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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.
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