Illustrator Basics: The Pen & Pencil Tools | Dylan Mierzwinski | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Illustrator Basics: The Pen & Pencil Tools

teacher avatar Dylan Mierzwinski, Illustrator & Lover of Flowers

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Placing Sketches


    • 5.

      The Pen Tool


    • 6.

      The Pencil Tool


    • 7.

      Quick Review


    • 8.

      Thank You!


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this Illustrator Basics course we'll be covering how to create shapes with two of my favorite tools in Illustrator: The Pen and Pencil tool. Whether your shapes are complex and controlled, or simple and free-form, the pen and pencil tool have you covered. Used in combination with various supporting tools like the direct selection tool, the anchor point tool, the smooth tool, and others, means no more frustration with trying to achieve the shapes you want. Say goodbye to wonky curves and novice looking illustrations!


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Dylan Mierzwinski

Illustrator & Lover of Flowers

Top Teacher

I'm an artist and educator living in Phoenix, Arizona, and my main mission here is to inspire you to fill up a sketchbook. And then to acquire another and do it again. You see, my sketchbooks have become a journal of my life as intimate as a diary; a place to meet myself on the page, to grow, to express, to enjoy myself, and to heal. And to commemorate my favorite snacks if I'm going to be so honest about it. It's the greatest thing ever, and all people deserve to dabble in creative practice.

