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How to Use the Pen Tool to Create Straight & Curved Lines

Learn how to use the Adobe Illustrator pen tool to create straight and curved lines from expert Will "Focus" Dubois in this Howcast video.

Transcript

This is how to use a Pen Tool Creating Straight Lines and Curved Paths in Adobe Illustrator.

So the first thing we want to do is we want to select our Pen Tool. This is actually my favorite tool in Adobe Illustrator so I'm kind of biased towards it.

But, we click anywhere on our art board and you click 1 point to start, that's your starting point, and then wherever else you click is your end point. All right?

One click, one click, one click. As long as you're doing this you're always going to get straight lines in Adobe Illustrator.

Now the question is, what if you actually wanted to get lines that are curved?

One thing you can do is, you can click here for your start point. Click your second point, but if you want to curve that, when you click, hold it down. And as you drag your mouse, whatever you're using, you'll notice that handles pop out. And what these are called are Bezier Curves, and these are the handles for them.

These handles will actually flex and move the line segment accordingly. Think of it like a rubber band, if you're pulling and stretching it. Or a piece of thread or something that's held at 1 point.

So there is little section or this little square, which is your anchor, and these are your handles.

And you can change these by going to your Direct Selection Tool, selecting the Handle, you can move it to change the shape, select that end point, click the handle, adjust it again.

But you'll notice that the way that you pull with the Pen Tool, it will create another one.

Click 1 starting point, click another, and you pull it and you'll notice that it curves. So the shape of the curve is completely dependent upon how you pull the actual handles and what the actual curvature of your last handle was.

So you'll notice that I pulled this first one down this way.
As a result, when I clicked this point it automatically bent and swooped upward for this last anchor point.

The same thing would go if I were to click down here and were to click like this.

If I were to click this way, notice that I'm dragging it really, really far. If I were to then click over here, you'll notice that it's more exaggerated, the bend of the curve.

So you just play around with it until you get familiar with it and it just becomes a natural thing with you making curves and figuring out how to connect them.

From straight lines to curved paths back to straight lines. Very simple.

And that's how you work with straight paths and curves in Adobe Illustrator.

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