adobe illustrator pen tool snail

Easy Adobe Illustrator CC Tutorial for Beginners

In Adobe Illustrator, for Beginners, Tutorials by Jason Secrest

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial for Beginners: How to Apply Cartoon Brushes

In this Adobe Illustrator Tutorial we will be going through a simple process of inking using Shapes and the Pen Tool. Are main focus will be building in Adobe Illustrator so you can be applying the Tools and Settings, and then add on our Cartoon Brushes so you can Apply and Edit them using the Shape Builder Tool. In this Tutorial we will only cover the Shape Builder method and not the Eraser Tool. Looking to Follow Along? Download Brushes, Textures + Tutorial Resources

adobe illustrator pen tool snail
Vector from Rough Sketch

Rough sketch drawings are a little different since they do not include the line variation and have a little more wiggle room on where the final line will go. There is a little more editing as you add on the thickness to each line.

Getting Down Anchors

The goal is to get down your lines first. You will find that there is so much editing and moving of the initial anchors and handles that the placement of your anchor points should cause little stress.

Connect the Dots

We will be using our 2 step approach to using the pen tool. The first is using straight lines to just get down our anchor points. Look for the start and end of each line. If it breaks, curves, and changes direction put in an anchor.

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 snail

Plan your Line Variation

Step #1: Plan your out your Line Variation and Brushes before you start in Adobe Illustrator. If you didn’t, use the simple method of finding the floating ends of the line. This will signal the value change ended while you were drawing. This will be a tapered end of the line.

Match Taper to Brush

Step #2: Match the Brushes to the Line Variation. If you planned out your lines this step is much easier. Select the Brushes and Line Weight. There are 17 Brushes Libraries, this method will work on any of the cartoon brushes.

Expand All + Simplify

Step #3: Expand All. Object – Expand Appearance + Expand. You really only need to Expand the Strokes. Once the Brushes have been Expanded hit the selection with a Simplify Path. ( Object – Path – Simplify)

Edit Using Shape Builder

Step #4: Shape Builder Editing is your Friend. Hold down the Alt/Option to Delete. Hit all of the overlapping lines to clean up any of the extra lines. The full-version of the snail is on Teachable in our Active Learning Curriculum.




How to Color in Adobe Illustrator

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. 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 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. Click on the Live Paint Bucket (K) and Click to Dump Color. It will feel like the Paint Bucket in Adobe Photoshop. View Full List of 100 Step by Step Tutorials, Challenges and Tool-Based Workflows in our  Adobe Illustrator Active Learning Curriculum.

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Adobe Illustrator Resources


200+ Adobe Illustrator Brushes specifically designed for Illustrators and Cartoonists to speed up their workflows. Includes Cartoon Brushes, Jittery Hand, Caffeinated Cartoonist and Hand-Painted Brushes. Follow Along to the Tutorials on the or Use with your Own Artwork. Includes Tutorial Resources for the Website and YouTube. VIEW ILLUSTRATOR BRUSHES


Illustrator Resources include our 200 Brushes, 400 Textures and Tutorial Resources. Many of you are coming from YouTube and are looking for our Illustrator Resource Folder to Follow Along to the Tutorials or use with Your Own Artwork. Includes the Tutorial Resources to Follow Along on the Website and YouTube. VIEW ILLUSTRATOR RESOURCE BUNDLE


Our Active Learning Curriculum on Teachable includes all of our Tool-Based Workflows, Unit Blocks, 100 Full-Length Modules and Illustrator Resources. What we are going to do in our Getting Started Guide is catch you up on how to Download our Illustrator Resources, Select a Tool Based Workflow and Follow Along to our Learning Modules on Teachable*VIEW ACTIVE LEARNING CURRICULUM