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Drawing with the Pencil tool

From: Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

Video: Drawing with the Pencil tool

Practice makes perfect when using the Pen tool but don't forget there are plenty of other tools inside of Illustrator as well. Let's focus on the Pencil tool. Once again we'll start with just a blank document here. I'm going to go to just the welcome screen here and choose to create a brand-new print document, one artboard. A nice clean canvas to use right here. And I'll move over to my my Tools panel here and choose the Pencil tool. Now the reason why I like to talk about the Pen tool and the Pencil tool in context is because they're actually exact polar opposites of each other. Remember, what was the key take away that we spoke about when we were using the Pen tool? The Pen tool plots anchor points and the paths are drawn automatically in between them based on where you position those anchor points and based on the types of anchor points you create, be they corner anchor points or smooth or combination points. However, with the Pencil tool you do the exact opposite. The Pencil tool allows you to draw more along the same lines as you would use a regular pen or pencil on a piece of paper. You basically click and drag and create the path that you want to create. When you release the mouse Illustrator goes ahead and figures out where to plot the anchor points. So you don't have to make the anchor points; you just draw the path the way that you want it to be. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? I mean why go through the whole kind of backwards thinking process of plotting where the anchor points go and then worrying about what types of anchor points to create, when hey, Illustrator is a computer. Let it figure all that out. Let me just drawn the path that I want. Well the difference is that really while that is true, you don't have the same level of control with the Pencil tool that you might have with the Pen tool. And that's simply because there's a disconnect between what you're drawing on a computer screen and the mouse in your hands and now it happens to be that I'm also using a Wacom tablet at the moment, which allows me to have more of a fluid kind of drawing where I wanted to actually draw things in this particular way if I wanted to. I can, let's say, draw a tic- tac-toe board, so on and so forth. I'll actually go ahead and just hit Command+ A or Ctrl+A and just delete everything for now just so I can clear the board. And I can draw shapes like this, whatever it is that I'm working on. So no reason why I couldn't go ahead and create any kind of wonderful things. The problem though is that when I'm working with the Pencil tool, notice I have that little X again? The same for the Pen tool. That means I'm ready to start drawing a new path. But remember, how how that little O identified me drawing a close path? Well, it's very hard to draw closed paths with Pencil tools , because it's hard to get back to that exact same spot and if you do so, you lose a little of that fluid motion that you would normally want have in an illustration. So for example, if I wanted to draw some kind of closed shape, I would start by kind of drawing a shape like this and coming back here and having to really get close and then see where that particular circle was and it would be hard for me to find that. So it would also be hard to draw maybe perfect triangles or rectangles or other kind of shapes, because I'm just going by however my hand is. If you're not using a straight edge and you just have a regular pencil on a piece of paper I mean, how straight of a line are you going to draw? So there is a difference or I would say there are benefits and pros and cons to using the Pen tool versus the Pencil tool. The Pencil tool does has some really nice things inside of it. Let me show you what I mean. So I'm just going to select all this and delete this.

Drawing with the Pencil tool

Practice makes perfect when using the Pen tool but don't forget there are plenty of other tools inside of Illustrator as well. Let's focus on the Pencil tool. Once again we'll start with just a blank document here. I'm going to go to just the welcome screen here and choose to create a brand-new print document, one artboard. A nice clean canvas to use right here. And I'll move over to my my Tools panel here and choose the Pencil tool. Now the reason why I like to talk about the Pen tool and the Pencil tool in context is because they're actually exact polar opposites of each other. Remember, what was the key take away that we spoke about when we were using the Pen tool? The Pen tool plots anchor points and the paths are drawn automatically in between them based on where you position those anchor points and based on the types of anchor points you create, be they corner anchor points or smooth or combination points. However, with the Pencil tool you do the exact opposite. The Pencil tool allows you to draw more along the same lines as you would use a regular pen or pencil on a piece of paper. You basically click and drag and create the path that you want to create. When you release the mouse Illustrator goes ahead and figures out where to plot the anchor points. So you don't have to make the anchor points; you just draw the path the way that you want it to be. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? I mean why go through the whole kind of backwards thinking process of plotting where the anchor points go and then worrying about what types of anchor points to create, when hey, Illustrator is a computer. Let it figure all that out. Let me just drawn the path that I want. Well the difference is that really while that is true, you don't have the same level of control with the Pencil tool that you might have with the Pen tool. And that's simply because there's a disconnect between what you're drawing on a computer screen and the mouse in your hands and now it happens to be that I'm also using a Wacom tablet at the moment, which allows me to have more of a fluid kind of drawing where I wanted to actually draw things in this particular way if I wanted to. I can, let's say, draw a tic- tac-toe board, so on and so forth. I'll actually go ahead and just hit Command+ A or Ctrl+A and just delete everything for now just so I can clear the board. And I can draw shapes like this, whatever it is that I'm working on. So no reason why I couldn't go ahead and create any kind of wonderful things. The problem though is that when I'm working with the Pencil tool, notice I have that little X again? The same for the Pen tool. That means I'm ready to start drawing a new path. But remember, how how that little O identified me drawing a close path? Well, it's very hard to draw closed paths with Pencil tools , because it's hard to get back to that exact same spot and if you do so, you lose a little of that fluid motion that you would normally want have in an illustration. So for example, if I wanted to draw some kind of closed shape, I would start by kind of drawing a shape like this and coming back here and having to really get close and then see where that particular circle was and it would be hard for me to find that. So it would also be hard to draw maybe perfect triangles or rectangles or other kind of shapes, because I'm just going by however my hand is. If you're not using a straight edge and you just have a regular pencil on a piece of paper I mean, how straight of a line are you going to draw? So there is a difference or I would say there are benefits and pros and cons to using the Pen tool versus the Pencil tool. The Pencil tool does has some really nice things inside of it. Let me show you what I mean. So I'm just going to select all this and delete this.

