Beginner Illustrator using Pen Tool Tutorial
In this beginner Illustrator tutorial we will be going through a cartoon workflow of using the pen tool for brushes, Live Paint for flat colors, the knife tool to create easy shadows, and transparent gradients to complete our character. Looking to Follow Along? Download our Brushes + Resources to Follow Along with our 50 Step by Steps on the Website or 100 Beginner Tutorials Playlist on YouTube.
Anchor Point Guides
Anchor point guides are designed to make life easier as you are learning where to place anchors and how to adjust handles.
Using the Pen Tool
We will be using our 2 step approach to the pen tool. The first is using straight lines to just get down our anchor points. We will then be using the convert anchor tool to create curves and handles.
Flat Color and Shadows
We will be adding flat color using Live Paint to build our flat color areas. We will add a light source by adding transparent gradients and cast shadows using the knife tool.
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.
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.
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.