Adobe Illustrator Tutorial using Pen Tool

In Adobe Illustrator by Jason Secrest

EASY PEN TOOL

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, 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, Inner Glows and Drop Shadows to complete the step by step tutorial.

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.

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. 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.

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

GET BRUSHES

Coloring in Adobe Illustrator

Open the Swatch Window. On the bottom left hand corner you will see the Open Swatch Libraries icon. At the bottom of the drop-down menu you will see Open Other Library. Go to our resource folder in the Color Palettes folder to Open ASE files. The ASE files have been created to make your life easier while going through the Challenge Series. Once you open the Library- click on the folder icon next to the swatches to move them from the library to the swatches.

Live Paint

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 without having to use pathfinder. Once you are in Live Paint just point and click to create new shapes.

Advanced Coloring

If you are enjoying our Step by Step and Active Learning curriculum, I would consider the Tutorials + Challenges . This will give you access to the Full-Length Tutorials and Challenges including the Coloring and Value Steps.

(New) Active Learning

Well this is going to be awkward. I have been publishing (NEW) step by step content over the last year on our Teachable site. Our Premium Plus is all our (NEW) Tutorials + Challenges + Workflows, which is our library of 100+ Active Learning Tutorials + Pro Series.

FUN PLACES TO START

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You can Download + Install our Cartoon Illustrator Brushes. Watch Install Video.
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Follow Along to more Step by Step Tutorials and Challenges on the Website. These will focus on Building, Adding Brushes and Basic Coloring.
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There are 100 Full-Length Tutorials, Challenges and Workflows on Teachable. Follow Along to our Getting Started Guide.
LIBRARY OF 100+

ACTIVE LEARNING

GETTING STARTED GUIDE