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Adobe Illustrator Tutorial using Pen Tool

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

ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR PEN TOOL

In this Beginner Adobe Illustrator Tutorial, we will go through a basic process of applying the pen tool and some different options if you are struggling. We go through a complete workflow using the pen tool, cartoon brushes, and the live paint bucket. We will be doing some basic coloring with effects. We will add on flat color using Live Paint Bucket.

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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 can 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 stroke weight to adjust the thickness in areas to support the character and light source.

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.

adobe illustrator cartoon brushes
STEP #1: DOWNLOAD BRUSHES. Many of you are jumping over from YouTube looking to download our Cartoon and Illustrator Brush Libraries. Our (Updated) 200 Adobe Illustrator Brushes are specifically designed for Illustrators and Cartoonists to speed up their workflows. You can download our 200 Adobe Illustrator Brushes to follow along with the Tutorials or use them with Your Own Vector Artwork.
STEP #2: EXTRACT FOLDERS. The first step will be to download and extract the Resource Folders. The Folders will come as a Zipped Folder on Teachable. Once you have Downloaded and Extracted the Folders, they are ready to be used in Adobe Illustrator. Follow Along with our Resource Guides and Tutorials to practice applying and editing Brushes + Halftones + Textures.
STEP #3: FOLLOW ALONG. If you are following along on YouTube, I recommend starting with our 100 Adobe Illustrator Beginner Tutorials Playlists. This playlist will focus on Building Tools, Applying Brushes, Editing Options, and Basic Coloring Techniques. *I have included our Resources to follow along with the 100 Tutorials Playlist on YouTube and 50 Step by Steps on the Website. 

DOWNLOAD BRUSHES

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Adobe Illustrator Brush Libraries include our 70 Cartoon, 100 Comic Strip, and 50 Vintage Mascot Brushes

DOWNLOAD BRUSHES
70 Adobe Illustrator Cartoon Brushes specifically designed for Cartoonists and Illustrators who are looking to speed up their workflows. Use Cartoon Illustrator Brushes with the Pen, Pencil or Paint Brush Tools to Apply different Line Variation to your Vector Artwork. Includes 70+ Cartoon Brushes (libraries include the Updated Cartoon, Cartoon 2, and Original Cartoon Brush Libraries).
DOWNLOAD BRUSHES
100 Hand Painted + Comic Strip Brushes to get a lived in feel back into your Vector Art. Comic Strips and Hand Painted are painted based on some of my favorite artists and cartoonists. These brushes are designed to look ready for the Sunday Paper. Includes 100+ Brushes (libraries include the Updated Comic Strip, Hand-Painted, Paintbrush, and Fine Liner Brush Libraries).
DOWNLOAD BRUSHES
50 Jittery Hand, Caffeinated Cartoonist + Rough Ink Brushes to Mimic Paper Bleed and Caffeine. Designed to be a little less stiff with your vector art. Use these Brush Libraries to get more of a distressed look or ink bleed back in your own Vector Artwork with heavy ink and a little more wobble. Includes 50+ Brushes (libraries include the updated Caffeinated Cartoonist, Rough Ink, and Jittery Hand Brush Libraries).
ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR

BRUSHES + RESOURCES

OR DOWNLOAD RESOURCE BUNDLE

STEP #1: Download the Adobe Illustrator Halftone Folder. Downloading our textures is a straightforward process. All you have to do is Download and Extract All before using in Adobe Illustrator. Our Halftone Patterns are Adobe Illustrator Documents, so there is not any fancy way of opening up the file. Just double-click directly from the Folder or Open from Adobe Illustrator.
STEP #2 Copy-Paste Halftones into a Working Artboard: The goal of this step is to get the Halftones into your design so they populate into your Swatches. All you have to do is Copy and Paste them over into the Artboard you are currently working on. The Halftones will automatically populate into the Swatches Panel for use.
STEP #3: Apply Halftone using Basic Fills, Blob Brush, or the Knife Tool. The Halftones will act just like any other Color Swatch. You can simply Select a Shape to apply a basic Fill. If you are new to Adobe Illustrator, I will recommend using the Live Paint Bucket to apply your Flat Color Layer first. The next step will be to duplicate the color layer to apply Halftones.
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Free Bonus: I have included the  Anchor Point and Tablet Friendly Guides (as a Free Bonus) to Follow Along with the 50 Step by Steps on the Website or the 100 Beginner Tutorials Playlist on YouTube to Learn the Basics of Building, Applying Brushes, Editing, and Coloring in Adobe Illustrator. Follow Along with the Tutorials or use the Brushes with Your Own Artwork.

ILLUSTRATOR RESOURCES

HOLIDAY SALE: EXTRA $25 OFF OUR ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR RESOURCE BUNDLE
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200 ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR BRUSHES. Our (Updated) Adobe Illustrator Brush Libraries are specifically designed for Illustrators and Cartoonists to speed up their workflow. I have recently added more brushes and updated the Brush Libraries to allow for Pressure Sensitivity. Follow Along with the Tutorials or Use them with Your Own Artwork. Brush Libraries include our 70 Cartoon, 100 Comic Strip, and 50 Vintage Mascot Brushes.
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70 ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR HALFTONES + PATTERN FILLS. Our Halftones and Patterns Fills are designed for easy application even if you are new to Adobe Illustrator. Halftone Fills behave the same as a Color Swatch so you can apply them quickly using the Blob Brush, Live Paint, or Basic Fills. Simply Paint in Halftones into your own Illustrations and Comics. Halftones include our Comic Strip Halftone Fills, Pattern Fills, and Halftone Value Scales.
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400 ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR BMP TEXTURES. Our BMP Textures are extremely easy to use even if you are a beginner to Adobe Illustrator. Simply File-Place the Textures over your finished artwork to use with the Transparency Panel for soft overlays. Use BMP Textures along with Opacity Masks for T-Shirt Distressing. BMP Textures include our 145 Cracks, 120 Grunge Distressing, 75 Paper, and 77 Paint Splatter Textures.
ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR

BRUSHES + 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 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. 

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