Uses of Pen Tools in Adobe Illustrator

The Pen tool (P) draws straight and curved lines to create objects.

The Add Anchor Point tool (+) is used to adds anchor points to paths.

The Delete Anchor Point tool (-) is used to deletes anchor points from paths of the object.

Draw with the Pen tool

Draw straight line segments with the Pen tool

The simplest path you can draw with the Pen tool is a straight line, made to create two anchor points by clicking on the Pen tool. Continuing to click, you create a path consisting of straight line segments linked by corner points.

Clicking Pen tool creates straight segments.

  1. Select the Tool for Pen). Position the Pen tool where you want to start the straight segment, and click to define the first anchor point (do not drag).Notes: the first segment you draw will not be visible until you click the second anchor. If the direction lines appear, you have dragged the Pen tool by accident; choose Edit > Undo, and click again.
  2. Again click where you want the segment to end (Shift-click to limit the segment angle to 45 ° multiple). Click on further straight segments to set anchor points. The last anchor point you add always appears as a solid square, indicating that it is selected. Previously defined points of anchor become hollow and unselected as you add more points of anchor.

Complete the path by doing one of the following: Position the Pen tool over the first (hollow) anchor point to close the path. When positioned correctly a small circle appears next to the Pen tool pointer. To close the path, click or drag to. To leave the path open, either Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (macOS) off all objects anywhere.

You can also select a different tool to leave the path open, or choose Select > Unselect. You can just press Enter or Return to leave the path open too.

Draw curves with the Pen tool

By adding an anchor point where a curve changes direction, you create a curve, and you drag the direction lines that shape the curve. The curve shape is determined by the length and slope of the direction lines.

Curves are easier to edit and if you draw them using as few anchor points as possible your system can display and print them faster. Using too many points in a curve can also introduce unwanted bumps. Instead, draw wide spaced anchor points, and practice shaping curves by adjusting the direction lines length and angles.

Select the Tool for the Pen (Pen Tool).
Position the Pen tool and hold down the mouse button where you want the curve to begin. The first anchor point appears, and an arrowhead changes to the Pen tool pointer.

Drag to set the curve segment slope, then release the mouse button. Overall, extend the direction line about one third of the distance to the next anchor point you plan to draw. (One or both sides of the direction line can be adjusted later.)Hold down the Shift key to restrict the tool to 45 ° multiples.
A. Tool B for Pen Positioning. Start dragging (clicked mouse button) C. Dragging direction lines to extend.

Position the pen tool where you want the curve segment to end, and do one of the following:
Drag in a direction opposite the previous direction line to create a C-shaped curve. Release then the mouse button. Draw the second point in a curve

Drag in the same direction as the previous line of direction to create a S‐shaped curve. Then release the mouse button. Draw a S curve Note: Press Command / Ctrl while dragging a smooth point’s handles to make them unequal in length when drawing curve. Drag unequal handles when drawing curves.
A. Opposite handles are paired with and equal to B. Pressed Cmd / Ctrl, the handles opposite are uniform and paired

Continue dragging the Pen tool to create a series of smooth curves from different locations. Note that at the beginning and end of each curve you place anchor points, not at the tip of the curve. Note: Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (macOS) direction lines to break the direction lines of an anchor point out.

Complete the path by doing one of the following:

Position the Pen tool over the first (hole) anchor point to close the path. When positioned correctly a small circle appears next to the Pen tool pointer. To close the path, click or drag to.

To leave the path open, either Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (macOS) off all objects anywhere.

You can also select a different tool to leave the path open, or choose Select > Unselect. Note: The closing curve can be adjusted more finely:

Press the spacebar to reposition the closing anchor point, while closing a path.

Press Option / Alt, and break the anchor point. Control closing paths A pairing of handles. Repositioning point B of closing anchor. Break the handles in pairs to adjust the anchor end point

Reposition anchor points as you draw

  1. Keep the mouse button pressed down after you click to create an anchor point, hold down the spacebar and drag to reposition the anchor point.

Finish drawing a path

Complete a path in one of the following ways: Position the Pen tool over the first (hollow) anchor point to close a path. When positioned correctly a small circle appears next to the Pen tool pointer. To close the path, click or drag to.
To leave a path open, anywhere away from any object Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (macOS).

To leave the path open, you can also select a different tool, or choose Select > Deselect.

Draw straight lines followed by curves

  1. Using the Pen tool, click corner points in two locations to create a straight segment.
  2. Position the Pen tool above the endpoint selected. In Illustrator, when properly positioned, a convert-point icon appears next to the Pen tool. Click the anchor point to set the curved segment slope and drag the direction line that appears. Draw a straight segment followed by a curved segment (part 1)
  3. A. Straight segment completed B. Positioning Pen tool over endpoint C. Dragging direction point
    Position the pen where you want the next anchor point; then click (and drag, if desired) the new anchor point to complete the curve.Drawing a straight segment followed by a curved segment (part 2)
    A. Positioning Pen tool B. Dragging direction line C. New curve segment completed

Draw curves followed by straight lines

Drag the first smooth point of the curved segment using the Pen tool, and release the mouse button. Replace the pen tool you want to end the curved segment, drag to complete the curve and release the mouse button. Draw a curved segment followed by a straight segment (part 1)

  1. A. Completed first smooth point of curved segment, and positioned Pen tool above endpoint B. Drag the Pen tool over the selected endpoint to complete the curve Position. Upon proper positioning, a convert-point icon appears next to the Pen tool. To convert the smooth point to a corner point click on the anchor point.
  2. Reposition the pen tool where you want the straight segment to end, and click the straight segment to complete. Draw a curved segment followed by a straight segment (part 2) A. Tool positioning pen over existing endpoint B. To click Endpoint C. Clicking point Next corner

Draw two curved segments connected by a corner

  1. Using the Pen tool, drag to create the first smooth point of a curved segment.
  2. Replace the Pen tool and drag to create a second smooth point curve; then press and hold Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) and drag the direction line to the opposite end to set the next curve slope. Release the key and the mouse button. This process converts the smooth point by splitting the direction lines into a corner point.
  3. Replace the pen tool you want to end the second curved segment, and drag a new smooth point to complete the second curved segment.

Two curves A draw. Dragging a smooth new dot B. Press Alt / Option to divide direction lines while dragging, and line up C to swing direction. Result after being repositioned and dragged a third time

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