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Adobe Illustrator CC - Essentials Training

Drawing with the Pencil Tool in Adobe Illustrator CC

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this tutorial we're going to learn how to use the Pencil Tool to do some kind of creative hand drawn effects. We're also going to take the lines, and make them dashed, and dotted. We'll also do things like this with that kind of swooshy, add Arrow Heads. Hopefully yours will look nicer than my ones. We're going to go and do that now in this tutorial. All right, let's jump in.

So let's get started. Let's go to 'File', 'New'. We're going to have our 'Print' document, it's going to be 'Letter'. It's going to be 'Landscape'. Let's click 'Create'. Let's bring in an image, so 'File', 'Place'. And the difference in this case is, we did before, we're going to use 'Drawing 1'. And in previous tutorials, if we've watched them, we've clicked on 'Template'. And that kind of puts it on its own layer, it fades it out a little bit and locks it, so that it's easy to draw over the top of. We don’t want the fading part of it, so we can't use Template, we're just going to leave 'Drawing 1'. I'm going to click 'Place'. You can click and drag out. That will give you a specific size, or if you click once, like I'm going to do here, it's going to just put it in at its full size. So depending on your image, you might drag it out or just like I've done here, click once, and it comes in full size. Also, just to make sure, I've got 'View' and make sure Smart Guides is turned back 'on'. We turned it off in the previous tutorial. I'll click, hold, and drag it so it kind of lines up. It's a little bit big for this page, but it's okay.

So, in your Layers panel, we're going to manually do that Template part that we did in the previous video. So this one here, I'm going to click 'Layer 1' and this is going to be 'Background'. This is not essential. Just handy when we're doing this tutorial together. So I've bent it, and there's this kind of mysterious icon here, just kind of empty space, click it, it locks the Layer. So, just meant to know that that's the place to click. I'm going to make a new Layer. There's a little turned up page down the bottom here. I'm going to click on that once and we've got Layer 2. We're just going to double click 'Layer 2' for this one drawing. I know I'm on this layer because it's blue.

So the Pencil Tool is this guy here underneath the Paintbrush Tool. You might find you've got the Shaper Tool out by default. Click, hold it down, and grab the 'Pencil Tool'. Now the Pencil Tool, by default is a little bit weird, and a little bit hard to use. So we're going to change that. So let's say I'm going to draw a smiley face, I'm going to draw it around here. Now the weird thing about it is, watch this, if I keep drawing, can you see, it doesn't draw new lines, it redraws over the existing one. Kind of disappears. Kind of a strange thing happens. So we're going to change that by default, so I'm going to delete that. Hitting the 'Delete' key on my keyboard.

What I'm also going to do is go to my 'Properties panel' and I'm going to make sure I've got 'No' Fill, and have a Stroke of 'white'. Just to fit with what we've got in the background here. To change the Pencil Tool options, you just double click on it. So double click the 'Pencil Tool' and in here, these are things we want to change, like 'Keep Selected'. We want to turn it off. The other thing we want to do is here, where it says Fidelity, it's going to try and help you out, make your drawing look a little smoother and a little better. I love it right up. Especially if I'm drawing, say, with my mouse, like I am here, or my touch pad. Wacom is a little different. Even with that Wacom tablet, where you're drawing with a pen, I like to crank it up, maybe not as high as this but we'll go full max smooth.

Now when we draw, look what happens. Just kind of makes everything fluid and nice. Probably not the nicest, but let's grab our 'Black Arrow', I'm going to delete him. What I'd like to do here is just some kind of free form. I'm going to do flames out the bike for no good reason, but you can see, when I draw and let go, it's done quite a nice job. What I'm going to do is actually do it one piece, and watch when I let go it, kind of smoothens that out nice. So my flames are going to be terrible.

