Skip to main content

How to Work with Drawing Modes in Adobe Illustrator

Learn how to work with drawing modes in Adobe Illustrator from expert Will "Focus" Dubois in this Howcast video.


This is How You Work with Drawing Modes in Adobe Illustrator.

So, in our Tools Panel, you'll notice that you have 2 views that you can have in the actual Tools Panel. You can have a singular view or you can have a 2-column view depending upon the arrow selection that you have at the top of the Tools Panel.

So right now I'm going to switch it to 2-column view so that you can look at the bottom of the Tools Panel. And you'll notice that there are 3 areas at the bottom of the Tools Panel.

The first, at the farthest level is actually Draw Normal, which basically by default, when you're drawing in Adobe Illustrator you'll notice just like any other program, as you draw out your shapes, you'll notice that they lay and stack on top of each other. All right?

So right now, this is the first item that you drew in the back. Your middle item. And then your top item.

So they keep drawing on top of each other. Now, that's with your farthest left mode. That's Draw on Top, which is considered Draw Normal.

But if you look to the right of it, you'll notice that the little icon has a, on the leftmost panel, it has a square in front of a circle.

But it has a square behind it in the second panel. So if we click that and let's say we use our Rectangle Tool again, and we drag out. You'll notice as you drag out, it will build the shapes behind each other. So it reverses the order of the stacking essentially when you're doing Draw Behind mode. So that's the second mode.

Now, the third mode, which will not be highlighted when you start, but it's Draw Inside.

Let's create a rectangle again. So I'm going to draw out a rectangle. You'll notice that now the Draw Inside mode can be selected, and that's once you have a shape or an object on your art board selected.

Once you click this mode, you'll notice that once you draw a shape now, it always draws inside that top shape. It's almost like it's crafting it out.

And you'll see it because there are marching ants or marquis lines that are actually around the side of the shape against its corners or its edges, and this allows you to continue to draw inside that shape and it will never go out of that box.

If you want to, you can actually double-click to go inside and keep double-clicking to select the shapes that you want to get to.

Again, it's almost like a group, but if you look at the top left panel you notice that it says Clip Group. That's because what this box is doing is it's actually clipping off the edges of the other shapes.

But you'll notice if you highlight each shape, you can still see the area where they fall outside of that box. It just won't show present in terms of their color or their stroke on the art board.

And that's how you work with drawing modes in Adobe Illustrator.

Popular Categories