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Drawing straight lines

From: Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

Video: Drawing straight lines

When using the Pen tool inside of Illustrator, you have the ability to draw both curved and straight lines. In this movie, I'll walk you through creating basic shapes with straight lines using the Pen tool. I'm going to create a new document by pressing Control+N or Command+N on my keyboard. Once that pops up, I'll just go ahead and commit to the defaults, and get my new document. Then I'll switch to the Pen tool by pressing the letter P on my keyboard. Once I've got the Pen tool, I'm now able to start making paths. In order to start drawing with the Pen tool, you have to click.

Drawing straight lines

When using the Pen tool inside of Illustrator, you have the ability to draw both curved and straight lines. In this movie, I'll walk you through creating basic shapes with straight lines using the Pen tool. I'm going to create a new document by pressing Control+N or Command+N on my keyboard. Once that pops up, I'll just go ahead and commit to the defaults, and get my new document. Then I'll switch to the Pen tool by pressing the letter P on my keyboard. Once I've got the Pen tool, I'm now able to start making paths. In order to start drawing with the Pen tool, you have to click.

Clicking once set your first anchor point. When you make another click, the Pen tool automatically draws a straight line between those two points. When I make another click, it continues to draw that straight line. Let me draw a completely closed path here to show you exactly how this works. I'll click right here to create another anchor point. Then I'll bring my cursor up the original anchor point. When you get back to the original anchor point that you started with, you should see a small circle appear at the bottom right corner of the Pen tool. This indicates that you're about to close a path.

Once you see that, you can click, and it will then close the path that you're drawing. Once you've done that, you can grab the Selection tool, and you can select the artwork. The artwork is now a full scalable vector object, just like any other path that you would've drawn with the Shape tool, or any of the tools inside of Illustrator. But with the Pen tool, you get the control over how the shape looks. You get to set that simply by clicking, and making the dots. I'm going to delete this to get rid of it, and now let's switch back to the Pen tool, and I'm going to show you how to constrain the Pen tool to draw at complete 90 degree angles.

I'm going to click right here to start my first point. Now remember before, I just arbitrarily clicked out here at the right, and the Pen tool automatically drew a straight line between those two points, but if I want this to be at a 90 degree angle from the same point I just drew, I hold down my Shift key on my keyboard, and then click. No matter where I click, it automatically draws that straight 90 degree line. Same holds true if I'm drawing downward. When I hold down the Shift key, I could click out here even, which is far off from the original point, and click; it would automatically create a 90 degree line, just like that.

Now let's go over, and I'll use my smart guides to find the intersection point, just like this. Now theoretically, if I clicked here, it would automatically draw the 90 degree line, but I'm going to hold the Shift key just be sure, and click. Then I'll close my path by coming right back up here, and I'll click one more time. Now I've drawn a completely straight rectangle, simply by holding down the Shift key with the Pen tool. I can then grab my Selection tool, make a selection, and remove it, resize it; do whatever I need to it. Now let's grab the Pen tool one more time, and let's try to draw out a star.

I'm going to start right here in the center of the document, and I'm just going to make a point by clicking. I'll then come down a little bit, and click somewhere around here. I'm then going to hold down my Shift key, because I want this to be a straight edge, and then I'll click. Then I'm going to come down, and I'll use my smart guides to determine exactly where I need to come down. Somewhere right along here; I'll click, and I'll come back down here. When I see the smart guide, I'll click again, click again, and I'm basically just drawing out a star, based upon these smart guides.

It's not going to be a perfect star, by any means. If I wanted to make this a straight line here, I could undo that, hold down the Shift key, and I can make a straight line. You'll see here that this is a little off center, and that's okay; we can fix that in just a moment. Then I'll go ahead and close the path by coming up here. So now I've drawn a basic star, and you might be thinking, well it doesn't look all that great, and that's very true; it doesn't. The great thing about the Pen tool is I have all of these anchor points, which I've set myself, which I can then modify by using the Direct Selection tool, to make it look more like a star.

Let's see exactly how that works. I'll grab the Direct Selection tool, and I'll click away from all the points. I'm then going to come down, and I'm going to select this point, and I'll hold down the Shift key, and select this point as well. I'm then going to use my arrow keys to just tap them up. Once it gets equal with that point, I can stop. Then I'll click away, and I'll come down here, and make a selection of this anchor point. If I needed to back this out a little bit to the left, I'll hold down my Shift key, and then tap my left arrow.

I might also need to move it up a little bit. I'll do the same thing for this side. Select this anchor point, I'll press my arrow keys to make sure that it goes out to the right space, and I'll move it up a little. So my star is looking better, but it's still not perfect. But you see how you can go in, and select those individual anchor points to make even the crudest of artwork look a little bit better. That's why I think people are so afraid of the Pen tool; they make a mistake, and they think it's unfixable, so they just start over, or they just throw it away altogether.

Every time you start to use the Pen tool, just stick with what you've drawn, and then utilize the anchor points and control handles that you're given to make that artwork look that much better. Getting used to drawing with the Pen tool is half the battle. Once you figure out how it works, then you're able to start editing those points, and making your artwork look even better.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 70183 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 26s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 6s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 27s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 17s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 36s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 31s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 8s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 33s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 11s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 21s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 5s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 7s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 18s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps
      56s

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