Basic Tools and Their uses in Adobe Illustrator


Basic Tools of Adobe Illustrator
In this article, you will learn about Basic Tools used in Adobe Illustrator. There are many tools in illustrator which, are used while creating artwork, but today we will focus on the use of basic tools that a beginner must know. So, let’s begin with the tools that are in the tool panel.

   1. Selection Tool(V)
It is used to select any shape or object on the document window. To select more than one object or shape at the same time, click on the selection tool and press the Shift key than click on as many shapes as you need to select. The shortcut key for the selection tool is V.
In case if you select a shape accidentally, no need to worry. Just click on that shape again and it will be deselected.
Basic Tools of Adobe Illustrator
In the above image, you can see that the square and circle shapes are selected with the help of the selection tool.
   2.Direct Selection Tool (A)
The Direct Selection tool helps in extending the edges of the existing shape to form a new shape. This tool is placed next to the selection tool in the tool panel. The shortcut key used for this tool is A.
Basic Tools of Adobe Illustrator
Compare the above image with the selection tool image and you with notice the changes in the shapes which has been done with the help of the Direct Selection tool.
   3.  Magic Wand Tool(Y)
This can be used in selecting shapes and objects with simpler attributes. This tool is helpful in saving your time. Instead of selecting similar shapes one by one you can easily select them with just one click. Click on the magic wand tool in the tool panel or you can press Y, the shortcut key, then click on one object and other objects with the similar attributes of the selected object will also get selected and t you can edit those objects at the same time.


In the above image, I had just clicked on the triangle shape and the star shape was automatically selected as both the shapes have the same fill color.
   4. Lasso Tool(Q)
This is another version of the Selection tool. This tool also helps in the selection of more than one object or shape. Click on the Lasso Tool and Drag the tool on the shapes you want to select. This tool is just another option for the selection of objects. You can find this tool next to the magic wand tool in the tool panel.
    5. Pen Tool(P)
This is the most commonly used tool in the illustrator. In the beginning, you may find it difficult to use but later on, you will enjoy using this tool.
The Pen Tool is used to draw something by creating paths. Paths are lines with two endpoints called anchors and anchors have two handles which are helpful in reshaping the object.
When you will right-click on the Pen tool in the tool panel you will see other tools also:
Add Anchor Point Tool (+): To add anchor points to the path, select the path and then click on the pen tool then move the pointer to the path, a plus sign (+) will appear next to the pointer, click to set a point on the path.
Delete Anchor Point Tool (-): To delete any existing anchor point on the path, follow the same procedure that of adding an anchor point, but the difference here is that a minus sign will appear next to the pointer when you will move the pointer to an existing anchor point, click to delete the anchor point.
Anchor Point Tool(Shift+C)
Basic Tools of Adobe Illustrator
    6. Curvature Tool(Shift+~)
    You can find this tool in the tool panel just next to the Pen tool. This tool helps in giving a smooth curve to a path. With the help of the Curvature tool, you can create any form of shape.
In the above image, you can see that a straight line has been converted into a curve with the help of this tool. To reshape a path with the help of this tool, select the path and click on the curvature tool. Then move the pointer on the path and when a plus sign appears on the pointer click to add a point. With a left-click, you can drag that point to give a desired shape to the path.
7. Type Tool (T)

We use this tool to add text to your artwork or image. There are sub-tools under this tool which you can see by right click on the type tool icon. With the help of the type tool, you can type a single line text or a paragraph text.
To type Normal Text, Click on the type tool and then click on the artboard.
For Paragraph Text, Select the Type tool and then move the pointer to the artboard and with left-click, drag to form a rectangle or square shape. You can adjust the shape as per text and you can even align the text.
Sub tools of Type Tools are:
·         Area Type Tool
·         Type on a Path Tool
·         Vertical Type Tool
·         Vertical Area Type Tool
·         Vertical Type on a Path Tool
·         Touch Type Tool (Shift+T)

By not making it more confusing, I will explain the use of these above-mentioned sub-tools in forthcoming articles.
 8. Line Segment Tool (/)

It helps in drawing straight lines and you can adjust the length, angle, color, and width of the line accordingly.
Basic Tools of Adobe Illustrator
Now draw a straight line, click on the line segment tool or press / (Shortcut key) then with the left click draw a line on the artboard. At the same time, pressing the Shift key will help in adjusting the angle of the line.
 Other tools, which come under the Line Segment tool, are:
·         Arc tool
·         Spiral tool
·         Rectangular Grid Tool
·         Polar grid tool
 9.Rectangle Tool (M)

The name clearly states what this the tool will do for you (obviously it will draw a rectangle). But this tool has other shapes too. Just right click on the rectangle tool and you will find:
    ·         Rounded Rectangle tool
·         Ellipse Tool (L)
·         Polygon Tool
·         Star Tool
·         Flare tool

10.  Hand Tool (H)

To pan across a document, you have to click on the Hand Tool. The shortcut key for using the hand tool is H but you can also press the space bar to activate the hand tool and pan across the whole document.
11. Shape Builder Tool(Shift+M)