In my time as a professional illustrator I've gotten to work with clients like Anthropologie, Magnolia, Martha Stewart, Red Cap Cards, Penguin Random House, and many more. As of this writing I've enjoyed teaching over 150k of you here on Skillshare, as well as many ... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi guys, I'm Dylan Mierzwinski, graphic designer and sewing enthusiast living in Phoenix, Arizona. In this Skillshare class, we're going to go over illustrators pen and pencil tool, my two favorite tools for drawing shapes. Let's get started placing those anchor points. 2. Class Project: For your class project, I want you to design your own magic potion bottle. I recommend starting on paper so you have reference lines to work from. But you can design as you go if that's how you like to work. Feeling stuck? Use my attached sketches to practice using the pen and pencil tool and don't forget to share your work. 3. Foundations: Let's touch on one of the most basic ideas in Illustrator. Each shape is comprised of anchor points. This square right here has four anchor points at each of the corners. The lines that connect these anchor points, creating the shape are called paths. Anchor points can be corner points as with the square, or they can have handles which control the curve of the path so this circle has four anchor points, each with handles to create curved lines. Lastly, paths can be opened or closed, with an open path having two endpoints, think of a line and a closed shape having no end points like this circle and square. With that under our belt, let's take a look at what that means for the pen and pencil tool and look more closely at how they're different and how they're the same. With the pen tool, you work on dropping anchor points resulting in created paths. Whereas with the pencil tool, you work on drawing the actual paths resulting in placed anchor points. In my opinion, the pen tool is easier to use with a mouse or track pad, but you can absolutely use it with a tablet too. Conversely, I think the pencil tool is easier to use with a tablet, but definitely not impossible with a mouse or track pad. Just a side note, the tablet that I use and have used for years is the smallest wacom bamboo model and it's worked like a charm. You don't have to invest in one of the more expensive ones if you're just not ready. Moving on, the pen tool is more of a manual shaped creating tool, which means you've got more control as you're drawing the shape. Where the pencil tool is more of an assisted shaped creating tool, which means there's a bit more ease as you're drawing your shape. However, both tools result in shapes that are fully editable and use the same supporting tools to help get the desired shape. When do you use which, this graph is not scientific or exact but as a basic thought process I follow for when I'm selecting which tool to use. Generally speaking, I start by looking at whether the shape I'm drawing as simple or complex. Are there lots of nooks and crannies, or is it closer to a basic geometric shape? Then I consider whether the shape is controlled or free form. Controlled shapes in my mind have corners of very precise line placement whereas free form shapes have more curves and general line placement. If we take a look at the top left, you can see that these shapes are simple and controlled. They're fairly basic and have sharp corners, so I'd use the pen tool for this. Similarly, this raven over here has some hard angles and precise line placement to communicate that it's a bird and is more complex with lots of nooks and crannies. I want the fine-tuned control the pen tool. Down here we have some simple shapes that are in a sharp, so I'd quickly draw these with the pencil tool. Lastly, these curvy lines over here are more free form. Although they're complex, the lines were by no means precise. I just wanted them to be flowing, so I drew them with the pencil tool. As I said, this isn't a hard and fast rule. Some designers would want full control over the curves in these flowy lines and so I choose the pen tool. This raven might have some designers reaching for the pencil tool for a quicker draw but this is a good place to start. Regardless of which tool you use, as I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of supporting tools to help you mold your shape into your vision. The tools we'll be going over are the direct selection tool, which helps you select specific anchor points and paths. The anchor point tool, which can help with anchor point handles in curved paths. The smooth tool, which as the name suggests, helps smooth out paths. The shape builder tool, which combines, extracts and trims paths. We'll only be touching on this for a little bit but if you want for more information, check out my other Illustrator basics course that's based solely around the shape builder tool. Lastly, I'll show you a third party plug-in named vector scribe that can help with cleaning up shapes, but is by no means mandatory. We're almost ready to get started with the stars of the show but I want to mention one last thing, and that's to work from sketches. It's so much easier, especially when you're starting out to have lines to follow. Instead of guessing what they should look like. You can be rogue in design and draw as you go if you'd like but I highly recommend doing your sketching on paper first, then bringing them into Illustrator. 