Chapter 7: Wielding the Mighty Pen Tool

Chapter 7: Wielding the Mighty Pen Tool


In This Chapter

  • Using the Pen tool to create four different anchor points

  • Drawing straight lines with the Pen tool

  • Exploring the differences between open and closed paths

  • Drawing smooth-curved lines with the Pen tool

  • Making a seamless transition between curved and straight lines

  • Drawing basic shapes with the Pen tool

Back in medieval times, circa 1982, straight and smooth-curved lines were drawn with elegant handheld implements — such as a Rapidograph pen (an unwieldy, blotch-making tool), a ruler, and a French Curve. If you never had to use these torturous instruments, consider yourself lucky. With a Rapidograph pen, you got bumpy globs of ink and huge splotches that goosh onto the page each time you paused or changed direction.

?Today, if you need a straight line or a curved one — or even if you want the appearance of bumpy globs of ink — you want to use the Illustrator Pen tool. This tool is a bit intimidating at first, but after you grasp a few concepts, you’ll be drawing floor plans, customizing logos, and feeling really sorry for people who don’t have Illustrator.

Unlike its handheld, inky counterpart, the Pen tool is not intuitive. You can’t just pick it up and doodle; its functionality is far from obvious. This tool is unlike any drawing instrument in the world. But locked within the Pen tool are secrets and powers beyond those of mere physical ink. The Pen tool is a metaphysical doorway to the heavens of artistic exaltation; after you master the path of the Pen tool, all the riches of Illustrator can be yours. (You may even be unfazed by such hokey metaphors.)