Learning Paths

Pen Tool Reference

Pen Tool Chart

Illustrator Pen Tool Chart

I’d like to share this new and updated copy of the Illustrator Pen Tool chart used in my Va-Va-Vectors presentation. It’s a handy little learning resource to get you started. Click on the graphic above for a full-size version that you can keep on your desktop/device or print a copy out (if you don’t love trees).

Tool of Choice and Choosing the Tool.

The Pen Tool is probably Illustrator’s most powerful drawing tool – and maybe the trickiest to learn, but once you’ve got your head around it you should be able to draw anything. There are four tools in the Pen Tool family, each with their own accelerator (shortcut) key:

  • Pen Tool (P)
  • Add Anchor Point Tool (+)
  • Delete Anchor Point Tool (-)
  • Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C)

Contextual Operation

The Pen Tool also has contextual modes that it will switch to depending on where you position the cursor:

Close Path Mode
Cursor over an origin point – this will “close” the path
Connect Mode
Cursor over an endpoint of an unselected path – this will allow you to extend the path or continue drawing
Add Point Mode
Cursor over a line segment
Delete Point Mode
Cursor over an existing point
Convert Point Mode
Cursor over an endpoint, user holding down alt (or Option) key. To Convert a smooth/curve point to a corner point, click on the point. To convert a corner point to  curve/smooth point, click and drag on the point.

More to Learn

Keep an eye on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/AcademyClassPodcasts) for a new and updated pen tool primer coming soon.