The Paintbrush Tool has an icon that resembles a paintbrush. It's an excellent choice for freehand drawing in Illustrator.
The brush shape and size can be adjusted as well as how much it automatically smooths when drawing. There are tons of settings to optimize with the brush, making it one of the most versatile assets in your Illustrator arsenal.
- Free-hand drawing
- Anything that needs a human touch
The Pen Tool is perfect for drawing your creations slowly and with intention. It has an icon that resembles an ink pen nib. Points can be dropped while anchors are used to manually adjust the curve and placement of each line.
The Pen Tool is perfect for creating scalable vector art or
.svg files. This definitely isn't recommended for freehand drawing but is more ideal for tracing an image in Illustrator and inking sketches.
- Scalable vector art
- Tracing images
- Precision drawing
The Line Segment tools are like the Pen Tool but with a little different behavior.
Types of categories
There are two major categories: curved and straight. They have icons that resemble a straight or curvy line. These tools are great for making quick features like straight lines but are not as useful for constructing full-sized illustrations.
Still, they are worth mentioning so you can recognize the options you have outside of the Pen Tool. Try to familiarize yourself with other tools to avoid becoming stagnant. This flexibility will show in your art and design over time.
- Creating straight or curved lines
- Quick line making
Shape Tools are great for making basic shapes in little time. The icons resemble various shapes. From quadrilaterals to stars, all you need to do is pick your shape then drag and drop it to size.
The line, fill, and color can all be adjusted prior to creating the shape as well as edited after. Experiment with the settings to get an idea of what variations you can create with just simple shapes.
- Making basic shapes
- Editing basic shapes
- Layering shapes for effect
Note that you have multiple options for making triangles in Illustrator.
In general, Illustrator is similar to many commercial illustrating applications. Files can be saved as
.ai to preserve your project and all of its layers or exported to final images.
- Take advantage of layers when illustrating to organize your artwork.
- Experiment with brush sizes and line settings.
- Look for tutorials that explain more uses and features of the various Illustrator tools. See how different artists go about creating what you want to create, there are often many methods for doing the same thing and one might be easier or more appealing.