In this Adobe Illustrator CC Wacom Tablet tutorial we will be going through how to use the pencil tool. This will be another option to your tablet workflow that is extremely user friendly since we are turning up are smoothing very high. We will be practicing joining paths to maintain our sharp corners in this easy to follow tutorial.
The pencil tool is one of the easier tools to use and master with the tablet. It comes with a lot of other tools in the sub menu to help you out, but the main settings are enough with smoothing and keep selected on.
We will be keep selected turned on so we can join paths that are next to each other, especially corners. Just note that you can still join paths in the same manner but you just have to select them first to get the join icon by your pencil.
The keep sected is great for joining and corners but it does come with its issues if you don’t want paths to join. So a little trouble shooting is zoom in enouth to see the start and finish of each stroke. I also go long with strokes to avoid unnecessary joining and to allow for line variation later.
Pencil Tool Options
Here are some of the Pencil Tool Options that I recommend. I will go through some of them so you can modify them depending on your drawing style.
The first slide bar is the Fidelity or Smoothing setting. This one is great for those of you who want to go fast and hate hitting Control/Command + Z (undo) all the time in other programs. This will clean up the line as you draw and will remove unnecessary anchor points.
The main 2 Options that I want to cover is the Keep Selected and Edit Selected Paths down at the bottom. This is so we can edit and join as we go. The ability to join helps a lot and allows us to get back corners that the smoothing will potentially round out. Notice the bottom and the within 0 (zero) pixels. This will remove the rewrite or auto correct which is pretty frustrating if you don’t want it.
Most of the tablet settings that I can adjust have been turned off or disabled. All of the short cuts will come from the keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator not the tablet. If you have a rather large tablet that you can’t reach your keyboard then I would set up your Express keys.
Turn your smoothing (fidelity) all the way up. This will keep your lines extremely smooth. I would also have the fills turned off. The keep selected box will be on for this tutorial since we are working on joining paths, especially sharp corners.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.