4. Placing Sketches: Once your sketches are done and captured, either by scanning or taking a picture on your phone, all you have to do is open a new illustrator document. So go to; File, New. I'm not really worried about the size of the art board because I can resize my artwork to any size I want when I'm done thanks to working in vector land. I'm going to hit, Create. I actually like to work with my art boards hidden so that I have one big white area to work in. I have a custom shortcut of Shift Command H, to hide them, but you can go up to; View, Hide art boards. To bring in your sketches, all we're going to do is place them. You can go up to; File, Place, going to find my sketches. If I just click, it's going to place the sketches at their full size which is often too big. So I'm going to hit Command Z, and instead of placing them by clicking, I'm going to click and drag. First, do you see down here how it says I'm at 64 percent? I like to do my placing when I'm at 100 percent, so that I have a better idea of what the actual size is. So I hit Command + on my keyboard, and I'm just going to click and drag this out. Once you've placed them, you can go up to the opacity in this top bar and bring that down, and then we're going to lock our sketches so that we don't move them around. I'm going to do that from the layers panel. If you don't see your layers panel in your right sidebar, you can go to Window, and Layers. I'm going to go ahead and click right to the right of this eyeball to lock it. I'll make a layer on top of that so that we can start drawing from it. Let's get on to the pen tool. 5. The Pen Tool: Let's begin by using the Pen Tool in its most basic fashion. You can see that I have a stroke with no fill here and that's so that I can see the pads that I'm drawing and not get the fill in the way as I'm making my shape. If you right now have a fill and no stroke like I do here, you can either hit shift X to swap them or you can simply with your fill forward click no fill and then click on your stroke and set a stroke color by double-clicking on it, or you can pick one from your swatches panel. I'm going to hit P on my keyboard to grab my pen tool, or you can see that it is this icon over here that looks like an old school fountain pen. I'm going to zoom in by hitting command plus. The Pen tool at its core is simply clicking to drop an anchor point with paths that are connected in between them. You can see that as I'm clicking around this star, my pads are following along and I'm starting to make the shape. Now if I switch to my selection tool right now without finishing it, then what we have is what I was talking about earlier with an open path. It has these two endpoints, one here and one here. You can think of it as if we try to put water in this shape, the water would fall out. That's how I know I have an open path and to close it, I can get right back in with the pen tool hitting P. When you see that little slash icon, that means that you're going to pick up where you left off. I can click, and I can keep going around. As I get back to my very first starting point, you can see that I have a little circle that shows up next to my cursor. That means that I am going to close this shape. Now the star is complete. One thing I want to change really quickly is, do you see how sharp these points are? If I open up my stroke panel over here, which if you don't have it, and if you end up not having one or more of the panels that I talk about, you can always find them by going up to window and then clicking on it. The layers one or the stroke one, is right here. I want to change my corners from a miter to a round. That's just going to bring down the severity of those corners, which is what I like to see. Once you have your shape, as I talked about earlier, everything is editable and this is where the direct selection tool can start to come in handy. The direct selection tool is this white arrow up here with the keyboard shortcut of A. I'm going to hit A on my keyboard. What it allows me to do is either click on a point or click and drag a little box around it to select it. I'm able to then move that point and update the shape while leaving all of the other points in tact in their place. I could also drag a box around three of these points and move the three of them and really start to change it. This is how we can start getting in and massaging the shape to be exactly what we want it to be. I don't need these to match the sketch exactly. I basically just wanted to have an imperfect star. To add to that imperfection because I never like my artwork to look too perfectly vectary. I don't want these lines to be perfectly straight. Instead of dealing with all the handles that we talked about earlier, there's an intermediary step that we can take with using the anchor point tool. If I go over to where the pen tool is, do you see how there's that little triangle in the bottom right hand corner? That means that there's a flyout menu if I click and hold with additional tools in it. That's where you can find the anchor point tool. It also has a keyboard shortcut of shift C, which I'm going to use from this point forward. Not only does the anchor point tool work with anchor points, but it also allows us to curve lines without having to mess with the handles. See how my cursor changes from just an arrow to an arrow with a curved line. That means that there is a path there that I can click and alter. I'm going to click and drag. Do you see how while it's curving, I'm getting these handles that are coming out. I didn't have to drag those out from the anchor point. The anchor point tool is doing it automatically based on where I'm dragging this path. I can go in and just slightly bend this, and like I said, that's just so that it doesn't look so perfectly vectary, because I like my sketches in my illustrations to look a little hand-drawn. I don't know about you, but I never draw a perfectly straight line. That's pointing and clicking. The other piece to the pen tool is clicking and dragging to make handles. I'm going to start with this bottle here. I'm going to start in a corner. I usually like to start in a corner with my pen tool because we know exactly where this point needs to go. We know it's going to be a corner, so a point needs to go there. Then to start rounding, instead of just clicking, I'm going to click and drag. You see how those handles come out from either side of it. You can see that that green line is telling me what the path is going to look like when I let go. I can drag that out and keep going until I get around to this other side. Then again, I'm able to switch over to my direct selection tool. It not only gives me access to the anchor points, but it also gives me access to these handles. Even though these handles were dragging out equally on either side when I was making the shape. Let me change the color of these paths so you can see them a little better. See if gold works better. Now, I can click and drag this one independently