Information on Drawing Modes in Illustrator

show more Understanding drawing modes provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Justin Seeley as part of the Illustrator CS6 Essential Training show less
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Understanding drawing modes

Before we get started drawing shapes inside of Adobe Illustrator, we need to make you aware of a couple of the different drawing modes that you have available to you in order to make you more efficient at creating your artwork. In this movie, I'll walk you through the various drawing modes, and show you how they can help you create artwork more efficiently by changing the stacking order, and even the appearance of your artwork as you go. I'm going to first zoom in on these circles down here at the bottom. These are what we're going to be working with throughout this exercise. As we know, inside of Illustrator, everything has a particular stacking order. As you draw new objects, they are set on top of the previous object that you drew.

So for instance, this circle here on the right is actually above this circle here in the stacking order. However, we have drawing modes inside of Illustrator that help us change the behavior of the way we draw. On the bottom of the tools panel, you'll see three buttons for Draw Normal, Draw Behind, and Draw Inside. You'll also notice when you hover over them that you get a keyboard shortcut, Shift+D, and you should commit that to memory, because as I work, I'm going to be using it a lot to switch drawing modes, and that way it makes it easier for me to do this without having to go over to the tools panel each and every time I want to switch modes.

So remember, switching drawing modes equals Shift+D, and that's Mac, or PC. You'll also notice that by default, only two of the drawing modes are active, and that's Normal, and Draw Behind. When Normal mode is selected, you simply draw new shapes, and they become the topmost shape in the stacking order. However, if you choose Draw Behind, you reverse that behavior, and the new shapes you draw automatically go behind either the current shape you have selected, or all of the shapes if you have nothing selected. Let's take a look.

I'm first going to grab a circle, and I'm just going to draw it out right above this one. Right now I'm in Normal drawing mode, so if I drew out a new circle, it would pop up right there on top of the other two. However, if I hold down the Shift key, and press the letter D, I jump into Draw Behind mode. So therefore, if I drew another circle, here, it goes behind this one, but since this was the active selection on the artboard, it goes in front of this one. If I have nothing selected, which I can do by holding down the Control key, and clicking out to the side, I can then draw one back here that goes behind all of the shapes.

So once I click away, you can see here, this is actually the last circle I drew, but it's on the bottom of the stacking order. This is the first circle I drew, but it's on the very top. And the second one that I drew is sandwiched in between these two. I did that simply by changing the drawing mode; Shift+D on my keyboard. Pretty neat! The last drawing mode is Draw Inside. Draw Inside allows you to actually place artwork within artwork, and by selecting a piece of artwork first, and then drawing inside of it, you actually clip the artwork that you draw within that shape.

Let me show you exactly what I mean by this. I'm going to select this piece of artwork here -- the circle on the bottom left corner -- and then I'm going to press Shift+D on my keyboard again. That's going to switch me into Draw Inside mode. When I switch into Draw Inside mode, you're going to notice that I get a bounding box all the way around my shape. I'm then going to zoom out a little bit, and I'm going to select this wacky star shape right up here at the top. When I select this star shape, I'm going to copy it to my clipboard using Command+C, or Control+C. Once I copy it, I'm then going to come back and click on the object that I'm drawing inside of.

I'll then press Command+V or Control+V to paste it in. When I do that, you're still going to see the overall shape. But if I switch out, and click away from it, watch how it clips that shape into the circle, just like so. If I switch back to Normal drawing mode, the bounding box goes away, but the shape remains just like this. I can still go in and edit the individual shapes as well by double-clicking to enter Isolation mode, and then selecting the circle. I could then switch this to a different color; I could also select the shape inside of it, and switch its color as well.

Then I can double-click to exit Isolation mode, and you see that I've created almost like a sunburst-like effect. Utilizing the drawing modes is a very important piece of drawing shapes inside of Illustrator. It makes it so much easier to create complex artwork with very little effort. So take the time and experiment with these drawing modes, and see what you can come up with.

Understanding drawing modes
Video duration: 4m 23s 8h 49m Beginner


Understanding drawing modes provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Justin Seeley as part of the Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

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