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Extending and connecting paths

From: Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC

Video: Extending and connecting paths

In this movie I'll show you how to extend and connect paths using the pencil tool.

Extending and connecting paths

In this movie I'll show you how to extend and connect paths using the pencil tool. So you can see that I've gone ahead and filled my heart, and I have given a thick stroke as well. I'm going to go ahead and select a pencil tool, which once again you can get by pressing the N key. And let's say I want to draw some sort of frills around my heart. I'll just go ahead and start drawing like so. And, then at any point you can release so you don't have to get the entire shape done in one drag, in other words. And I'll go ahead and double click on the pencil tool just so that you can see that by default, these three check boxes right here, the first one is turned off, so it doesn't automatically fill your shapes.

But if you were to carry it on, it would automatically fill your shape, so that's up to you. An then, notice that it goes ahead and keeps things selected. It goes ahead and keeps that last path selected, by default, which is a good thing because that way you can edit that selected path. So, you want to leave both these check boxes turned on, in my opinion. And then, this within thing is just how close do you have to be to a selected path in order to extend it. By default, that is six pixels. Probably don't need to change that.

So, I'll just go ahead and cancel out of here. And notice that if I move my pencil cursor near to that end point right there. Either the last end point or the first one, doesn't matter which. Then you'll see this little connect icon, so you have this little line next to the pencil cursor. I'm going to go ahead and drag from this last endpoint, like so, to extend my path. And then as soon as I release, I'll see that I've extended it and Illustrator's done a good job with smoothing out that rotten last lump.

That I drew right there, but you can see that I've got one continuous path outline. And now I'll just ahead and continue it down to about here let's say. Alright, now let's say I want to just draw in a completely different section of my artwork. If you see an asterisk next to your pencil tool cursor that tells you that you're going to start a new line. So, I'll just go ahead and drag over here, let's say in order to create some new lumps for my sort of lace pattern here. And notice this one came out kind of screwy.

Well, you can just go ahead and redraw a section if you like, just by drawing over it like so. And that ended up being actually better, even though it looked pretty bad. While I was drawing. Alright now let's say I want to extend some more, so I'll just go ahead and draw. Oh my gosh this is looking terrible. We'll see what Illustrator does with it. It may end up coming out miraculously or quite badly as I feared, but I'll just go ahead and drag along it like so in order to make things better. Sometimes, what's going to happen to you is you're going to kind of, completely redraw the path.

In which case if you run into that and it's pretty random, I'm not sure I can make it happen. But what you need to do is just press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that change and then just try again. And usually, you're going to have the best Luck. If you just try to redraw a little section, like so. Alright now let's say I want to connect my paths together. Well I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+A or Cmd+A on a Mac to select everything so that way everything is in play inside my artwork and you could see now I get the Connect Cursor when I position the pencil over that last end point.

And then I'll draw over to this other endpoint here, which is part of a different path, and notice that I get this little connect icon, but if I release, it's not that nothing happens, but I didn't end up connecting the path outlines. Why is that? Well, you need to have a key down, and that key is the Alt key here on the PC, or the Option key on a Mac, so I'll press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on a Mac, to undo that change. And I'll go ahead and redraw like so and then try to connect again but this time I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac.

I get this little line cursor. I'll explain what that's about in the next movie, and then I release and now you can see that I've gone ahead and connected things the way I wanted to. And now I'll go up to the top end point here, connect from it, like so, and try to close my path, this time because I'm closing the path outline, I've got that little O next to my pen tool cursor. This time I don't need to press the Alt or Option key. I can just go ahead and release. In order to get this effect here. And that, is how you both extend and connect selected open paths.

Drawn with any tool, incidentally, they don't have to be drawn with the pencil tool. Here inside Illustrator CC.

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Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC

20 video lessons · 7231 viewers

Deke McClelland
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