of the other. If I pull it out here, do you see how this handle on top is becoming a different length than the one on the bottom? I have more fine-tune control of what I want that shape to look like. Then I can keep going around this bottle. I'll pick up on one of my endpoints, and come down here and click and drag. May be do another one here. Click down here. Now we're going to run into something interesting here. As a beginner, this frustrated me to no end, and it's actually one of the reasons I hated using the pencil tool, but it has such a simple solution. Do you see how the line in my drawing is warning me to go along this line? Well, if I were to pick up where I left off, which of course it won't do it now. Let me drag this back out. If I pick up where I left off, do you see how the line, the path that I'm getting is two curved? It's not following that corner there. That's because when I dragged out these handles to curve the path right here, I got this handle which is telling the path that this part of the line needs to be curved too. All I need to do is break the handle so that this one is still here dictating this part of the curve, but that we have a corner point that I can start fresh with. To do that, all I have to do is hold on option and ALT, on my keyboard and click on that point. Now I just have one handle coming out this way and I'm free to keep going on with the shape as I want. I can come up here and drag. Then I can come up here and meet my point. Now, this line right here isn't really where I want it to be. It's not where my sketch was, and I could drag this handle out and try and get it, but that might over-text the handles a little bit. What I can also do is grab my Convert Anchor Point Tool again, so I can go to here or hit shift C, and I'm able to re-imagine where these handles are. That corner point that didn't have handles anymore now does have handles that I can manipulate. Obviously we got some funkiness here, so all I need to do is grab my Direct Selection Tool by hitting A, and I'm going to hold down option again to break this point. I'm going to hold on option while dragging this handle. That's going to let me pop that back into place while still having this handle here that I can now drag it out to try and get this shape of the bottle to be exactly what I want it to be. Another way to use the pen tool, especially when you're working with curves, is to not click and drag as you go, but rather lay down your points and then go back in and figure it out. For instance, with this Raven's Cure bottle, what I'm going to do is I'm just going to click and lay my points down like I did with the star, not worrying about what the curves look like. Really just trying to get the points where I think they need to go. Then I can hit shift C and go to these points and start dragging the handles out. Now, just like when we're clicking and dragging out the shape as we go, these handles with the Convert Anchor Point Tool are coming out at the same speed on either side. Sometimes that's not the curve you want. For instance, see how I'm able to match this curve here, but it gets a little off kilter here. Well, what I usually do is start off by just getting the handles by using the Convert Anchor Point Tool and then grabbing my Direct Selection Tool by hitting A on my keyboard and coming in here and then messing with the handles until I get the shape that I want. Let's take a look at these clouds, and we're going to use the Shape Builder tool eventually to trim these clouds to fit perfectly within this bottle. So I'm going to actually start off the side here, so that I can get in here, and get these cloud shapes how I want, and then we'll trim the excess later. Since these handles are dragged out, I'm not able to get this cloud shape right here like I want, so I need to hold down "Option," or Alt to break that handle, and then I can get in here, and get the shape that I want, and I'll come up here and close it, and again I don't care what this part of the shape looks like because we're going to end up trimming it on the side of the bottle later anyway. I can go in with my "Direct Selection" tool, and start playing around with this to see if I can get this to better match my shape, and so it's nice because you can see that even though as you're drawing, you're making your shape nothing is really written in stone. You're really able to get in, and smooth everything out, and get it exactly how you want it after the fact. Now the funny thing is what we just went over is really the basics of the "Pen tool" that's how you use it. You click to lay down points, you click and drag to drag out handles and make curves, and then you can use other tools like the Direct "Selection tool," and the "Anchor Point tool" to kind of fiddle around to get the shape how you want it. But that's not what's difficult about the Pen tool. What's difficult is figuring out the best way to build your shape so that it doesn't end up looking wonky, or weird. It's really easy to lay down too many points, or not enough points, and overburden your handles, and so the learning curve comes in with figuring out where those points need to go to make the shape that you want. So I briefly want to touch on a little bit of theory on how to lessen that learning curve for you, and this is a theory that's introduced by Von Glitschka, who is really a vector drawing mastermind. When I was learning Illustrator he's the one that cut through all the noise, and was like,"Hey, there is a way to build better vector shapes, and you don't have to flounder around with the pen tool with trial and error forever, and get sick of it and end up using other tools." So I highly recommend checking out his book, which I've linked to in the class resources. It talks about this very method, and it's where I learned it, and I also linked to one of his classes where he goes over this method. I also want to say that it can be a little bit of a mind bender to hear at first, which is funny because it is simple, but it sounds more complicated than it is. So if you're feeling a little overwhelmed just by the anchor points, and the handles, and the things we've covered so far. Just sit back, and listen to