Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Drawing simple curves, part of Illustrator CC 2013 Essential Training.
Drawing curves with the pen tool is probably the scariest thing about it, and people just don't understand, exactly what the pen tool does, and that's why they get a little nervous. But in this movie hopefully I'll give you a breakdown of what the pen tool's actually doing as you're creating curve lines, to help you understand it a little better. So let's go to the file menu and choose new. Just accept the defaults to whatever type of document it has in there, and then grab your pin tool. You can do that by pressing the letter P on your keyboard. And so we know how to draw straight lines. That's fairly easy, you just click and click to draw a point.
But what if you want to draw a curve line? Well let me undo that Cmd or Ctrl+Z. And then as I'm drawing this out, watch what happens when instead of just clicking, I click and hold my mouse and start to drag. The interesting thing about curves with the pen tool is you have to drag the curve in the opposite direction you want it to go. And I think that's what is causing people to have almost like a fundamental disconnect. With this tool. They, they don't get you have to drag down to make the curve go up, or you have to drag up to make the curve go down.
It's just, it goes against what we think should happen, because we're used to drawing by hand so we think, okay, in order to draw an upward curve we move our hand up. Well not with the pen tool, you actually have to go in the opposite direction. So, in this case if I wanted to I could just draw this straight up, something like that, Make a curve. Now the other interesting thing here, is the preview of the pen tool is going to let me know exactly what this is going to do, if I were to draw another point right here. So I don't even have to make this curve, this second point. All I do is just click and it draws out that same curve that I just had which is pretty neat.
Now I can come here, and what I'm going to do is curve this out, something like that. Here's the part that kind of weirds people out. See how when I come back here what I want, I'm trying to draw a fish tail and I want it to curve back in ward a little bit, but when I try to make another point it thinks I'm making like a circle. So, how do I get it, by pressing Cmd or Ctrl+Z, how do I get it to make it do what I want it to do? Well you have to sort of educate the pencil on what you want to do here. So, I am going to cover this extensively when we talk about using the keyboard a little bit later on, but just for now, hold down the Option key on mac, the Alt key on PC and just click right here on this anchor point.
And you'll notice, one of the control handles goes away. That's just telling the pen tool, hey, for now, ignore the curve. Okay? I just want you to do what I want you to do. And so now, I can draw a curve. That goes in instead of out, just like that. I can continue this right around there, and then complete it right back over here, and I'll just click and drag to complete it. There we go. A nice little whale or fish or whatever you perceive it to be, but in any case, it's not that difficult to draw.
It's just a few clicks, and a few drags, and that's all that a curve is. It's just you coming to grips with the fact that you have to drag in the opposite direction that you want the curve to go, and then knowing how to make the pen tool behave how you want it to. That little alter option to click, that I did right here, people just aren't aware of that, so they don't understand how simple it is to just reset the pen tool and say you know what, I want you to do this instead. They just click, they see it do something funky, and then they think aw man I just can't do this. You can do this. It's really really simple.
You just have to know how it works before you get going.
First, author Justin Seeley explains the basic elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the program's powerful drawing tools. Then he shows how to create documents and liven up a project with color, plus build complex shapes from simple paths and trace bitmap images and line art. The course also explores the benefits of using layers and symbols, and shows how to edit text, draw in perspective, and much more. The final chapter explains how to output your work in several formats and use Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign.
- Understanding vector graphics
- Creating documents for different contexts
- Organizing artwork with rulers, guides, and grids
- Making detailed selections
- Resizing, rotating, and transforming objects
- Creating swatches and color libraries
- Working with fills and strokes
- Using the Shape Builder and Image Trace features
- Drawing and editing paths
- Understanding the difference between point and area type
- Adjusting the appearance of artwork with live effects
- Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 6/18/2014. What changed?
A: We revised chapters covering paths, working with type, and the Pen tool. These updates reflect changes to the Pen and Pencil tool behavior in the June 2014 update to Illustrator CC. These tools now offer greater fidelity and previews. We also added one new video, "Packaging your artwork for commercial print," which covers the enhanced packaging workflow.
Q: This course was updated on 10/13/2014. What changed?
A: We added tutorials to cover the most exciting changes to Illustrator CC 2014: the Join and Curvature tools and the all-new Design Libraries. These new movies are marked with the "(CC 2014.1)" tag.
Illustrator: Rethinking the Essentialswith Mordy Golding5h 7m Intermediate
What is Illustrator?1m 14s
1. Getting Started
2. Working with Documents
3. Selecting and Transforming Objects
4. Working with Color
5. Working with Fills and Strokes
6. Working with Paths
7. Creating Shapes
8. Don't Be Afraid of the Pen Tool
9. Using Type in Illustrator
10. Adjusting Appearance
11. Working with Layers
12. Working with Images
13. Creating and Using Symbols
14. Drawing in Perspective
15. Printing, Saving, and Exporting
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