If you want to obtain the desired shape by adding or subtracting two or more shapes then Shape Builder is the tool for you.
With this tool, you can either add/combine two or more shapes by adding their paths or you can subtract two or more paths to form another shape.
You will get a clear view of how to use this tool by understanding the below image-
In the above image to get the desired shape 2 overlapping circles are drawn with the help of the Ellipse tool. Select both the circles with the help of the Selection Tool and click on the Shape Builder Tool in the tool panel.
Move the pointer on the path you want to remove, there will be a plus sign at the end of the pointer, click & hold the alt key and a minus sign will appear at the end of the pointer. Now the path which will be removed will get highlighted by red color, click to remove the path.
You can even combine two or more shapes with the help of the Shape Builder Tool. See the below image-
Basic Tools of Adobe Illustrator
To combine both the circles, first select them with the help of the selection tool and then click on the Shape Builder Tool. Move the pointer on the circles with a plus sign in the end and with left-click, drag the pointer from one circle to another. The highlighted path is the preview of the result of the tool. Click to combine the shapes.
12.Gradient Tool (G)

This is a very useful tool as it helps in giving different shades to your artwork, from solid to light fill. You will enjoy using this tool as it is easy to use and helps in giving a new effect to your artwork with the use of different colors. You can find the gradient tool in the tool panel.


When you double click on the gradient tool a gradient window will appear. To fill your artwork with gradient, select your artwork first with the selection tool. Then click on the gradient tool. There are two types of gradient fill, linear and radial. Select the type of gradient form the gradient window.
In the gradient window, you will see a gradient slider which helps in adjusting the colors.
When you will open the gradient window there will be only two colors on the gradient slider, white and black.
You can change the color by double-clicking on the small pointer placed below the slider.
When you will move the cursor close to the gradient slider, a plus sign will appear, click and this will help in adding a new pointer to the slider.
You can see in the above image that I have added color pointers and even I have changed the color of the pointers.
After selecting the artwork, click on the gradient tool, and with a left-click drag your cursor over the artwork. A gradient slider will appear there. You can rotate the slider at any point in the artwork to adjust the color.
Practice this tool and you will end up playing with colors.
13. Eyedropper Tool (I)

The Eyedropper tool helps in copying color from any object, image, or artwork.
If you are wondering how I have got this raster image in the illustrator then keep patience, I will explain this in my forthcoming articles.
Now get back to the eyedropper tool. With help of this tool, I have copied these different shades from the image.
To copy any color, select the object or shape in which you need to copy the color then click on the eyedropper tool and move the tool over the color to be copied and then click. You can also copy color from and object to another.
With help of the eyedropper tool, you can fill or change the color of more than one object at the same time.
14. Zoom Tool (Z)

As the name suggests, this tool is used to zoom in and out of the artboard. You will find this tool next to the hand tool in the tool panel.
“Ctrl”  +  “+”: This will help you to Zoom In
“Ctrl”  +  “-”: This will help you to Zoom Out
15. Fill & Stroke(X)

The tool used for filling color, gradient, or pattern in the artwork. Fill is done in the inner area of the object but it is not compulsory. It can be applied to both close-ended and open-ended artwork.
On the other hand, stroke is the outer line of the artwork or object.

16.Erase Tool (Shift +E)
You can easily identify from the name itself that what is the function of this tool. Yes, this tool helps in erasing but erasing what?
This tool helps in erasing the path.
Right-click on the erase tool on the tool panel and you will find two more tools; Scissor Tool and Knife.
Scissor Tool is used for cutting the path and a knife is used to cut an object or shape into two or more parts.

From the above image, you can understand the use of the Scissor Tool.
To cut a path from the object, select the object with the Selection tool, and then right-click on the erase tool.
Select the Scissor Tool and move the scissor towards the object and click on the anchor point of the path which you want to cut.
The blue highlighted line will show you the path which will get cut. If that is the path that is required to be cut then click and the path will get removed from the object.

Now learn the use of Knife. Select the object which you want to cut into different parts.
Right-click on Erase Tool and select a knife.
Move the knife on the object and with left click-drag the knife over the object in the direction in which you want to cut the object.
Then click on the selection tool, the whole object will get selected, deselect the object.
Again click on the selection tool and move the pointer on the object this time only the part of the object will get selected.
Drag the selected part apart from the other part. This is how the knife tool works.

   17.Blend Tool (W)
We all know what blending means and the same meaning applies here. Blend Tools help in blending colors.

In this image, you can see a blend options window; this will appear when you will double click on the blend tool.
In the above image, I have blended two different shades of color.
To do this, draw a circle with the ellipse tool and make a duplicate copy of it. (Select the circle, press and hold the alt key, and at the same time with left click-drag the circle.
This will duplicate the object.) Fill one circle with color and another circle with another color. (For Strokes click on No Fill. You can see in the above image strokes are not filled) Now select both the circle and double click on the blend tool.
Blend option window will appear. Select smooth color in spacing and click OK. Move the pointer on the first circle, a plus sign will appear, then click to blend the circles.
There are a lot more things to do with the blend tool just give it a try.
 18. Artboard Tool(Shift+O)

Artboard is the place where you draw or create your artwork. You can find this tool in the tool panel. This tool is used to edit the artboard.
With the help of this tool, you can change the appearance of the artboard. From the appearance panel also you can edit the artboard.
See the below image to understand more about Artboard Tool.

Now you have learned the Basic Tools of Adobe Illustrator. In the next article, you will learn about the basic panels used in Adobe Illustrator.
For any query or suggestion write in the comment section and don’t forget to share the article with others.

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