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Basic tools of Adobe Illustrator for Beginners (Part 1)

Basic tools of Adobe Illustrator

In this article you will learn about basic tools used in adobe illustrator.  There are many tools in illustrator which are used while creating an artwork but today we will focus on use of basic tools which a beginner must know. So, let’s begin with the tools which are in the tool panel (I had explained tool panel in my previous article).

     1.      Selection Tool (V)

This tool is used to select any shape or object on the document window. To select more than one object or shape at the same time, click on the selection tool and press Shift key than click on as many shapes as you need to select. The shortcut key for selection tool is V.

In case if you select a shape accidentally, no need to worry. Just click on that shape again and it will be deselected.

In the above image you can see that the square and circle shapes are selected with the help of the selection tool.

      2.      Direct Selection Tool (A)

Direct Selection tool helps in extending the edges of the existing shape to form a new shape. This tool is placed next to the selection tool in the tool panel. The shortcut key used for this tool is A.

Compare the above image with the selection tool image and you with notice the changes in the shapes which has been done with help of the Direct Selection tool.

      3.      Magic Wand Tool (Y)

This tool helps in selecting shapes and objects with simpler attributes. This tool is helpful in saving your time. Instead of selecting the similar shapes one by one you can easily select them with just one click. Click on the magic wand tool in the tool panel or you can press Y, the shortcut key, then click on one object and other objects with the similar attributes of the selected object will also get selected and then you can edit those objects at same time.

 In the above image, I had just clicked on the triangle shape and the star shape was automatically selected as both the shapes have same fill color.

      4.      Lasso Tool (Q)

This tool is another version of Selection tool. This tool also helps in selection of more than one object or shape. Click on the Lasso Tool and Drag the tool on shapes you want to select. This tool is just another option for selection of objects. You can find this tool next to the magic wand tool in the tool panel.

      5.      Pen Tool (P)

This is the most commonly used tool in the illustrator. In the beginning you may find it difficult to use but later on you will enjoy using this tool.

Pen tool is used to draw something by creating paths. Paths are lines with two end points called anchors and anchors have two handles which are helpful in reshaping the object.

When you will right click on the Pen tool in the tool panel you will see other tools also:

·         Add Anchor Point Tool (+): To add anchor points to the path, select the path and then click on pen tool then move the pointer to the path, a plus sign (+) will appear next to the pointer, click to set a point on the path.

·         Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) : To delete any existing anchor point on the path, follow the same procedure that of adding a anchor point, but the difference here is that a minus sign will appear next to the pointer when you will move the pointer to an existing anchor point, click to delete the anchor point.

·         Anchor Point Tool (Shift+C)

      6.      Curvature Tool (Shift+~)

You can find this tool in the tool panel just next to the Pen tool. This tool helps in giving a smooth curve to a path. With help of Curvature tool you can create any form of shape.

In the above image you can see that a straight line has been converted into a curve with help of this tool. To reshape a path with help of this tool, select the path and click on the curvature tool. Then move the pointer on the path and when a plus sign appears on the pointer click to add a point. With left click you can drag that point to give a desire shape to the path.

      7.      Type Tool(T)

Type tool is used to add text to your artwork or image. There are sub-tools under this tool which you can see by right click on the type tool icon. With help of type tool you can type a single line text or a paragraph text.

For typing Normal Text, Click on type tool and then click on the artboard.

For typing Paragraph Text, Click on type tool and then move the pointer to artboard and with left click drag to form a rectangle or square shape. You can adjust the shape as per text and you can even align the text.

Sub tools of Type Tools are:
·         Area Type Tool
·         Type on a Path Tool
·         Vertical Type Tool
·         Vertical Area Type Tool
·         Vertical Type on a Path Tool
·         Touch Type Tool (Shift+T)
By not making it more confusing, I will explain use of these above mentioned sub-tools in forthcoming articles.

      8.      Line Segment Tool(/)

This tool helps in drawing straight lines and you can adjust the length, angle, color and width of the line accordingly.

 To draw a straight line, click on line segment tool or press / (Shortcut key) then with the left click draw a line on the artboard. At the same time, pressing Shift key will help in adjusting the angle of the line.
 Other tools which come under Line Segment tool are:
·         Arc tool
·         Spiral tool
·         Rectangular Grid Tool
·         Polar grid tool

      9.      Rectangle Tool(M)

The name clearly states what this tool will do for you (obviously it will draw a rectangle). But this tool has other shapes too. Just right click on the rectangle tool and you will find:
·         Rounded Rectangle tool
·         Ellipse Tool (L)
·         Polygon Tool
·         Star Tool
·         Flare tool

      10.  Hand Tool (H)

To pan across a document you have to click on the Hand Tool. The shortcut key for using hand tool is H but you can also press space bar to activate hand tool and pan across the whole document.

Now practice these 10 basic tools of illustrator and you will develop more interest in it.

In next article you will learn about other tools of Illustrator.

If you find this article useful and interesting then write it in the comment section and share the article with others so that they can also learn about using Adobe Illustrator.


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