I'm going to go over to the Pencil tool right here for a second, select it. I'm going to draw a shape like this. Well, watch this. I'm going to simply start drawing on top of it and go this way and you see how it modified that path? I'm using a Wacom tablet right now, but I'm basically moving my pencil basically over the shape. See how the X disappears when I get close? And now when I click and I say drag this way, see how it curves and modifies that path? Well, think about how real artists used pencils on paper. They start sketching very lightly because they want to get just a basic idea of a shape. Then they start darkening the lines when they get the shape that they like. well, in a digital way this is kind of somewhat close where I draw a shape, maybe I'm not that happy with it. I want to modify it somewhat. So I could just simply draw again over here and basically kind of make sure that I'm either smoothing it out or that I'm drawing the shape that I really wanted that particular shape to be.

This is really a nice feature that exists with the Pencil tool. So you can start drawing a shape and then continue to draw it until you're happy with what you get. I will say though there's certain times, let's say I want to create a new path, kind of like a branch of a tree that branches out this way. Well when I click and I drag, it modifies that path. I didn't want to do that. So what I would need to do is hold on the Command key, deselect the path, then click to drag a new past because that feature only works when you're working with a path that's already selected. Well, if you double-click on the Pencil tool itself, you'll see that there's some Pencil Tool Options. Fidelity basically allows you to control how smooth or how well the anchor points are defined when you're drawing that path. The Smoothness also allows you to-- let's say you have a a very jittery kind of hand or you're using a mouse, then as you you draw the path, Illustrator has like this stabilization kind of feature where it smoothes out the path so it doesn't look as jittery. But I also have an option here called Keep Selected and Edit Selected Paths. Now I'll tell you that I liked that feature called Edit Selected Paths because it allows me to simply redraw or modify a path as I'm drawing it, but like I said before it does get in the way at times. So what I do is I uncheck the Keep Selected feature. That way when I draw a new path it's no longer selected so I can go ahead and draw new shapes out that way. If I decide, you know, I don't like the way that one looks, I'll hold down the Command key. Remember the Command key is the keyboard shortcut that temporarily returns me to the last Selection tool that I was using. I'll now click on that and now that I've selected it, now I can draw over it and I can modify it. Now I will just Command-click off of it to continue drawing more again. So how I'll use the Pen tools. The Pencil tool's great. It's a wonderful feature, but I wouldn't rely on it as being the tool to use. The Pen tool is still going to be far more important especially when we talk about editing existing files. So if you can, if you do have a Wacom pen though, by the way, some kind of pressure-sensitice tablet, then the Pencil tool does take on a new meaning. It does become more readily available as a tool for sketching and drawing. But at the same time, remember if you have a mouse, it could be little bit difficult to get that translation or that feel of actually drawing on a computer screen. We will explore later on in our title a feature inside Illustrator called brushes or the Paintbrush tool, which can allow us to extend this way of drawing to a whole new level. But for now you have a basic understanding of what the Pen tool does inside of Illustrator and what the Pencil tool does inside of Illustrator and again, the main differences between them here is that the Pen tool allows you to plot anchor points and the Illustrator figures out where the paths go; the Pencil tool allows you to draw paths and then Illustrator figures out where the anchor point out. So it's an either/or kind of thing. You give up some level of power, but you get some level of fluid motion with the Pencil tool that you don't get with the Pen tool. The beautiful thing is that both tools are available to you. You don't have to only use one or the other but choose what times it's best to use the both of them together.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 48859 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 59s
    1. Welcome
      59s
  2. 33m 17s
    1. Why use Illustrator?
      2m 22s
    2. What are vector graphics?
      8m 4s
    3. Understanding paths
      4m 13s
    4. Fill and Stroke attributes
      5m 32s
    5. Selections and stacking order
      8m 31s
    6. Isolation mode
      4m 35s
  3. 23m 43s
    1. The Welcome screen
      1m 11s
    2. New Document Profiles
      4m 36s
    3. Using multiple artboards
      7m 17s
    4. Libraries and content
      3m 52s
    5. Illustrator templates
      2m 56s
    6. Adding XMP metadata
      3m 51s
  4. 43m 55s
    1. Exploring panels
      4m 18s
    2. Using the Control panel
      5m 25s
    3. Navigating within a document
