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Basic tools of Adobe Illustrator for Beginners (Part 2)

Basic tools of Adobe Illustrator

After practicing the tools explained in Part 1 of the article let’s move towards Part 2. (For Part 1 visit my previous article).

In this article you will learn about other remaining basic tools of Adobe Illustrator.

So set yourself and get started…

      1.      Shape Builder Tool (Shift+M)

If you want to obtain a desired shape by adding or subtracting two or more shapes then Shape Builder is the tool for you.

With this tool you can either add/combine two or more shapes by adding their paths or you can subtract two or more paths to form another shape.

 You will get a clear view of how to use this tool by understanding the below image-


In the above image to get a desired shape 2 overlapping circles are drawn with help of Ellipse tool. Select both the circles with help of Selection Tool and click on Shape Builder Tool in the tool panel. Move the pointer on the path you want to remove, there will be a plus sign at the end of the pointer, click & hold alt key and a minus sign will appear at the end of the pointer. Now the path which will be removed will get highlighted by red color, click to remove the path.

You can even combine two or more shapes with help of Shape builder tool. See the below image-


 To combine both the circles, first select them with help of selection tool and then click on Shape Builder Tool. Move the pointer on the circles with a plus sign in the end and with left click drag the pointer from one circle to another. The highlighted path is the preview of the result of the tool. Click to combine the shapes.

      2.      Gradient Tool (G)
This is a very useful tool as it helps in giving different shades to your artwork, from solid to light fill. You will enjoy using this tool as it is easy to use and helps in giving a new effect to your artwork with use of different colors. You can find the gradient tool in the tool panel.


 When you double click on gradient tool a gradient window will appear. To fill your artwork with gradient, select your artwork first with the selection tool. Then click on gradient tool. There are two types of gradient fill, linear and radial. Select the type of gradient form the gradient window.

In the gradient window you will see a gradient slider which helps in adjusting the colors. When you will open the gradient window there will be only two colors on the gradient slider, white and black. You can change the color by double clicking on the small pointer placed below the slider. When you will move the cursor close to the gradient slider, a plus sign will appear, click and this will help in adding a new pointer to the slider. You can see in the above image that I have added color pointers and even I have changed the color of the pointers.

After selecting the artwork, click on the gradient tool and with a left click drag your cursor over the artwork. A gradient slider will appear there. You can rotate the slider at any point of the artwork to adjust the color.

Practice this tool and you will end up playing with colors.

      3.      Eyedropper Tool (I)

This tool helps you in stealing. Wait! By stealing I mean stealing color from anywhere on the artboard. Even you can steal the color from image.

In other words, Eyedropper tool helps in copying color from any object, image or artwork.


If you are wondering how I have got this raster image in the illustrator then keep patience, I will explain this in my forthcoming articles.

Now get back to the eyedropper tool. With help of this tool I have copied these different shades from the image. To copy any color, select the object or shape in which you need to copy the color then click on the eyedropper tool and move the tool over the color to be copied and then click. You can also copy color from and object to another.

With help of eyedropper tool you can fill or change color of more than one object at the same time.

      4.      Zoom Tool (Z)

As the name suggest, this tool is used to zoom in and out of the artboard. You will find this tool next to hand tool in the tool panel.

“Ctrl”  +  “+”: This will help you to Zoom In
“Ctrl”  +  “-”: This will help you to Zoom Out

      5.      Fill & Stroke (X)

This tool helps is filling color, gradient or pattern in the artwork. Fill is done in the inner area of the object but it is not compulsory. It can be applied to both close ended and open ended artwork.
On the other hand, stroke is the outer line of the artwork or object.



      6.      Erase Tool (Shift +E)

You can easily identify from the name itself that what is the function of this tool. Yes, this tool helps in erasing but erasing what?
This tool helps in erasing the path.

Right click on the erase tool on the tool panel and you will find two more tools; Scissor Tool and Knife.

Scissor Tool is used to cut the path and knife is used to cut an object or shape into two or more parts.


From the above image you can understand the use of Scissor Tool. To cut a path from the object, select the object with selection tool and then right click on the erase tool. Select the Scissor Tool and move the scissor towards the object and click on the anchor point of the path which you want to cut. The blue highlighted line will show you the path which will get cut. If that is the path which is required to be cut then click and the path will get removed from the object.


Now learn the use of Knife. Select the object which you want to cut into different parts. Right click on Erase Tool and select knife. Move the knife on the object and with left click drag the knife over the object in the direction in which you want to cut the object. Then click on the selection tool, the whole object will get selected, deselect the object. Again click on selection tool and move the pointer on the object this time only the part of the object will get selected. Drag the selected part apart from the other part. This is how knife tool works.

      7.      Blend Tool (W)

We all know what blending means and the same meaning applies here. Blend Tools help in blending colors.


In this image you can see a blend option window; this will appear when you will double click on the blend tool.

In the above image, I have blended two different shades of color. To do this, draw a circle with ellipse tool and make a duplicate copy of it. (Select the circle, press and hold alt key and at the same time with left click drag the circle. This will duplicate the object.) Fill one circle with a color and another circle with another color. (For Strokes click on No Fill. You can see in the above image strokes are not filled) Now select both the circle and double click on blend tool. Blend option window will appear. Select smooth color in spacing and click OK. Move the pointer on the first circle, a plus sign will appear, then click to blend the circles.

There are lot more things to do with blend tool, just give it a try.

      8.      Artboard Tool (Shift+O)

Artboard is the place where you draw or create your artwork. You can find this tool in the tool panel. This tool is used to edit the artboard. With help of this tool you can change the appearance of the artboard. From appearance panel also you can edit the artboard.

See the below image to understand more about Artboard Tool.


Now you have learned the basic tools of Adobe Illustrator (including Part 1). In the next article you will learn about the basic panels used in Adobe Illustrator.

For any query or suggestion write in the comment section and don’t forget to share the article with others.


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