What I'd like to do is, instead of doing it in one go I'd like to have two parts. Just going to help us when we do the next bit of example, when we have a little look at brushes. So I'm just going to kind of draw these flames. Now I really want to grab my Wacom tablet here because this is looking pretty bad. These are meant to be flames, by the way. Looks like a pineapple spring at the back. Totally looks like a pineapple. But that's okay. What we're going to do is look at some of the techniques for Stroke. So, some of the first things you need to know about drawing lines like these is, with the 'Black Arrow', let's select them all, and because we've got the background layer locked it doesn't select any of that stuff. So I've got them selected, and over here, under our Properties panel, the basics are Stroke, we got our Stroke Weight, which we looked in an earlier example. I'm going to crank it up to say 6 points just so I can show you some of the other options for Stroke.

Now to open up all the advanced settings for Stroke you just click on the word 'Stroke' and it kind of opens them all up. If you want to go a different way there's a way of opening up that panel forever by going to 'Window', and open up 'Strokes'. If you're getting sick of having to open it and you've got a big enough computer you can just go to 'Window', and 'Stroke'. It's only giving you the tiny options, weird, I know but if you double click the word 'Stoke', double click it again, it's got like three modes. Four modes. Small version. Stupid version. Massive version. I don’t know why they've got all these different versions. But if you keep clicking on it, you'll find, that's the big version.

I'm going to use this option in here. So collapses back in, and better use of my space. I'm going to click on it, and the first thing we're going to look at is the clapping. So this changes quite a bit of the look. I'm going to zoom in a little bit of my pineapple flames. I'm going to click on 'Stroke'. By default, you're going to have what's called a Butt Cap. Right there, Butt Cap. Unfortunately named, and it's this kind of just flat at the end. If I click this next one, 'Rounded Cap', can you see, I'm going to go on, off, on, off. Just kind of rounds off the ends, and that's really nice, especially when we go to Lower Stroke, a small Stroke like this, you don’t want to have, like really pointy ends, or the Butt Caps. Just kind of curves it off a little bit nicely. I'm going to go back up to '6 points'. Let's have a look at some of the other options.

So Butt Cap is flat at the end. This one here, I very rarely use, Projecting Cap. Kind of goes out past the line, ends here, and it goes back past, so let's go Butt Cap. Projecting Cap, I think it's the same like Butt Cap. Okay, Projecting Cap. Actually I'm going to leave it on Butt Cap. And we've got these corners here. So, lots of these lines aren't corners, they're just straight lines. This one here is a corner, and do I need any of the other ones? I think, just this one here. Look what happens when I change it from a corner of a Miter Join to a Round Join. Can you see, where it goes round this curve, it's rounded on the edge. So the Joins are different. And this last one here, kind of levels it off, like an edge. I never use that one either, so either of these first two are quite good. I'm going to leave those as is. And what might look good for our flaming pineapple now is down here, right at the bottom, something called Profile.

Profile's a nice way of just changing the line instead of being perfect all the way along. Click on this one here. It's kind of makes it tapered at both ends. You can kind of see, that gets projected on to our lines. That's kind of why I wanted having separate lines because you get this kind of pointy ends on both sides, whereas this one here is pointy at the tippy tips but not quite big through the middle here. Up to you. But have a little play around with the rest of them. So I've got them selected, click on 'Stroke' down the bottom here, in 'Profile', I can go through and say, I want this one. Just kind of strange. All pineappley. You can flip them, depending on how you want them on the line. And let's have a look at some of the other ones. I'll let you have a look, okay. Points.

Other ones, other ones. I'm going to probably go back. I like this one, I think, this Width Profile 5, I'm going to use him. Now there's a couple more things I want to show you about drawing with Strokes. One of them is Arrows. I'm just going to grab my 'Pencil Tool' again. I'm going to draw, something like that. Meant to be like the wheels turning, that's what it's meant to look like. That's okay. With it selected, I'm going to grab my 'Black Arrow'. I'll click both of these by dragging a box around them. And what I'll do is, go to 'Stroke' and this one here, Arrow Heads, are quite important, well, quite useful. So, with it selected, the two lines, you've got a beginning and an ending. Really depends on which way you started drawing. Play with both. Then I go to 'Arrow' here. It's kind of not the way I wanted it, so that's actually the end, not the beginning. I want it turning this way.

