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Adobe Illustrator CC - Essentials Training

Class Project 07 - How to draw lines with the Width Tool in Adobe Illustrator (LOVE design)

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this tutorial we're going to start with some basic lines, like this, then do this to them, with the Width Tool. It's going to take our simple lines, add a bit of dimensions to them and a little bit of sexiness. All right, that is the Width Tool. Let's learn how to do that now in Adobe Illustrator.

To get started, let’s go to 'File', 'Open'. In your 'Exercise Files', there is a file called 'Width Tool', click 'Open'. I'm going to start with the kind of, like leaves at the top here. I want you to kind of complete-- I want another leaf down the bottom here, just show you how I drew it. So 'Pencil Tool', I'm going to have a Fill of 'none'. Little stripy line, and I'm going to have a Stroke of 'white'. And I'm going to have the Stroke Width down to Hairline, which is '0.25'. I'm double clicking on my 'Pencil Tool' to make sure the smoothing is way up. And I've turned off 'Keep Selected'. Click 'OK'.

What I want to do now is just kind of click and drag, and you can see there, because the curving's quite up high it's making me look a whole lot better than I am. So we've got a bottom leaf now. What I want to do is do what we did at the Intro there, and have those lovely lines. And the trick with it, is to get started, with the Black Arrow. It's best to select all the lines, and make sure it's really thin. So the Stroke Weight needs to be at either 0.25, or less. That works. It needs to be quite thin to get started.

Next thing we're going to do is, deselect in the background, and we're going to grab the 'Width Tool', it's this guy there. Kind of a bow and arrow, click on it. And this magic tool, if I zoom in a little bit it means I can grab any point on this line and click, hold, and drag. If it doesn't, and it kind of just goes nowhere you're dragging the wrong way. Give it a wiggle. You can see here, beautiful! If you ever tried to do that before with the Pen Tool, you tried to draw one line, then the other side-- I love the Width Tool. So cool, huh! Select on this line, I didn't even select on it, just grab the 'Width Tool'. Just start pulling them out wherever you feel. I'm just going to work my way around this one. It's amazing, you can transform something quite simple. Got the smoothing on to make it look a little nicer. Just kind of giving it some fullness.

Now you can do more than one point on a line. I'll show you how to do that in this next part. I'm happy with it. Yes, I'm happy enough with it. I imagined it better, but anyway. Down here, I've got a path that I've drawn. What we're going to do, is with the 'Width Tool' we're going to end up with multiple widths on it. So I'm going to start with one about here. You can see, it's kind of working its way all the way around. From thickest here, all the way to thin at the two ends. Now that's fine, that's a lucky looking Fill, but what I'd like to do is, I want it to get kind of skinnier along the top here.

So watch this, I can click out another line. I clicked the wrong way Click, and drag up. I can make it thicker up here, which is cool, but actually I just want to make it thinner. So, just dragging this point to make it quite thin. Then I got this kind of bolds there, thins there. Then maybe across the middle here, I'm going to drag out a nice thick one. You can start to get these kind of cool ones in place of thick and thin. Maybe, down here I want it to be nice and thin, but over here, I want it to get it nice, kind of tailed thing there. You know what I mean, right? So I'm going to drag this nice and big, but potentially I want it to get a lot smaller through here. Then get nice and big again at the end here.

Another thing you can do is, you can slide these. So say that they're at the wrong point. This guy here, you can click on him, and just drag him around, and you can see, he kind of wiggles his way all around, can't go past that guy that I've already got there, but you can drag these along, there's another one. I can see, it's kind of moving and adjusting. You can also hold down the 'Shift' key and drag one side, not the Shift key. Hold down the 'Option' key and you can drag one side of it at a time. So it's Option on a Mac, or Alt on a PC. And just grab any of these, either side, doesn't really matter. You can just do one side rather than both.

