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Tracing the outer shape of the sketch with the Pen Tool.
When to use
It is usually best to start with an outline for the sketch or photo that you want to trace before working your way inwards. Once you have an outline you can always come back to it later if you want to add a line around your entire subject. This is generally easier than merging all of your separate shapes at the end to try and get an outer path. It also helps to give us a sense of how things are looking before we get lost in any of the details.
- Open the First Pass - Exercise.ai file in Illustrator
- After opening the file, press 'P' to switch to your Pen Tool and make sure that you have a solid black stroke selected with no fill color.
- Select your Trace layer and then zoom into the sketch before clicking and making your first point with the Pen Tool.
- Continue to work your way around the shape to create an outline.
- Once you make your way around the shape you can take a look and see if there are any areas you would like to add to or change, and since we are working on an entirely separate layer from our sketch we don't have to worry about messing anything up.
- After you have closed the path and finished creating an outline, make the line a bit heavier by using the Stroke Panel and increasing the weight of the outline.
Hints & tips
- When you begin tracing the outline, remember to click to make a point, and then if you want to create a smooth curve, click and hold your cursor before moving it around. You can use the guides created by the Pen Tool to see the shape and trajectory of your lines, and if you mess anything up you can always use the handles and anchor points to modify your curves.
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