this, and if it doesn't sink in right away that's totally cool. However, if you're listening, and you're like, "Oh okay, this makes a lot of sense to me I want to learn more." I do recommend checking out his resources on learning it. So this method that I keep referring to is called the Clockwork method, and it all starts with a circle, and the reason that we talk about, or we use a circle to sort of explain it is because if a shape has a corner in it then there isn't really a mystery of where the anchor point needs to go. So if I look at this shape over here right here we have two corners in the shape, and I know no matter what, I'm going to need to click there with my pen tool in order to get the shape to be there. However when we get these curves it can be a little bit more difficult to figure out where those points need to go to make this shape. Do I need two that are right here? Do I need one here, and one here? It's a little tricky to figure it out, and so by using a circle which is made up completely of curves were able to sort of take how a circle is made, and apply it to other shapes,so I have this circle, and if I click "a", so that we can bring up the anchor points you can see that it takes four anchor points to construct this circle. One at the top, one at the bottom, one on the right, and one on the left. If we were to look at this as a clock, those would line up perfectly with the 12 o'clock, three o'clock, six o'clock, and nine o'clock. Even if I were to take this clock, and duplicate it, and turn it upside down. Even though the numbers have changed the relationship between where the points are is still the same. Even if I take this, and rotate it not evenly now the 12 o'clock isn't even at the top. The 12 o'clock is still perfectly across from the six o'clock, and the same with the nine, and the three, and so this relationship between where the points are in the curve is really important. It's easier to start seeing, and applying to your shapes if we look at ovals. So I'm going to make a copy of this, and I'm going to smash it down into an oval shape. You'll see that now the numbers are smashy too because they are part of that group that's okay. But you can see that even though now this is an oval we still have the same relationship. The 12 and six, are still across from each other, and the nine and three are still across from each other. What's even more interesting is, if I start rotating this it's the same kind of idea. So even though we've rotated this, and we're looking at this art board straight up and down. We can see that this shape is rotated, which means that those anchor points are no longer at the very top, which technically are very top of the shape is right here, and the very bottom is somewhere around here. Instead those anchor points have rotated but they still hold the same relationship between each other. It doesn't matter which way I drag this out, and it doesn't even matter if you think that this is the nine o'clock instead of the 12 o'clock the relationship between where those anchor points are stays the same. So what does this mean for our shapes? How do we actually use this? Well, I'm going to go over to my raven shape here because the raven shape has a few more curves in it. The curves are not all uniform none of them are perfect circles, and it's going to take some work to get this shape in place, so I will paste my shape down, and I need to size it down, and also bring down that stroke size, and what we're able to do is we're able to start visualizing. If this curve right here were a o'clock, where would the three, where would the six, the 12, and the nine o'clock be, and by being able to visualize that you then know where the anchor point needs to go to make the best shape possible, and to explain it is confusing, and it sounds a little cumbersome. But really when you start visualizing it, it's really a quick thing that starts to happen when I'm actually drawing in Illustrator and using the pen tool. I don't need to make these little clocks all the time to figure out where my points need to go. It's something my brain just starts to see. So for instance, I see that this curve right here really looks like a clock that's on its side, and smashed a little bit, and so that's exactly what I'm going to try, and mimic. I'm going to smash it, and make it a little bit smaller until I can best fit it in this shape, so that looks pretty good. By doing that I can then visualize that nine and three are across from each other which means that the six is going to be about halfway in between them which means the anchor point for this specific curve when I'm drawing this raven needs to be somewhere around here. These would be sort of corner points, and then this is another curve here. So this clock is going to be very different this time I can see that this one is probably going to be even smaller, and rotated a little bit more to fit into that beak area, and once I can visualize where that clock is it's easy for me to see one of these main points is going to go right here. So that being known now when I go to draw the shape with my pen tool, all I have to do is visualize where those points are, and I'm able to draw the shape almost perfectly on the very first try, so if I go into outline mode you can see that I have a really smooth line it matches up with my drawing exactly, and I was able to do it without a lot of guesswork. Had I not done that, and if I were just starting out then there's a good chance that I probably would have tried to overtax these anchor points, and come in here and do this all at once, and I wouldn't have been able to have as much control, or get it on the first try, or maybe I would've come in here, and thought that this point needed to go here, and then I've got something funky going on with that, and then I have to take extra time to get in with the Direct Selection tool, and figure out where that needs to go. If we look at those lines in comparison, and outline mode you can see that this one especially in this area is a little bit smoother than what I got up there. So I'm not trying to bend your mind I'm not trying to make things more confusing than they need to be. But start trying to look at