      5m 27s
    4. Using rulers and guides
      5m 23s
    5. Using grids
      2m 12s
    6. Utilizing the bounding box
      3m 3s
    7. Using Smart Guides
      4m 59s
    8. The Hide Edges command
      3m 31s
    9. Preview and Outline modes
      2m 18s
    10. Using workspaces
      7m 19s
  5. 38m 3s
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 9s
    2. Drawing closed-path primitives
      7m 15s
    3. Drawing open-path primitives
      5m 5s
    4. Simple drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 28s
    5. Advanced drawing with the Pen tool
      10m 33s
    6. Drawing with the Pencil tool
      6m 33s
  6. 46m 37s
    1. Editing anchor points
      13m 7s
    2. Creating compound shapes
      5m 55s
    3. Utilizing Pathfinder functions
      5m 11s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      5m 37s
    5. Outlining strokes
      3m 24s
    6. Simplifying paths
      5m 41s
    7. Using Offset Path
      2m 43s
    8. Dividing an object into a grid
      1m 41s
    9. Cleaning up errant paths
      3m 18s
  7. 35m 23s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 4s
    2. Creating area text
      4m 19s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      6m 27s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 4s
    5. Creating text threads
      5m 28s
    6. Creating text on open paths
      5m 18s
    7. Creating text on closed paths
      3m 57s
    8. Converting text to outlines
      1m 46s
  8. 20m 15s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      7m 53s
    2. Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools
      6m 34s
    3. Selecting objects by attribute
      2m 38s
    4. Saving and reusing selections
      3m 10s
  9. 40m 35s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      6m 48s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      3m 26s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      7m 6s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      8m 9s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 48s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      6m 51s
    7. Copying appearances
      3m 27s
  10. 37m 15s
    1. Defining groups
      7m 2s
    2. Editing groups
      5m 28s
    3. Working with layers
      8m 10s
    4. Layer and object hierarchy
      6m 57s
    5. Creating template layers
      2m 3s
    6. Object, group, and layer attributes
      7m 35s
  11. 44m 4s
    1. Applying colors
      3m 18s
    2. Creating solid color swatches
      4m 48s
    3. Creating global process swatches
      5m 1s
    4. Using spot color swatches
      4m 27s
    5. Creating swatch groups and libraries
      6m 50s
    6. Working with linear gradient fills
      6m 34s
    7. Working with radial gradient fills
      2m 19s
    8. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      4m 51s
    9. Defining simple patterns
      5m 56s
  12. 22m 43s
    1. Moving and copying objects
      2m 1s
    2. Scaling objects
      4m 49s
    3. Rotating objects
      3m 14s
    4. Reflecting and skewing objects
      2m 27s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 9s
    6. Aligning objects
      5m 15s
    7. Distributing objects
      2m 48s
  13. 25m 13s
    1. Using a pressure-sensitive tablet
      1m 38s
    2. Using the Calligraphic brush
      6m 10s
    3. Using the Scatter brush
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Art brush
      2m 26s
    5. Using the Pattern brush
      3m 21s
    6. Using the Paintbrush tool
      1m 41s
    7. Using the Blob Brush tool
      3m 42s
    8. Using the Eraser tool
      2m 15s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Using symbols
      3m 9s
    2. Defining your own symbols
      2m 1s
    3. Editing symbols
      4m 4s
    4. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      2m 32s
    5. Using the Symbolism toolset
      4m 50s
  15. 35m 37s
    1. Minding your resolution settings
      6m 15s
    2. Applying basic 3D extrusions
      6m 43s
    3. Applying basic 3D revolves
      2m 31s
    4. Basic artwork mapping
      5m 9s
    5. Using the Stylize effects
      5m 35s
    6. Using the Scribble effect
      5m 43s
    7. Using the Warp effect
      3m 41s
  16. 21m 37s
    1. Placing images
      4m 51s
    2. Using the Links panel
      2m 47s
    3. The Edit Original workflow
      2m 0s
    4. Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
      5m 29s
    5. Rasterizing artwork
      1m 55s
    6. Cropping images with a mask
      4m 35s
  17. 10m 35s
    1. Saving your Illustrator document
      8m 18s
    2. Printing your Illustrator document
      2m 17s
  18. 6m 25s
    1. Exporting files for use in QuarkXPress
      1m 8s
    2. Exporting files for use in InDesign
      39s
    3. Exporting files for use in Word/Excel/PowerPoint
      45s
    4. Exporting files for use in Photoshop
      1m 25s
    5. Exporting files for use in Flash
      1m 15s
    6. Exporting files for use in After Effects
      19s
    7. Migrating from FreeHand
      54s
  19. 2m 23s
    1. Finding additional help
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      23s

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