Illustrator - drawing tools

a few tools to draw things in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator has several different drawing tools you can use to make and edit shapes. This breakdown covers some of the common ones that you will be using. We will cover the geometric tools in a different breakdown.


The Pen Tool is the default drawing tool that allows you to draw your shapes a point at a time. Learning to use the Pen Tool is the foundation of everything else you will do with vector drawing. Especially important is being able to add, delete, and modify anchor points, even if you create shape paths with different tools.


The Curvature Tool draws more organic curving paths using a different sort of geometry than the Pen Tool. Some people prefer this over the Pen Tool.


The Pencil Tool allows more freeform shapes to be drawn. Illustrator adds the anchor points for you as you go. Even better, you can go back and draw over paths to update and revise them.


The Paintbrush Tool is similar to the Pencil in that it allows freeform drawing, however you have the ability to add specialized brush tips for more stylized strokes rather than the default uniform thickness.


The Paintbrush Tool draws the outline strokes of shapes. The Blob Brush Tool draws the fill shapes. This tool is really good for coloring in shapes to build the overall path.


A few things to be aware of when using Illustrator:

  • Many of the tools have options that you can adjust. The trick is to double-click on Tool icons to get to the Tool Options. This makes sense, but isn't expected behavior if you are coming from Photoshop. If you double-click on an icon and nothing happens, that tool doesn't have option that can be adjusted.

  • The Properties menu (usually on the right side of the interface) allows you to change settings for each individual element. If you don't have any element selected, changing the Properties will change the defaults for whatever tool you have selected.

mister chad
mister chad
teacher . artist . human

I make stuff and show people how to make their own stuff.