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How to draw with Pencil Tool in Adobe Illustrator?

Pencil Tool in Adobe Illustrator

In previous tutorials you have learned to draw using Pen Tool and Curvature Tool and in today’s tutorial you will learn to draw using Pencil Tool.

·         Drawing a straight path

Press N to activate the Pencil Tool. As soon as the Pencil Tool is selected your cursor will change into a pencil and there will be a star (*) sign at the bottom of the pencil.

Place the pencil shaped cursor on the artboard and then press and hold the Shift key. When you will press the Shift key the start (*) sign at the bottom of the pencil cursor will be changed to a straight line ( _ ). The time when you see this line at the bottom of the pencil cursor along with left click drag the cursor to draw a straight line.


·         Drawing a curved path

To draw a curve path using the Pencil Tool select the tool from the Tool Panel by right click on the Shape Builder Tool or press N (shortcut key). Now move the cursor on the artboard and start drawing with the help of left click. Move the cursor up and down to create waves or curves. (See the below image)


While drawing by pressing left click you will see blue lines as shown in the above image but when you release the left click the blue lines will be changed to the shape created with little bit smoothness in the paths. (See the below image)


·         Changing the path

The path drawn with the help of Pencil Tool can be changed or reshaped by the Pencil Tool itself. Select the path which you need to change and then select the Pencil Tool. Now with the left click, draw the new path near the anchor points of the old path.

When you will release the left click you will notice that your old path has been changed to the new path drawn.

You can see in the below image how the path has been reshaped.


·         Erasing a path

While drawing a shape if you have drawn any extra path by mistake and that extra path is making your artwork look ugly, then no need to delete the whole artwork. We have a tool named Path Erasing Tool which will be found under Shape Builder Tool.

Select the path and then select the Path Erasing Tool and move the cursor over that extra path with the left click. Release left click and that extra path will vanish.


In the above image you can see how the extra path has been erased will the help of Path Erasing Tool.

Smooth Tool

Under Shaper Builder Tool you will see a tool named Smooth Tool. This tool helps in giving a smooth finish to the paths/shapes.

Draw a shape with the help of Pencil Tool and then select that shape. Now right click on the Shape Builder Tool and select Smooth Tool. The cursor will be now a small circle. Move the cursor all over the path/shape along with the left click. After releasing the left click you will notice that the paths have transformed into smooth paths.

See the below image and notice the difference between the two shapes.


Join Tool

The name of the tool is stating its use. Yes, the Join Tool is used to join the paths but only those paths which are close enough.

To join two paths which are close enough, select the paths and then select the Join Tool. With the help of left click move the cursor from opening end of a path to the opening end of another path to join them. Release left click and you will see that the paths are joined.


Practice the above tools by drawing with Pencil Tool, giving a smooth finish with Smooth Tool and by joining paths with Join Tool.

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