Subscriber only lesson.
Sign up to this course to view this lesson.
Following the Path
How to use the Pen Tool to create basic paths or trace an image.
When to use
Creating a path with the Pen Tool is very useful for tasks such as tracing a drawing or a photograph as well as creating shapes from scratch.
- Download the image of the peppers for free from Pexels (https://static.pexels.com/photos/57426/paprika-vegetables-colorful-food-57426.jpeg)
- Open the Following the Path - Exercise.ai file and then open the image of the peppers.
- Press Command/Ctrl + X to cut the image, and then in your Illustrator file press Command/Ctrl + V to paste it.
- Hold down the Shift Key and drag inwards from any of the four corners to scale the image down proportionaly so that it fits within the artboard.
- If your image still isn't an exact fit, select the artboard and then go to the Object Menu and choose Artboards > Fit to Artwork Bounds.
- Once your image is fitting nicely in the artboard you can open your Layers Panel and rename the layer to 'Peppers'.
- Double click to the right of the layer name and from the dialog box that appears, choose the option that says 'Dim Images to 50%' and press OK to apply the changes.
- Click on the small lock icon next to the eyeball of the pepper layer to make sure that it's locked.
- Create a new layer above this layer and name it 'Contour' before switching over to the Pen Tool (P).
- Click to create your first point with the pen and make sure that you have a black stroke with no fill selected for your colors.
- Click and hold to create the next point and try to follow the curve of the peppers in the image.
- Repeat this until you have traced all the way around the first pepper and close the shape.
- Do this again for the remaining two peppers.
- If you are having trouble following a shape while tracing, make sure that Snap To Grid and Snap To Pixels are both unchecked under the View Menu.
- The Pen Tool is one of the most useful and powerful tools in Adobe Illustrator. You can create very detailed illustrations or logos with a seemingly unlimited number of layers that will be placed on top of one another.
- If you are feeling adventurous go ahead and try tracing over some of the more detailed shapes and areas inside of the peppers on a new layer above the 'Contour' layer containing your outlines.
Lesson notes are only available for subscribers.