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Basic Tools and Their uses in Adobe Illustrator

 

Basic Tools of Adobe Illustrator

It’s also important to have a good understanding of the tools and features available in Illustrator. One of the most useful tools for creating complex shapes is the Shape Maker tool. This tool allows you to draw basic shapes and then combine them to create more complex objects. With the Shape Maker tool, you can quickly create custom shapes and designs that would be difficult to achieve using traditional drawing tools.

Another important tool in Illustrator is the Illustrator Pen. This tool allows you to draw precise, scalable vector graphics. With the Illustrator Pen, you can create complex shapes and lines that can be resized without losing quality. Whether you’re creating logos, illustrations, or designs for print or web, the Illustrator Pen is an essential tool for any designer.

If you’re new to Adobe Illustrator or looking to brush up on your skills, Vivi Designing is here to help you learn. Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials can be a great way to learn new techniques and improve your workflow.

For those looking to take their skills to the next level, Vivi Designing offers numerous tips and techniques to help you take control of your design.

In addition to paid courses, we offer you step-by-step guides on some of the important techniques.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, there’s always more to learn in Adobe Illustrator. With the right computer and the right tools, you can create stunning designs and illustrations that stand out from the crowd. So why not take the time to learn Illustrator online for free and start creating your own vector art today? With the right training and practice, you can achieve your design goals and create the kind of work that truly inspires you.

In this article, you will learn about Basic Tools used in Adobe Illustrator. There are many tools in Illustrator that, 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)

 There are many ways to curve text in Adobe Illustrator. You can use the Arc effect from Envelope Distort, or you can use the

Type on a Path tool

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.

Compare the above image with the selection tool image and you with notice the changes in the shapes which have 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 helps save 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 similar attributes to the selected object will also get selected, and then you can edit those objects at the same time.

 

Magic-Wand-Tool

 

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 that help reshape the object.

When you right-click on the Pen tool in the tool panel you will see other tools:

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, and 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 of adding an anchor point, but the difference here is that a minus sign will appear next to the pointer when you 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.

Curvature-Tool

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.

Type-Tool

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 a 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

9. Rectangle Tool (M)       

The name clearly states what this 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

 

Rectangle-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-

Shape-Builder-Tool

In the above image to get the desired shape 2 overlapping circles are drawn with the help of the Ellipse tool. Select both 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 that will be removed will get highlighted in 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 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 at the end and with a 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 give a new effect to your artwork with the use of different colors. You can find the gradient tool in the tool panel. 

Gradient-Tool

 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 from 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 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.

Eyedropper-Tool
 

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 the 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 the 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.

Fill-Stroke-tool
 

16. Erase Tool (Shift +E)

You can easily identify from the name itself 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.

A Scissor Tool is used for cutting the path and a knife is used to cut an object or shape into two or more parts.

Erase-Tool

 

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 move the scissor towards the object and click on the anchor point of the path that you want to cut.

The blue highlighted line will show you the path that 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.

Knife-tool

Now learn the use of knives. 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.

Blend-Tool

In this image, you can see a blend options window; this will appear when you 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 a 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.

The 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 the Artboard Tool.

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.

FAQ’s

What is the basic tool in Adobe Illustrator?

The fundamental tool in Adobe Illustrator is the Selection Tool (shortcut: V). It allows you to select and manipulate objects, making it an essential tool for every Illustrator user.

What tools are there in Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator offers a wide range of tools to facilitate diverse design tasks. Some notable tools include the Pen Tool, Type Tool, Shape Tools, Gradient Tool, Eyedropper Tool, and Brush Tool, among others.

What is the most important tool in Adobe Illustrator?

Determining the “most important” tool can vary based on your design needs. However, the Pen Tool is often considered crucial due to its versatility in creating precise and intricate shapes.

What is the best tool for illustration?

When it comes to illustration, the Pen Tool and the Brush Tool are frequently used. The Pen Tool is great for creating sharp, vector-based designs, while the Brush Tool offers a more organic, hand-drawn feel.

Which Illustrator is best for beginners?

Adobe Illustrator CC (Creative Cloud) is the most suitable version for beginners. It offers a user-friendly interface, access to the latest features, and ample learning resources.

How to learn Illustrator easily?

Learning Illustrator can be made easier through a combination of online tutorials, courses, and practice. Start with basic tools and gradually explore advanced features to build a strong foundation.

Is Illustrator easy or hard?

Adobe Illustrator may seem complex initially, but with consistent practice and learning, it becomes more manageable. The key is to start with the basics and gradually build your skills over time.

How do I start designing in Illustrator?

To begin designing in Illustrator, follow these steps:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the interface and basic tools.
  2. Choose a project or concept to work on.
  3. Sketch your ideas on paper or digitally.
  4. Use the Pen Tool, Shape Tools, and other tools to bring your sketches to life.
  5. Experiment with colors, gradients, and effects to enhance your design.

How do I create a logo in Illustrator?

Creating a logo in Illustrator involves these steps:

  1. Define your brand’s identity and values.
  2. Sketch out several logo concepts.
  3. Open Illustrator and create a new document.
  4. Use the Pen Tool to trace or refine your sketch.
  5. Incorporate text using the Type Tool.
  6. Experiment with colors, shapes, and effects to finalize your logo.

Author

  • Derry Skinner

    Derry Skinner is a seasoned Adobe Illustrator virtuoso with a remarkable 14 years of experience. Derry's journey in the world of design has been marked by a commitment to excellence and innovation. Specializing in vector art and graphic design, Derry has a keen eye for detail and a talent for transforming ideas into captivating visuals. His extensive experience includes working on diverse projects, ranging from corporate branding to intricate illustrations. Derry Skinner is not just an expert in Adobe Illustrator; he is a trailblazer who combines experience with a passion for pushing the boundaries of visual design.

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