Pen tool is one tool that is something which got me hooked since the last summers. I don’t think that there is any designer who does not like it. There has to be a reason for such a big fan base. The reason that I can think of is that it allows you to trace out pretty much everything. Vectors, Clip arts, SVGs, Posters and Illustrations are few of the areas where Pen tool is used. But it can be a daunting task to get a hang of it. So let us learn how to unravel the full potential of the holy grail of designers, the fabled pen tool.
First let’s get some inspiration to learn it. Here are some of the illustrations I made using pen tool which I learned in a few weeks (so it doesn’t have to be a time consuming process for you)
Find out more of my Illustrations at my Behance profile by clicking here.
The best way to learn pen tool is to trace out the letter ‘S’ of English language as it has a curve of almost all possible slopes. So let’s start one step at a time:
1. First go to the text tool and select any sans serif font(the ones who do not have that little thingy at the end of the corners) for eg. Calibri, and type in the letter ‘S’.
2. Click on the pen tool icon (yes you guessed it right, it is in the shape of a pen). There are two ways to create a trace point (the point that will define your traced path). First you perform a single click and then move your mouse and then perform one more single click. This will result in a solid straight path with no possibility of changing the curvature.
3. Secondly, there is one more way that allows you way more freedom, perform the click and drag the mouse. You’ll see two more points appearing on the either side of your tracking point, these are called Anchor Points. These anchor points allows you to manipulate the curvature of your path to fit your desired tracing path.
4. Now let’s get started by selecting the Type tool and typing the letter ‘S’ on to the Layer 1 as you can see in the image below. Lock this layer so that you don’t accidently move it. Add one more layer by clicking the icon on the left of the ‘trash’ icon.
Now go back to all points and edit them individually using Direct Selection either by clicking the anchor point and pressing alt button or by splitting the point into two using that little circle with the dot thingy.
That’s about it, now you know almost everything required to trace out any possible curve in the world using pen tool. Go on! and create awesome vector graphics, clip arts and line drawings and DFTBA!
This blog is inspired from this great YouTube video by Matt Brochert