shapes, and figure out how many clocks would need to be in each curve, and where would those clocks be rotated to try and figure out where the points go. It doesn't take long to train your brain to start seeing this, and in no time you'll be able to start figuring out where one curve ends, and another begins. If you do happen to checkout Von Glitschka's work, especially in his book he has some really great examples of a few more complex shapes like flames in animals, and characters, and he actually overlays them with the various clocks that he envisions, and the way that they're rotated to figure out where those points need to be. Let's move on to the Pencil tool. 6. The Pencil Tool: Let's take a look at the pencil tool, which the good news is, it's a lot easier and more straightforward than the pen tool. You access your pencil tool by hitting Enter on your keyboard or you can find it in the toolbar, it looks like a little pencil. Instead of laying down anchor points and playing around with the handles, all we have to do, is draw the shape we want. An illustrator magically fills in the rest for us, so, if I zoom in here and hit A key on my keyboard, let me change the color of this so we can actually see what those anchor points look like, increase this. You can see that it has sure enough laid down my anchor points and it's dragged out my handles for me. In that regard, the pencil tool is a lot faster to use. I'm not worrying so much about drawing out each anchor point as I go. It's done for me. That's really the ends and outs of using the pencil tool. You draw your shape and Illustrator does the work for you. But let's take a look at some of the options that come along with the pencil tool. I'm going to double-click on it to bring up the pencil tool options box. Let's first take a look at this fidelity slider. It goes from accurate to smooth and it does pretty much what you're probably guessing it does. I'll start by dragging it all the way to smooth, and I'm going to draw a circle. But as I draw, I'm going to be a little shaky, and I'm using my tablet, but you can use a mouse or a track pad and play around with that. You can see that even though the line I drew was really shaky, I ended up with a fairly smooth tool considering how not great that line was when I was drawing it. However, if I turn this fidelity slider all the way down to accurate and do the same kind of thing, we're going to get a bit different of a result. Do you see how I'm getting that little circle just like I did with the pen tool? That's letting me know that I'm about to close the shape. Those are two very different shapes. Using the same tool, you can get different results playing around with this slider. Generally speaking, I like to keep mine here. I don't like it turned all the way up to smooth because sometimes it'll throw out some of the little nooks and crannies that I'm drawing, but I do like to keep it a little bit more smooth because sometimes my hand will jerk a little bit or I'll be using my track pad. I actually use my track pad, a surprising amount for using the pencil tool, and it just helps keep things looking nice. So now if I go in and I draw a wonky circle, you'll see it's not going to be totally smoothed out, but it does do a nice job of fixing that for me. So that's the fidelity slider. Now let's take a look at some of these check boxes. The first one is filled new pencil strokes and it's fairly straightforward. I have mine checked right now, but the reason it's not filling my strokes, is because I don't have any fill color set. If I change that and I pick a fill color, then any shape that I draw is now going to have that fill in it. If I turn that checkbox off, then even though I still have a fill color over here, It's not going to have a fill in that shape, it's just going to be the stroke. So I like to keep that turned on even though I usually draw with a stroke anyway. This next box keeps selected, and my mind is really only helpful when you're working with this next checkbox or this last one, edit selected pads. Let me show you these combinations. So I'm going to turn on, keep selected, and I'm going to turn on this option key toggles to smooth tool. The smooth tool is a tool that we can use on any path. So even if you're using the pen tool and you need to smooth something out, you can use it then, but it is helpful to use with the pencil tool in case on the first draw, Illustrator isn't quite getting what you want. So I'm going to check this on, and I'm going to hit "Okay", and now when I draw a shape, you'll notice that it's going to stay selected. We'll know that it's selected because we can see all of these anchor points in here. Now, if I want to slightly edit something that Illustrator drew, so, if I wanted to smooth out, you see this little bubble down here, all I have to do to access the smooth tool is hold down option or alt on my keyboard. What I can do is redraw this line and Illustrator is going to do its best to reconfigure where those anchor points and handles are to smooth that out for you. Now, the only reason that I don't have that option checked, is because if I ever need the smooth tool, I usually just access it manually, so, for instance, if I turn those off, and I draw a shape, and I'm not happy with it, I'll just select it myself, hold down the pencil tool to access these tools that are down here, and that's where you'll find the smooth tool, and then I'm able to use it in the same way. Like I said, we can use this for shapes that we've drawn with the pen tool too. So do you remember how we drew these bottles shapes earlier? I could select that path, grab my smooth tool, and edit that too. It's a really helpful tool, especially if you just can't quite figure out why something's looking wonky. Like when I was drawing this raven, there were a few curves that I couldn't quite get right, and the smooth tool took care of it without a problem. So that's one of the options you can have checked. When I go back to my pencil tool, another one to have with this keep selected checkbox is, edit selected paths, and I'll show you what that does. So I'm going to draw a shape, I'll actually draw a heart, and let's say I'm just not really happy