BEGINNER GUIDE

PEN TOOL TUTORIALS

ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR TUTORIALS

NEW VISITOR GUIDE TO FOLLOWING ALONG

PEN TOOL TUTORIALS

Pen Tool is usually a design or a control decision. It can be frustrating for beginners and there are faster ways of getting down your paths. The Pen Tool is for those of you who hate Anchor Points and want as few of them as possible.

CONTROL ANCHOR POINTS

Your new favorite thing in the entire world will be corners. You know exactly where to place your anchors. The Tutorials and Challenges have come with Anchor Point Guides to start training your eyes on where and why we place Anchors Points.

JASON TROUBLESHOOTING

The Pen Tool can be frustrating to Learn if you are a beginner and New to Adobe Illustrator. The 1st Tip is to Slow Down. Many of you will be like myself who started from Adobe Photoshop and will quickly realize (if you haven't already) that Adobe Illustrator is annoying.
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PEN TOOL

Pen Tool is usually a design or a control decision. It can be frustrating for beginners and there are faster ways of getting down your paths. The Pen Tool is for those of you who hate Anchor Points and want as few of them as possible.

CONTROL = FOCUS

Your new favorite thing in the entire world will be corners. You know exactly where to place your anchors. The Tutorials and Challenges have come with Anchor Point Guides to start training your eyes on where and why we place Anchors Points.

USING PEN TOOL

The nice part of the Pen Tool Workflow is it is it have a high level of control, but there are some little hacks if you know how to use the tools together. As you are going through the Workflows, compare and contrast to your own artwork so you can start to select the coloring and value methods that best match your own design style.

Pen Tool Focus

I am going to walk you through my ease of use workflow for those of you who are new to the Pen Tool. The Pen Tool does have a learning curve so go in order of the Units to develop the skills and knowledge before advancing. The main focus is control over your anchor points when placing them. 

  • Great for Professional Logos and Designs
  • Best for Controlling Anchors
  • Great for High Control 
  • Not great for Speed or Efficiency
  • Longer Learning Curve than Tablet

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.

FOLLOW ALONG

We will go through a complete workflow using pen tool, brushes, and coloring. We will be doing some basic coloring with live paint bucket which is my favorite to teach beginners who are familiar with the same tool in Adobe Photoshop to complete this step by step tutorial. There are easy ways of approaching the pen tool. Start with straight lines and only look for changes in direction.

PEN TOOL TUTORIALS

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).

CONTROL ANCHOR POINTS

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.

Step by Step Pen Tool Tutorial

Beginner Top Tips

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.

Adding Line Variation with Brushes

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

Adding Color with Live Paint

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.

FULL LIBRARY OF 100+

STEP BY STEPS

VIEW FULL LIBRARY
Top notch video as usual man. Cheers!Made by Mighty
I really love your channel, thanx for your tutorial really helpful 🙂 Sara Abdalla • 1 year ago
First time dive into Illustrator. This was great, learned a ton! ThanksPhilippe Lachenal
Such a cool drawing ! My favorite in this series !!!! Espermaschine • 1 year ago
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
Great job Jason, you make it look so easy. And it actually was. Thumbs up!Little Richard • 5 months ago
That was a fun tutorial. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for such a detailed, easy to follow tutorial! Daniel Huckabay • 1 year ago
Love your video thanks so much. you blow Lynda.com out of the water!!!!Steve Yensel
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
Keep up the good work Jason. I’ve been doing Lynda.com tutorials for a few months now and I got more out of your videos than what I’ve received at Lynda. Keep it up and Thank You!!bobby jacobs • 1 year ago
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
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
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