So if you scroll down the Arrow Heads, eventually they turn into the tail ends of the arrow. And this is going to look better for the beginning. Ain't that better? Some are pretty wonky arrows. I'm going for this hand drawn look. So, Profile as well, I might go through and try and make it look nicer. You can see, I added that Profile, the same as this one over here. Just doesn't look the same, if I click off, it's quite thin. Just means the Stroke Width isn't that high. So with them selected I'm going to raise the Stroke Width. Now what happens with Arrow Heads is that by default, they've got a weird proportion to the line. So, a 4 point Arrow Head's really big. So when I click on 'Stroke' there's a percentage underneath both of these ends. And you can see, if I scale this one down it's going pretty slow, so I'm going to twirl it down to maybe say 20% of the line and 20% of the line. Why? Because-- that looks a bit weird, but I want to increase this Stroke Width, maybe flip it across. I don’t know, I've made really ugly lines. But you're getting a sense of it, right? We're going to add Arrow Heads, easy peasy.

Next thing we're going to do is we're going to look at dashed and dotted lines. And we're going to try and make it a bit better. Like, I promise you, when I practice this it flings at the back, and cool arrows. It's turned not so good in actual practice. So what we're going to do is, I'll do a little Dotted Line around here so looks like it's cut it, not Dotted Line, but Dashed Lines. So looks like she could be cut out. So Pencil Tool again, I'm going to just draw a really rough kind of line around the outside. Line around the outside. Now stopped at the edge of the desk. And we're going around. Back to the beginning. The cool thing about going back to the beginning, watch this, remember the little icon, with the circle, see that changes there. It kind of shows you it's going to kind of complete it. Not hard, if I select on the line, and I click on the Stroke, there is a Dashed Line. Click on it, magically, dashed. If I click off, Dashed Line.

There's a couple of things you might want to do with the Dashed Line. So I've got it selected, I'm going to increase it so I can show you. And back under Stroke, things like the Rounded Cap, can you see the difference between those two, depending on what you want to do. The other thing is that, the Dashed Line here, if you leave-- Just going to do 12 and 12, so 12 points, and then a gap of 12 points. You can increase this, so maybe 22. And it's just going to do 22 points, and 22 points. You can have smaller gaps, say I want 10, just going to have smaller gaps, and larger dots, or dashes. You can do the opposite, so the dash can be quite small, so maybe 2 points. And the gap's going to be quite big. Depending on what you want to do.

If you're like this, kind of like zipper details, or Frankenstein stitches one or the other. Let's go back up, I'm going to do 12 and 12. Now you don’t have to-- if you want them to be identical, you can just leave 12 and it will kind of guess that the number you mean, that the gap is 12. It's a bit dotted lines. Weirdly, there should just be an option that says dotted as well but it doesn't. Really hard, and even when I'm making them I'm like "How the hell do you make dotted line again?" So it's a funny old thing. So let's grab the 'Pencil Tool'. I'm going to draw, like tassels from this. I'm going to grab my 'Black Arrow', select both of these, and get rid of the dashes. So I click on 'Stroke', you might not have yours. So let's turn it off, so a straight line. I'm going to have my Weight, about 4 points.

Now, weird thing is, it's dotted, it's actually part of dashed which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but if you make the dash '0' and you make the gap anything, so, '12', it makes kind of dots. Actually they're just lines. So with them selected, in here all I need to do is change it from that default, which is a Butt Cap to a Round Cap. That makes our dotted lines. So you just need to make sure one of them, the dash is 0. So it's actually got no length but there's a Rounded Cap around it, so it kind of wants to wrap itself around that nothingness. Dotted lines, they're kind of weird. So turn on the dashed line, make sure the dash is 0, and you can have the gap any size you like. 20, we'll just space them out. You can have them really kind of close together. They can even kind of overlap, like that. There you go, for 10. Nice! Zoom out, have a look at our magical drawing.

We've learned things about Strokes. We haven't made anything very pretty though. But what we'll do in the next tutorial is we'll add Brush Strokes and things will get marginally prettier. So let's go and do that now in the next tutorial.