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In this installment of the Illustrator Insider Training series, Mordy Golding shows how to draw vector artwork quickly, precisely, and efficiently—without having to think about technical concepts like anchor points or control handles. The course highlights intuitive drawing techniques using the Pathfinder functions, Live Paint groups, Shape Builder tool, and variable-width strokes. It also describes the sketching workflow and features in Illustrator that use pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, allowing designers to focus more on their creativity.
In the previous chapter we spoke about knowing certain keyboard shortcuts and how important those keyboard shortcuts are to working inside of Illustrator. Admittedly Illustrator is a complex program that has many different tools inside of it. However, when we're drawing we'll only need a certain number of those tools and more importantly we really need to focus on the artwork that we're creating, so we don't have time to keep glancing down the keyboard and try to find out where a certain key is. Perhaps the most important of all, the Modifier keys are incredibly important.
The Modifier keys are the Shift key, the Option key and the Command key on a Mac, if you are on Windows that would be the Shift key, the Alt key and the Ctrl key. These keys are called Modifier Keys because they change the behavior of how tools usually work. So it's incredibly important that your hand becomes familiar with these modifier keys, so that they just kind of happen automatically. This is even more so than the other keyboard shortcuts. Identify where the Shift, the Option and the Command keys are on a Mac or if you're on Windows, where the Shift, the Alt and the Ctrl keys are.
Position your hands over that part of the keyboard permanently. For example, I mouse with my right hand, so I'll have my right hand on the mouse, but my left hand will always be hovering over that lower left-hand corner of the keyboard right above the Shift, the Option and the Command keys. Now I also sometimes draw with a tablet it happens to be that I'm somewhat ambidextrous, so I actually draw with the pencil with my left hand. When I'm using the Wacom Tablet and I have the pen on my left hand I now have the right-hand focused on the right- hand inside of my keyboard, again mainly over the Shift and the Alt and the Ctrl keys on Windows or Shift, Option and Command when I'm using a Mac.
As a few exercises what you might want to do is close your eyes and press the Command key and close your eyes and press Option key and the Shift key and try to do this a few times that you're completely confident with these tools. Once you do that you will be able to focus much more on the artwork that you're creating than worrying about how to actually choose the tools to make it happen.
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