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How To Use New Pencil Tool In Illustrator To Create Complex Shapes (Part-2)

by Michael Crawford Tweet - in Illustrator


In the first tutorial, we explained how the new Pencil Tool in Illustrator works by demonstrating a task of drawing simple lines and curves. We covered the basics of operating the tool. Now, in this second tutorial, we show you how to use the Pencil Tool to create complex shapes. The  tutorial helps you in learning about the ways to continue a path that you have drawn to complete a shape when you wish to create a curved or straight segment.

Learn about how to give finishing touches by use of the Path Segment Reshape feature.

Continuation of the path

When you need to continue the path that you have already drawn to an extent, all you need to do is to hover over your cursor on an endpoint. You will notice that there emerges a tiny slash mark close to the Pencil Tool icon when you use new path continuation cursor. With the help of the continuation cursor, you can draw the rest of the segment of your drawing. The new segment that you have drawn will not affect the first segment of the drawing. You can then finish the rest of the parts of the drawing. After you have reached to the last point, you should hover the cursor closer to the endpoint to complete whole of the segment. The Illustrator will close the shape automatically just as you release the mouse. Based on the lines or curves drawn so far, the Illustrator can intelligently decide whether the closing shape should be a straight line or a curved one.

Adjust pixel distance

Another feature to be noted is that you can adjust the pixel distance for automatic closure of the segment. To do so, you can use the slider given at the end of the Pencil Tool Options.

Create curved and straight segments

Now, we show you how to create a complex shape comprising of curved and straight segments. To draw a straight line, you should position the cursor at the beginning point of the line and hold down the Shift key. At this point, the cursor has a horizontal lined closure to the Pencil Tool icon. On holding down the Shift key, you have control over the line and you can set it create a perfect horizontal line, or bend the line path to 45 degrees, 90 degrees to any angel of your choice.

If you wish to draw an unconstrained straight path, just hold down the Option key or Alt on your keyboard. This way, you can complete a curved path in one stroke.

Reshape a segment

Now, if you want to reshape a segment by making some adjustment as an afterthought, you can use the Path Segment Reshape feature, which is an improved version of the previous tool. Click on the Pen tool icon in the tool bar and hold it. Then, go to the flyout menu and select the Anchor Point tool or you simply hit Shift-C on your keyboard. This tool can be used to reshape path segments and change the shape by converting the corner points to curved points and vice versa. So, for example, if you need to convert a straight line to curved one, just put the cursor over the straight segment to see the Path Segment Reshape icon. Click on the segment and pull it upward or downward to adjust and draw the curve. The Path Segment Reshape can also be used to adjust the existing curves.

Here we show you step by step how to use the new Pencil Tool to create complex shapes.



Click on the Pencil Tool to create the curve that fits the shape given in the picture.



Now, select the shape to give it a desired color.



To fill the color, select the Color Picker tool and you will get the desired color.



To draw a curve underneath the pot, you need to click the Pencil Tool and select the space.



Then, click the Width Profile menu to select a right width of your choice for the curve.



Release the mouse and you get the curve underneath the pot



Click on the View and select Guides to reach to Make Guides. This completely eliminates the need for non-printing layers



Finally, you have the desired curve underneath the pot very close to the major curve.

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