Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

The evolution of vector drawing

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: The evolution of vector drawing

When Illustrator was first introduced way back in 1987, it revolutionized art creation. However, Illustrators' primary drawing tool, the Pen tool, was far from intuitive. In fact, the joke around Adobe at the time was that John Warnock, the creator of Illustrator, was the only person in the world who really knew how to use the Pen tool. Illustrator even came bundled with a VHS videotape featuring John Warnock showing how to use the tool. But here's the crazy thing: we don't even draw with the Pen tool at all. Instead of drawing actual paths, we plot anchor points and adjust control handles to determine shapes.

The evolution of vector drawing

When Illustrator was first introduced way back in 1987, it revolutionized art creation. However, Illustrators' primary drawing tool, the Pen tool, was far from intuitive. In fact, the joke around Adobe at the time was that John Warnock, the creator of Illustrator, was the only person in the world who really knew how to use the Pen tool. Illustrator even came bundled with a VHS videotape featuring John Warnock showing how to use the tool. But here's the crazy thing: we don't even draw with the Pen tool at all. Instead of drawing actual paths, we plot anchor points and adjust control handles to determine shapes.

Illustrator then connects the points for us and creates the paths. It's almost like pulling strings to make a marionette weave a tent. In essence the Pen tool is more of technical drafting tool than it is a creative drawing tool, and that could be why some folks who feel comfortable sketching their ideas on paper have difficulty when first working with the Pen tool. But there's a whole lot more to drawing in Illustrator besides the Pen tool. Over the years Adobe has added new drawing tools and functions, all geared towards helping you draw more quickly, more precisely, and ultimately more efficiently.

The Pencil and Paintbrush tools, along with some supporting tools like the Smooth tool and the Path Eraser tool, made it possible to draw paths instead of points. Support was added for pressure sensitive tablet such as Wacom devices, enabling designers to draw in a more natural fashion with a pen instead of struggling with a computer mouse, and in addition to the traditional Rectangle and Ellipse tools, more primitive shape tools like line, arc, polygon, star and spiral were added. However, designers were still required to focus on anchor points and control handles, often adding and removing anchor points manually or spending hours of valuable time cutting paths with the Scissor tool and joining them with the Average and the Join commands.

So perhaps the biggest change in drawing came when Adobe introduced the set of functions called Pathfinder. A whole new paradigm that combined art and math by drawing basic overlapping shapes and performing mathematical functions like add, subtract and divide,, you're able to create more complex shapes faster than ever. Better still the resulting shapes that you created were more precise and easier to edit and in short, Illustrator's focus started to shift from drawing artwork to building artwork.

Now in Illustrator CS2, Adobe introduced something called Live Paint, a feature that changed the rules for how vector graphics work. Live Paint offered a set of features that allow designers to focus on the visual artwork itself rather than on the underlying anchor points or control handles. In Illustrator CS4, Adobe added the Blob Brush and the true vector Eraser tool, making it easier for artists with pressure sensitive tablets to draw more fluid and expressive artwork. In Illustrator CS5, Adobe added the Shape Builder tool. This built on the concepts that were established with both Pathfinder and Live Paint and in addition, Adobe extended the power of creative expression with support for variable width strokes.

Certainly, the Pen tool in Illustrator wields considerable power and if you can master it, then you could make Illustrator bend to your every will. But the Pen tool isn't the end-all and that's what this course is all about. Putting all of Illustrator's drawing tools and powerful features at your disposal and understanding how to think about your artwork before you create it will ultimately help you create artwork cleanly, precisely, and efficiently, freeing up more time for creativity and exploration.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. The evolution of vector drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      27s
  2. 39m 2s
    1. Plotting points vs. drawing paths
      5m 36s
    2. Drawing artwork vs. building artwork
      7m 59s
    3. The keyboard shortcuts you HAVE to know
      8m 52s
    4. Groups and layers really do matter
      3m 11s
    5. Taming Smart Guides and the Bounding Box
      10m 53s
    6. Do you need a drawing tablet?
      2m 31s
  3. 47m 51s
    1. To sketch or not to sketch?
      2m 32s
    2. Setting up a template layer for your sketch
      3m 37s
    3. Optimizing default settings for drawing
      5m 27s
    4. Using the primitive shapes tools
      5m 7s
    5. Mastering the modifier keys
      2m 8s
    6. Mastering the transform tools
      6m 37s
    7. Creating curves with the Reshape tool
      6m 44s
    8. Using the Smooth tool
      3m 35s
    9. Using Simplify to create smooth paths
      3m 2s
    10. Recording an action for the Simplify command
      5m 2s
    11. Mirroring art for speed and accuracy
      4m 0s
  4. 50m 18s
    1. Deconstructing the Pathfinder panel
      1m 56s
    2. Using the Shape Modes functions
      12m 4s
    3. Using the Pathfinder functions
      13m 4s
    4. Understanding how compound shapes work
      11m 45s
    5. Understanding why compound shapes exist
      7m 32s
    6. Exploring additional Pathfinder options
      3m 57s
  5. 52m 51s
    1. Why Live Paint was created
      10m 45s
    2. Creating a Live Paint group
      4m 21s
    3. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      7m 8s
    4. Using Live Paint with open paths
      5m 6s
    5. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      3m 42s
    6. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      5m 34s
    7. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      6m 28s
    8. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 59s
    9. Understanding how Live Paint works
      6m 48s
  6. 27m 37s
    1. Why the Shape Builder tool was created
      4m 18s
    2. Focusing on the big three: Add, Subtract, and Divide
      2m 27s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool to add and subtract artwork
      9m 50s
    4. Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork
      3m 48s
    5. Building and coloring artwork at the same time
      3m 50s
    6. Using Gap Detection with the Shape Builder tool
      3m 24s
  7. 23m 2s
    1. Understanding how variable widths work
      8m 25s
    2. Modifying width points along a path
      7m 9s
    3. Saving time with width profiles
      5m 14s
    4. Turning variable width strokes into filled paths
      2m 14s
  8. 28m 21s
    1. Understanding how the Pen and Pencil tools differ
      4m 41s
    2. Adjusting the behavior of the Pencil tool
      7m 5s
    3. Using the Path Eraser tool
      1m 17s
    4. Drawing with the Calligraphic Brush tool
      5m 43s
    5. Drawing with the Blob Brush tool
      5m 53s
    6. Using the Eraser tool
      3m 42s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Looking at the VectorScribe plug-in
      2m 16s
    2. Next steps
      1m 28s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.