Illustrator Smooth Tool | How To Use The Pencil And Smooth Tools In Illustrator

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How To Use The Pencil And Smooth Tools In Illustrator


Hi, this is Anne with Graphic Design. How To and today we’re going to talk about the Pencil tool and the Smooth tool And those can be really helpful for a couple of reasons, First redrawing paths and smoothing them out or just freeform drawing. So I’ll introduce both ways of using the Pencil tool and the Smooth tool. Let’s get started Okay to show you What the Pencil tool does. I’m going to start out with this letter. Y And we’ll manipulate this using the Pencil tool. So this font is Grand Hotel and you can get that on Google fonts. And I’ve got the link in my description. So if you want to grab that font first, you can go ahead and do that. But right now I’m going to hit SHIFT. Cmd O to make an outline version of this. Okay, and right now we have a fill and no stroke. So I’m going to hit SHIFT X to switch those. Now we have a stroke and no fill. And now I’m going to show you how to use the Pencil tool to redraw the edge of this. I think I want this part to kind of extend out this way. So I’m going to get my Pencil tool and just start drawing right along this edge. And then we’ll go up here like this, And I’m going to circle back around, And I’m going to end up going the same way along that line, And that is really important. So if you start along a path here, you have to end up going the same way for it to redraw. And you have to end up pretty much right on the path. You can be a little bit off, but if you’re off a little ways, it won’t reconnect that path and you’ll end up with something like this. And that is not a good thing. So I’ll undo, and now you can see that. This part of the path is not as uniform as the other. So I’m going to hit N, which is my Pencil tool again and OPTION to smooth this out. Now OPTION will switch me to the Smooth tool. And if that is not working for you, then just double. Click your Pencil tool and choose this one. Option key toggles to Smooth tool. And there are a lot of other options here too. I like to keep my pencil pretty smooth. So it just kind of smoothes itself out. If I wanted to follow exact lines, you want to put it down here towards accurate, but I’ll leave it at smooth for now. And here is how close your path will have to be in order for it to actually connect it. And here’s where you can choose how it will manipulate your selected paths within six pixels. I usually just leave this alone, so we’ll say, Okay. And now I’m going to hit OPTION to get that. Smooth tool. You can see my cursor changed when I hit OPTION and then just click and drag along this edge and do that a few times until you can start seeing a difference. I’m going to start along this edge now and kind of smooth this one out and we’ll go right along over here. And as you can see, it’s really getting rid of a lot of anchor points and getting a really smooth look to it, which is what we want. Now you can probably tell that parts of this are thicker and when you notice that, you’re actually going to have to manipulate points. So I’m going to hit my A tool. Which is your white arrow. I’m going to click right on this point and then just move it down like this. And I can move this one in a little bit. And then I think I’ll hit my N tool or Pencil tool and hold OPTION again to smooth this part out one more time. I’m going to zoom in with my Z tool. And then I’m going to redraw this section a little bit. I think I’ll just kind of cut it off right here. So I’m just going to start along the path And then I’ll finish going the same Wayand I see. It got a little bumpy, so let’s hit OPTION and clean that up. I’ll hit A and grab this point. Move it up a little bit. I’m going to select the whole thing and hit SHIFT X to switch it back to a fill instead of an outline. And this will help me see that I need to work on this even more. Now, another way to use the Pencil tool is to do freeform drawing And we’ll connect to this Y in a different way, so we can have a little more uniform line. I’ll just go ahead and draw right along here as a freeform drawing. And I’ll just curl this around. You probably noticed that when I let off it totally smoothes it out for me, and that’s because my pencil setting is so smooth over here. So if you’re not getting a similar look, you can double click on the Pencil tool and change that. Now I have no fill and no stroke, so I’m going to hit D to get a white fill and a black stroke. Now I’ll hit the forward slash key to clear my fill. Alright, so this is pretty much what I want. And now I can increase the weight of this. I’ll increase it until it’s just about the same as what we see on the Y. Okay, and I want to get the same rounded edge. So to do that, I can round the cap and round the corner and it will just round it out nicely. Now I want the white to be similar width all the way through. So I’m going to hit my A tool, which is my Direct Selection tool and just move this out. Maybe move this one up a little bit, but it messed with my smoothness. So I’m going to hit N and then hold OPTION while I’m dragging, so I can get that smooth. Look that I want, Okay, if you hit CMD Y you can see that. This is a different type of object than this filled shape. It’s just a stroke. And we want it to also be a filled object. So I’m going to hit Cmd E, which is expand and we’ll expand both the fill and stroke. And I’ll say OK, And now we can connect it to this piece. And to do that, I’m going to select both. And I’ll just hit SHIFT. M, which is the Shape Builder tool and kind of connect the pieces that way by dragging over the pieces. And I’ll zoom in a little bit. So we can see here that we have some issues. I’ll probably just manually delete most of these points with the P minus tool. You just hit P and then minus on your keyboard to get to that. And now I’ll go ahead and smooth with the N and then hold OPTION. Now, a lot of times when you’re smoothing If you get close to a corner, you’re going to see something like this happen. And if that happens, you can hit SHIFT C and that will get you to the Convert Anchor Point tool and you can just click once right on that and it should take care of the problem. Sometimes it can be a little more tricky than that. But for this case, it works just fine. Well smooth this out a little more. And now I’m going to CMD minus to see what we have. Now we can freeform draw up here and you can pretty much. Do whatever you want. And if you get pretty close to that end, you’ll see a little circle. And that means when you let off, it’ll connect the pieces. So that’s pretty handy, And now if we hit the I tool and select the black, it’ll fill it with the same black that this has. And then, of course, we can always smooth this up. And that is how you draw freeform with the Pen tool and use the Smooth tool to sort of fix what you drew. Now I realize this is not the greatest graphic in the world, but I hope you’ve learned a little more about the Pencil and the Smooth tool. So if you liked this video, please click on the Like button, and I will see you next week for another graphic design tutorial. Thank you!