobe Illustrator Pen Tool Tutorial we will be going through a basic process on how to apply the pen tool and some different options if you are struggling. We go through a complete workflow using pen tool, width profiles, and the width tool. We will be doing some basic coloring with effects. We will add on flat color using Live Paint Bucket, Inner Glows and Drop Shadows to complete the step by step tutorial. Looking to Follow Along? Download Brushes, Textures + Tutorial Resources

adobe illustrator tutorial pen tool coyote

PEN TOOL

We are going through some different options for the pen tool. The few things to remember is to focus on getting down the anchors first. We have a lot of our tutorials that focus just on straight lines and placing anchors. The easy parts of the line are the start and end points which means you just have to look for changes in direction in the middle. Click and drag your mouse in the direction you want to go (slowly).

TROUBLESHOOTING

There are easy ways of approaching the pen tool. Start with straight lines and only look for changes in direction. Using your white arrow(A) select the point that look like they are curved and click on the smooth curves button. If your pen tool keeps adding a new anchor rather than a new line then make sure the line isn’t still selected. You will notice a + as you hover over the line if it thinks you want to add an anchor. Anchor Tool(Shift C) will reset and manually drag out each curve.

LINE VARIATION

The line variation be simplified by looking at the ends of each of your lines. If it is floating out in space then it signals a tapered end. If the end point bumps up against another line or shape, this is a good signal that it should be wide. Use the width tool to adjust the thickness in areas to support the character and light source.

Beginner Top Tips

Zoom In

All of our initial preferences are designed to gain more control over what you are clicking on. The more you can zoom in and see your anchors and handles the better.

Smart Guides

Under VIEW make sure you have your smart guides turned on. Under your PREFERENCES (smart guides) you should definitely have your anchor/ path labels selected.

Anchor and Handle Size

In your (general) PREFERENCES there is a setting which can enlarge your anchor points and handles to make them easier for you to see before clicking.

Direct Selection Tool

The white arrow can grab and adjust the anchors, handles, and paths. All of the other settings are designed to let you know what you are selecting before you click and drag.

Adding on Line Variation using Cartoon Brushes

You will have more control over the placement and width of each of your lines using the Cartoon Brushes (Download + Install). The process will be a combination of using the Brushes to get down the initial thickness and stroke width. The second step will be modifying the placement of the variation using the so we can edit later. This 2-Step Process allows for more control over your Line Variation compared to using your Tablet with Pressure.

illustrator cartoon brushes

Download Brushes

1. The Direct Download will make it very easy to download the zipped brushes file. Simply Extract All of the contents and follow along with the rest of the video.

Open Other Library

2. In your Brushes Panel, Window – Brushes. In the Bottom Left Hand Corner you will see a Brushes Library icon that looks like books. Click on it and scroll down to Other Library. Open Brush Library from folder.

Adding Line Weight

3. Depending on your own Style or preference, I would recommend adding a little more line weight to your artwork. The mistake I see a lot of beginners make is keeping the line weight at 1pt.

Cartoon Brushes

4. We have 17 Brush Libraries in our folder. You can use any one of them during this tutorial. All you have to do is line up the thin edge which will be floating in space. The Thick ends will represent our values which will be merging into other areas and strokes.

DOWNLOAD + INSTALL

ILLUSTRATOR BRUSHES

BRUSHES W/ RESOURCES

How to Color in Adobe Illustrator

One of the easiest and fastest ways of filling in your color is through Live Paint. Live Paint is a part of the Shape Builder Tools which builds the shapes in the exact shape you need it. Select All. Go up to Object - Live Paint - Make. If you have a grayed out Make it simply means you didn't have anything selected. I recommend Deselecting by clicking on your artboard before clicking on a Color Swatch. *Remember Everything is still Selected so it will Color the Full Selection if you click on a Color Swatch. Click on the Live Paint Bucket (K) and Click to Dump Color. It will feel like the Paint Bucket in Adobe Photoshop. View Full List of 100 Step by Step Tutorials, Challenges and Tool-Based Workflows in our  Adobe Illustrator Active Learning Curriculum.

Most Popular: Adobe Illustrator Tutorials

Adobe Illustrator Resources

Image

200+ Adobe Illustrator Brushes specifically designed for Illustrators and Cartoonists to speed up their workflows. Includes Cartoon Brushes, Jittery Hand, Caffeinated Cartoonist and Hand-Painted Brushes. Follow Along to the Tutorials on the or Use with your Own Artwork. Includes Tutorial Resources for the Website and YouTube. VIEW ILLUSTRATOR BRUSHES

Image

Illustrator Resources include our 200 Brushes, 400 Textures and Tutorial Resources. Many of you are coming from YouTube and are looking for our Illustrator Resource Folder to Follow Along to the Tutorials or use with Your Own Artwork. Includes the Tutorial Resources to Follow Along on the Website and YouTube. VIEW ILLUSTRATOR RESOURCE BUNDLE

Image

Our Active Learning Curriculum on Teachable includes all of our Tool-Based Workflows, Unit Blocks, 100 Full-Length Modules and Illustrator Resources. What we are going to do in our Getting Started Guide is catch you up on how to Download our Illustrator Resources, Select a Tool Based Workflow and Follow Along to our Learning Modules on Teachable*VIEW ACTIVE LEARNING CURRICULUM