Pen Tool questions

in Mac Software edited January 2014
I have been trying to draw with the pen tool (as in illustrator) but haven't been getting very far. It seems somewhat confusing and I don't know how to use it.

Can someone please explain how it works and why it's considered to be the best tool?



  • Reply 1 of 8
    Well, it works better if you own a tablet rather than a mouse. It's like drawing with a pencil in photoshop, only, Illustrator converts your lines to paths. Thus, you can quickly sketch out something, and then tweak the paths,
  • Reply 2 of 8
    Well, I do have a wacom tablet, but I am still puzzled because I often do not know how to start a sketch. I've been playing around and trying to learn how it works by trial and error but I still don't understand.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Well, I don't know how well I will be able to explain this, but it would help if you don't think of it as a pen. That name is kind of misleading, because it acts nothing like an actual pen. What it does is makes lines and arcs by defining the end points and the curvature of the arc.

    To use it, you define the beginning point, and then the end point. Once you define the end point, move your mouse to determine how curved you want the line.

    After you draw the line, if you decide that it's not exactly what you want, you don't have to delete it. Use the "Direct Selection Tool" (The white arrow) to choose a point that you have made. You can then edit that point.

    I hope this made some sense. If not, let me know.

    Play around with it, you'll pick it up. I really do believe that it is better than the pencil tool (Although, I will admit that he pencil tool does work more like a pencil than the pen tool does a pen)
  • Reply 4 of 8
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    Also keep in mind once you create a point, those two lines you have jetting out of the point on an indicator of the direction and distance the line will want to naturally travel before it goes to your next point. So under the pen tool, of if you hit (option? maybe it's something else) you get a triangle thing that is missing a side. You can use this to modify those so that you have more control over the direction.

    With the direct select arrow (white) to modify one of those suckers, you have to deselect it, then select somewhere on the line, THEN a point you want to modify. I think this is stupid but what do I know, I just started using illustrator.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    I am wrong, I was thinking of a wholly different tool. I don't refer to it as the pen tool, I always call it the "the pathmaking thing".
  • Reply 6 of 8
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member

    Originally posted by LoCash

    I am wrong, I was thinking of a wholly different tool. I don't refer to it as the pen tool, I always call it the "the pathmaking thing".

    It's doesn't exactly make sense since that isn't how pens work

    You were thinking of the pencil tool?
  • Reply 7 of 8
    Well thanks a lot guys, it does make theoretical sense now.

    I need to go play around with it for a while, if I have more questions I'll come back.


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