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.


A lot of our top tips in the first video are relate directly to this initial step of the process. Make sure you are zoomed in and very deliberate with your mouse. Most beginner frustration when it comes to the pen and direct selection tool is that they are too rushed and impatient when clicking and dragging. This 2 step process is to simplify each step to get your lines and anchors down first. The coming back through and adjust the handles with the anchor point tool.

The first step is just connect the dots using the pen tool. The major thing to remember is that the pen tool will try to keep connecting your anchors. When you are done with a line segment click on the “P” key to reset and start a new line.

The second step is the use the anchor point tool “Shift C” to click and drag out your handles. Remember you can drag them out, while still holding down your mouse, and move them into the position. This is good to remember if you drag in the wrong direction. You can always click back on the anchor to reset the anchor point and start again.

Frustrations: When you are clicking and dragging out your handles using the anchor point tool, remember to switch back to your direct selection tool “white arrow” before trying to edit or move the handles or anchors. The frustration comes when you’re still on the anchor tool and it resets your curve back to a corner or breaks your smooth curve.

  • Tip 1: Zoom In!

    While working with anchors and handles make sure you are zoomed in enough to see the individual anchors and handles.

  • Tip 2: Smart Guides On!

    Have your smart guides turned on so you can see when the mouse is hovering over an anchor, path, or handle.

  • Tip 3: Don't Rush!

    Wait for smart guides to say path or anchor before dragging your mouse. The frustration comes with the direct selection tool and dragging out too quickly.

  • Tip 4: Switch back to Direct

    When you are clicking and dragging out your handles using the anchor point tool, remember to switch back to your direct selection tool “white arrow” before trying to edit or move the handles or anchors.

Adding on Line Variation using our Custom Cartoon Brushes

Our custom brushes are found in your resources folder. These brushes are designed to add on line variation to give your designs a professional feel. We will be using the Cartoon Brushes Tinted Library. To open your library, have your downloaded brushes ready. Open your brush window. At the bottom left their will be a brush libraries menu. Scroll down to the bottom to open “Other Library.” Find the location you saved your brushes to and open. The Cartoon Brushes should pop right on up.

Tapered Line

Check where each line segment in the design ends. If you notice that one or more of the ends are floating out in space, this is a good indication that this should be tapered.

Line Thickness

While you are checking the ends of each segment and notice that the line ends connected to another line, this is an indication that the line should get fatter.

Control over Brushes

Our anchor point guides have already been designed with the final line (which includes the brushes) in mind. If you are drawing your own design, pay attention to the length of each line segment for more control over thickness.

Creating Color Swatches

Open the whale color palette from our resource folder by “placing” the image on to a new layer. Open the swatch menu and drag it across so it is next to your fill and stroke Icons. Using the eyedropper select each on of the colors from the color palette and drag them into your swatches. Note there are more values than on the original color palette. Once you are done dragging over your colors move your swatches back over to your menu dock.

  • Blob Brush

    Just like a coloring book. Paint using the blob blush which create a shape rather than a stroke. You can adjust the size of your brush with the bracket keys [ ] .

  • Live Paint

    Unite all of your black lines. Select all. Object- Live Paint – Make. Using the live paint bucket tool fill in large enclosed areas with your base value swatch colors.

Blob Brush
If you like the ease of the blob brush keep it going through your shadows. You can create a new layer above your color layer and paint like a coloring book.

Knife Tool
Super easy and it avoids using pathfinder. Select the shape you want to cut and slice all the way through it. Note: Remember to deselect your shape and reselect your shadow shape before coloring.

Divide Pathfinder
Basically does the same as the knife tool, but it allows you to use pen or shapes for more control and smoother lines. Note: Remember to “ungroup” after pathfinder.


Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your tutorials. It’s one think to draw on paper, yet another to create artwork directly in Illustrator and yet again a completely different game to take hand drawn work into Illustrator. You’ve managed to make this process make sense and again, I thank you for your video tutorials, they’ve been a real godsend.jeremy rozen
First time dive into Illustrator. This was great, learned a ton! ThanksPhilippe Lachenal
Top notch video as usual man. Cheers!Made by Mighty
awesome tutorial.I have finally completed my first illustrator project!!!Thank you.Pirata Loco
I appreciate your videos. I have been an illustrator user for years and have my own ways of doing things. It’s great to see other ways of using tools and learning tricks I didn’t know were available! It’s also good to see you doing the same thing as me in other instances, confirming I’m on the right track!Andy Zenz
Awesome tutorial! I don’t think I’ve picked up something so easily from someone who knows what they are doing. I managed to draw my first vector art and it was a joy! Great work keep it up!blitz145
Very clear and easy tutorial, indeed. Thank you so much! I’ve learned a lot through this clip.Hailie Burgess
thanks dude your tutorials really helped a beginner like me, keep up the awesome work!!!Giovani Linton
Love your video thanks so much. you blow Lynda.com out of the water!!!!Steve Yensel
A hero amongst artists 🙂 perfect. Thank you!Payton Pellitteri
Brilliant video. So much great info packed in here. I’m just getting started drawing cartoons with my Wacom tablet, and this was a huge help. Thumbs up and thanks!Dorian Staten
Wow Thanks Jason…was really struggling with making images with basic shapes. Your tutorial is helping me out!!Kishor Rajani
thanks a lot you are really one of my favorites, I like the steps you give us, and I’m so thankful for that effort you do for helping us :)Wessam Lotfi
Thank you so much man, I loved the way you explain this, I spent days looking for a good tutorial vid, thanks a lot, gonna keep watching your videos!!!Karel Marccenaro
Wow and wow. Your tutorials are just fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing these. I had always wondered how someone got such lovely inked lines for a drawing in illustrator. Keep up the great workJason Crawford
These tutorials are amazing. Just started using illustrator and really glad I found your channel. The only videos that explain everything step by stepAida Stan
Jason, thank you for the amazing tutorials. Very elegant and rational art style and workflow! I’ll probably go and watch every single tutorial.

Also thank you for sharing your brushes and sketches. Very useful resources!Riste Sekuloski

keep it buddy, u make good tutorial for a beginner like me. so pls. make more of it. thks its so helpfullDORMAN
You are definitely one of the best teachers I’ve found dealing with start to finish creative process. Great work!!!Jasen Fisher
Thank you loads! Compared to other tutorials, yours are just really well-explained and easy-to-follow. Can totally see that you’ve got a passion for what you’re doing and that’s just wonderful! 🙂 Keep it up, you’re doing an amazing job. Yulia Kachurova