with this side of the heart, what I can do while this is selected and while using my pencil tool, is redraw this line, and Illustrator is going to update that path based on what I just drew. The reason that I don't use this, I never used this option, is because sometimes it has a hard time understanding what you want, if you don't quite get close enough to the shape, then sometimes it'll just draw an extra path like that, or if you accidentally leave off somewhere, sometimes it'll get rid of a whole section which isn't always helpful, and so, I guess it's just a little bit too unpredictable for my liking. I never really need to edit a shape that much. That's also one of the joys of drawing from a sketch, is I really know what I'm going for. An illustrator is pretty good at getting it close on the first try. With this checkbox, you get these within so many pixels slider, and so, this can probably help ease that unpredictability if you turn this up, then it's going to be able to edit a selected path within 20 pixels instead of 6 pixels, but like I said, I don't really use that, so, I'll keep that off. The last checkbox I want to talk about, is closed paths when the ends are within so many pixels. Do you remember with the pen tool how or with the pencil tool too, how when we get close to our starting and starting endpoint, we get that little circle letting us know we're about to close it. Well, that's what this checkbox effects. By default, it's within 6 pixels, which means you need to get within 6 pixels of that first anchor point before it's going to close your shape. I like to turn this up, and you can even turn this up higher than this, because sometimes when I'm drawing circles, especially when I'm going fast at drawing small circles, it's hard to get within that little 6 inch or 6 pixel range, so, you can see that all of these that I drew really quickly, they didn't actually close, these are all just kind of messy, open shapes, and so, by turning that up, I have a greater chance of closing that shape within the first draw. I can go through on my sketches now and find these places that I still need to draw, and I can use the pencil tool to get it done a lot more quickly. That one's a little wonky. Let me turn this up all the way to smooth because I want these circles to not be perfect, but I don't want them to look like little tomatoes or anything. I'm going to zoom in to make sure I'm closing these and seeing that little circles, let me know that they are solid shapes. This hand tool that is moving me around my board, I'm accessing by holding down space bar. Okay. Now let's take a look at these flourishes. Now there are some designers who just kill it with the pen tool and they can be really successful withdrawing these shapes with the pen tool and laying down the anchor points. But I just really like to use the pencil tool. I find that it's really quick and it does a pretty good job, especially with a tablet when I'm able to flow right through it, it pretty much gets it. I can access the Smooth tool. I want this changed a little bit, and we also don't forget about the other tools that we learned in the last video. Since this is a path and anchor points, I'm able to grab my Direct Selection Tool and alter things as I want to. I can get around in there if I want, going to smooth that back out because that doesn't look very nice. I can just keep going along here. Now one of the places where my direct Selection Tool is going to be really helpful is in here. I'm going to use the pencil tool to draw these lines. Do you see all these places where the lines converge? There's not a great chance that as I'm drawing these, that all of these lines are going to perfectly line up. If I get in here and I'm going to go into Outline mode so you can really see what I'm talking about. Even though I was able to get close withdrawing those, these lines don't actually line up. These paths are far away from each other. I can use the Direct selection tool to get in here and grab that anchor point and then snap it perfectly into place. Now if I leave Outline mode, which I'm accessing by hitting Command Y on my keyboard, or you can go up to View outline. Now you can see that those lines perfectly converge there. I'm going to do that here to hit A on my keyboard and get that into place. If you have a tablet, the pencil tool can just be a really nice way. I find it really therapeutic actually to get to draw, but still have illustrator do the work of smoothing things out for you and making sure your curves look really nice. Again, I can go into Outline mode and zoom in and use my Direct selection tool to pop those into place. Two quick things I want to talk about, there are times like, do you see how these lines are hanging over the edge or this cloud that we drew earlier, how we want the cloud to end perfectly at the end of this bottle. Well, it's a little bit difficult for me to draw this cloud shape and this bottle shape to have the exact same curve. I'm going to use the Shape builder tool to trim that and like I said, I have another illustrator basics course just on the Shape Builder Tool that I recommend you take if you want to learn more about this. But I wanted to bring it up here because it is part of my drawing process when I'm using the pen and pencil tool. For instance, if I want to trim the excess of this cloud off, what I'm going to do is I'm going to click to select the cloud. I'm going to hold down Shift to also select the bottle. I'm going to go into my shape builder tool by hitting Shift M on my keyboard. It's also this icon over here that looks like two circles being joined with the dotted line and an arrow. You can see that now I have access to these two different shapes based on where these paths are intersecting. Since I know that I don't want this over here, I can hold down Option and you see my cursor changes from a plus to a minus. I can just click and it's going to trim the excess off of that cloud really easily. I can do the same with these strokes down here. When I'm using the pencil tool to draw these lines, I don't have to worry about trying to end perfectly right here. Instead I can get a really nice flow going into the shape, and then I can