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.


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.


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 Settings

The main reason we start with a 2 Step Approach is to teach anchor placement on curves, corners and changes in direction. Once that is mastered and you can see how the curves work with the handles the transition to doing it with the mouse drag and keyboard shortcuts becomes much more manageable and less frustration.

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.

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

There are a lot of issues with the Pen tool which makes it very frustrating for beginners to use from the start. However in this course, I have simplified the process to make it easy and much more manageable for beginners to learn with different phases of learning to get more comfortable and confident with the tool.


This is to have a high level of control over their anchors and handles as well as skip over any complications when expanding width profiles. The main difference you will see is building in shapes rather than the strokes. Think going around the outside of the brush rather than the middle which we do in the brushes and width profile examples.


Text + Mascots  + Logos: Pen Tool Workflows are great for control. I have modified my approach over the years since it makes it extremely easy to lay down the anchors and control the paths. Pay attention to the amount of anchor points = less is more. Try to limit the amount of anchor points as you are placing them.

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 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 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