adobe illustrator pen tool whale tutorial

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial using Pen Tool

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

PEN TOOL TUTORIAL FOR BEGINNERS

In this Beginner Adobe Illustrator Tutorial, we will be going through a basic process on how to apply the pen tool in a 2-step process. We will go step by step through a complete workflow using pen tool, brushes, and coloring. We will be doing some basic coloring with live paint bucket which is my favorite to teach beginners who are familiar with the same tool in Adobe Photoshop to complete this step by step tutorial. Looking to Follow Along? Download Brushes, Textures + Tutorial Resources

adobe illustrator pen tool whale

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).

BEGINNER TUTORIAL

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 cartoon brushes in areas to support the character and light source.

Adobe Illustrator 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.

adobe illustrator settings for beginners
adobe illustrator preferences for beginners

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 $19

How to Color in Adobe Illustrator

One of the easiest and fastest ways of filling in your color is through Live Paint. Live Paint Bucket 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 do 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 with everything selected. Click on the Live Paint Bucket (K) and Click to Dump Color. It will feel like the Paint Bucket in Adobe Photoshop. Follow Along to more of our 50 Beginner Step by Step Adobe Illustrator Tutorials.

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Adobe Illustrator Resources

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Download our (Updated) 200 Adobe Illustrator Brushes + Resources to Follow Along on YouTube. Many of you are coming from YouTube looking to download our (updated) Adobe Illustrator Brush Libraries. Follow Along to our Beginner Tutorials Playlist or use them with Your Own Artwork. *Our Brushes include the Anchor Point and Tablet Friendly Guides to Follow Along to our 100 Beginner Tutorials Playlist on YouTube. VIEW OUR ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR BRUSHES + RESOURCES 

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Download our (Full) Adobe Illustrator Resource Bundle of 200 Brushes and 400 Textures to Follow Along on YouTube. If you are looking for our Full Resource Folder with all of the Brushes and Textures. Our Resource Bundle includes our (updated) Brush Libraries and (new) BMP Textures for Adobe Illustrator. *Our Resource Bundle includes the Anchor Point and Tablet Friendly Guides to Follow Along to our 100 Beginner Tutorials Playlist on YouTube. VIEW OUR ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR RESOURCE BUNDLE

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Follow Along with our 100 Full-Length Adobe Illustrator Learning Modules in our Active Learning Curriculum on Teachable. If you are a fan of our YouTube Channel and Step-by-Step Format, there are 100 Full-Length Adobe Illustrator Tutorials, Challenges, and Tool-Based Workflows in our Active Learning Curriculum on Teachable. *Includes our Adobe Illustrator 200 Brushes + 400 Textures as a Getting Started Bonus. VIEW OUR ACTIVE LEARNING CURRICULUM ON TEACHABLE*