Now we've used the Pencil Tool quite a bit. Now to get our curves, we're going to go back to the Curvature Tool because, I guess this is a font and I guess I want a little bit more preciseness to it rather than really hand drawn stuff. So, we're going to grab the 'Curvature Tool', and before I start drawing, I'm just going to make sure I've got no Fill, and I've got a Stroke, and in terms of the Stroke Width I'm going to pick, just 1 point for the moment. It can be hard to know, with the Curvature Tool, how many points you need. It's a little bit of trial and error. If I click once, and twice, I get a straight line, and it's obviously not going to be enough.

So if I click once, and maybe, a third so just three of them. We can see, it's just got a bend in the middle, it's not what I want. So what I do want is, there's two curves, there's one going this way, and one going that way. I want one there, at the tippy top. Kind of one half way through, at the Apex of this curve. It's a very slight one, so I'm going to click once, then one, kind of at the Apex of this one. Then, it's going to come out here. Click once. Now I get kind of a nicer line. Now it wants to continue on. I can grab the 'Black Arrow', just click off in the background. If I grab my Width Tool now, select on this, 'Width Tool', it's going to work, to a degree. Well, it's going to work nicely, but what you'll see here is, if I zoom in on the end here, you can see, I got kind of this stubby end to it. It's because I didn't change my Stroke Width before I started drawing.

So I'm going to zoom out. I'm going to undo, actually. So before I use my Width Tool I'm going to make sure the Stroke is quite thin. You can't have 0, but you can have like 0.05, something super thin. I'm using black as well, as my Fill. Now if I grab my Width Tool I don’t know how many points I need, I might need two. I want one there, to kind of get the top bit. Maybe one more for a fuller middle. It's not what I want, I'm just going to do one in the middle. It's not quite right, I'm going to drag it down. Remember, this drawing is not meant to be perfect, just kind of a hand drawn, get it going one. So the other thing I might do is that, there's this, like little white width in the middle there. It's a little bit hard when there's something already there. So if I grab my Curvature Tool, now it wants to join up, and wants to do things so, 'Black Arrow', I'm just going to click and grab the center, just kind of move it off, and we'll get back, we'll move him back in a second.

Now, Curvature Tool or Pencil Tool? I probably want the Pencil Tool for this one. I'll grab the Pencil Tool, I just want kind of a curve out of here. We'll see how that works. I'm going to make it a Stroke color of 'white'. Now I'll move this back in. Because I drew it after this black line, it should be on top. So I'm going to move him into position. Using my arrow keys, just to tap it down, something like that. I'll rotate the handle a little bit. Now I'm messing about. You got the idea of what we're doing here. I'll turn the Stroke down to '0.05'. I'm going to grab my 'Width Tool', and I'm going to drag this out. A little bit hard because there's lots of things fighting for the Width Tool's attention. So I'll make it something like that, drag it down a little bit. How do I like it? Yes, I like it enough.

So what I want you to do is, your task is to go through and finish this. So I'd like you to go through and do this part. One thing, when you're drawing this part down the bottom here - let me have a quick little look with the Curvature Tool. - is that if I draw one, draw one, draw one, and come back here, it already wants to join up to that existing one. So you just got to make sure when you're coming to this end point, is just to stay away, and you can fix that up afterwards with the White Arrow, and you can drag it in afterwards, kind of join up after it's been drawn and start with that. All of these lines here, the one little hint I've practiced this already, I've drawn this a few times. So let's go and change it back to black.

One thing that catch people out is this 'o'. I only learnt it from practices. Well, how many points does it need? Looks like it needs about four. Seems that works out nicely. Click once, click twice. Again, click again, you get this kind of box type circle. It's kind of close to what we want. That was a bit quick but yes, with the Width Tool you can move these and adjust them. See if you can give it a go, give the 'v' a go, the 'e' a go, then do all these extra bits. Go through, color it, I'd love to see how you get it. I've never actually gone through and cleaned that fully myself. I love to see what other people do with it. I know it's not the best one, but I'd love to see. Your interpretation can totally adjust it and make it as you want, but I'd like to see it as a project. So screen shot it, send it to me, that would be awesome.

All right, that is it for the Width Tool. It's pretty cool, huh! Next drawing though is kind of sexy lines, super easy. I love it. Thank you, Illustrator. All right, on to the next video.