select all of this, hit Shift M on my keyboard and hold down Option and then just drag by all of those and it's going to trim it so that they perfectly and right at the edge of that bottle. That's really helpful. The last thing I want to talk about is this third party plugin from Astute Graphics. I have it installed already and it comes with four tools. The PathScribe Tool, Extend Path Tool, Smart Remove Brush Tool, and the Reposition Point Tool. The ones that I'm interested in showing you are the Smart Remove Brush Tool and the Reposition Point Tool. When I'm using the pencil tool, as we know, Illustrator is doing a really nice job by doing the hard work for us and laying down the points that we need. But sometimes it lays down too many points and if I want to start altering a shape, for instance, if I want to bring the corner of this heart in, you can see that I'm not getting a really great result because there's an extra anchor point here that's throwing off that shape, and I'm not able to edit it as nicely. Similarly with this circle over here, if I want to bring this line out, you can see that there are too many anchor points in there so that I'm getting a point instead of being able to bring out that whole chunk of the circle. What this Smart Remove Brush Tool does, let me zoom in so you can really see, is at, as I click and drag over a shape, it analyzes and gets rid of any extra anchor points we have. Instead of having six anchor points making this shape, now we have four and the shape didn't change at all. Now if I wanted to drag out one of these anchor points, you can see I'm able to edit the shape without having so many extraneous anchor points in there. This has saved me on more than one occasion when I've drawn a shape and then later wanted to edit it. That's one of the strengths of the Pen Tool is you are being as efficient as you can with your anchor points. But it does take longer. This way I get the speed of the pencil tool and I'm able to get in and clean that up. Let me increase the stroke so we can see. We've got a lot of anchor points in here. I'm going to grab this tool and go around and you can see where it's getting rid of those extra anchor points. But the shape itself isn't changing. Now I have a much more simple shape, and I can get in and start altering this however I want. I have a better chance at getting a result that I want. The last part of this that I want to show you is this Reposition Point Tool. This anchor point right here isn't doing much for me because if I want to edit where this point is, it's kind of throwing my shape off. What this tool allows me to do is I can select just that anchor point and Click and drag it and I'm now able to move it along my path and move it to a different position without changing the integrity of the shape. Now I can move that point to be up here. Now when I edit where my curve is, you can see I'm getting a much nicer curve over here, whereas this one is still in this weird shape, and I'm getting a weird reaction over there. What I can do is use this tool to move this one, too, move it to the top. Now I'm able to get in and move the curve of this and I get a more desirable result. I will link to this plug-in, it is expensive. I think it's about $85. But there are some more tools in here that I'm not going to touch on and it is really powerful. If you find yourself using the pencil tool a lot, maybe you have a tablet and you're just cruising through your illustrations, it can be really nice to be able to go in there and clean up how many anchor points you have in a matter of clicking and dragging. 7. Quick Review: Let's do a quick review of everything we just learned, so you have all of the information condensed in one spot. The pen tool, which I can access by hitting P on my keyboard, is a way of clicking to drop anchor points, which are connected by paths to create a shape. A small circle next to my cursor means I'm about to close the shape. I can use the plus and minus keys on my keyboard to add anchor points to a shape, and take them away. I can also click and drag while adding anchor points. This will drag out handles which determined the curve of the line. Holding down Shift while dragging out your handles will constrain the handles to perfect 90-degree and 45-degree angles. If you draw a curved line that's followed by a quarter point, such as right here, you can break the handles by holding down Option or Alt on your keyboard and clicking on the point. The pencil tool, which I can access by hitting N on my keyboard, is a way of drawing paths and having Illustrator take care of dropping the anchor points and the handles for you. Double-clicking on the pencil tool icon opens a menu of options that affect how your drawn shapes are interpreted. There are various tools to help us get the desired shape after being drawn. The direct selection tool, which I can access by hitting A on my keyboard, allows me to select one or more anchor points and adjust their position or their handles. The anchor point tool, which I can access by hitting Shifts C on my keyboard, allows me to drag out curved lines from straight paths and to alter anchor points, either by dragging out handles from corner points or redetermining the handles of an already curved path. The smooth tool, which can be found underneath the pencil menu, allows us to smooth selected paths that we've already drawn. The shape builder tool comes in handy when one or more shapes have a shared line, such as right here. I can trim the excess star from this bottle by selecting both, hitting Shift on my keyboard, and holding down Option or Alt on my keyboard, and clicking what I don't want anymore. I have a separate Illustrator basics course that covers all the things the shape builder tool can do. Lastly, a third party plugin from Astute Graphics can help you both reduce the amount of anchor points in a drawn shape, and reposition those anchor points within the shape without losing the shape's overall look. 8. Thank You!: Thank you so much for taking this Illustrator basics course. Learning the tools to draw shapes is the foundation of bringing your awesome illustrations to life. I can't wait to see your pen and pencil tool magic.