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Adobe Illustrator tools for beginners

Adobe Illustrator tools for beginners

You want to design your own imagination into a digital art work, but don’t know how to do it? Adobe Illustrator tools will help you create wonderful digital art crafts and designs.

What is Adobe Illustrator? Adobe Illustrator is an Adobe creative software which is used for making graphical designs, illustrations, typography and basic art work.

What else can we do with Adobe Illustrator? We can make logos, templates, icons, etc. for a creative workflow of any type.

Who works with Adobe Illustrator? People who want to be creative in design fields and want to show design ideas through illustrations, work with Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe Illustrator include various tools and each have different techniques to use it. Now we will deal with Adobe Illustrator tools which will help you draw any kind of shapes and create design of your own. We will also discuss about the use of rulers, guides, Shift key, Alt key, Ctrl key and some basic shortcuts.

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Adobe Illustrator tools that we will cover

  1. Pen tool
  2. Curvature tool
  3. Rectangle tool / ellipse tool / polygon tool / star tool / line tool
  4. Selection tool
  5. Direct selection tool
  6. Type tool
  7. Eye dropper tool

Pen tool

Pen tool adobe illustrator basic tools

To start drawing in Adobe Illustrator the most common tool is pen tool. This tool let’s you create any kind of free shaped image rather than making a regular shaped.

Pen tool works by clicking and adding multiple points without making a curve, or adding two points then dragging and moving handle to make a curve. You can also modify curves later when you want. Choose no color from the color palette while drawing, and increase the stroke size to make the outline visible at the beginning. Add color later after drawing outline.

So, when you add a point it will create an anchor point. It’s like a dot. Then after when you add another point it will make a line. Now to create a curve, add another point, also keep holding the left mouse key and drag and move the handle as you want the shape a curve.

To modify the curve later, direct selection tool is used.

Curvature tool

curvature tool

Curvature tool is like a pen tool but it’s only use is to create curves. Like in pen tool, this tool do not let you tweak the curves as you want. Pen tool creates some sharp points while making curves, which should be noted. Where as curvature tool makes curves without any sharp points.

Using curvature tool feels same like pen tool. Clicking and adding points and it will make the possible curve for your drawing. One thing to know is, do not add points very close if it is not needed. This will create unusual paths for a curve.

If you don’t want to make a curve and want a straight line during the process, press alt and click the last anchor point. It will create a straight line between last two anchor points.

Rectangle tool

rectangle tool adobe illustrator basic tools

Rectangle tool with other tools like ellipse tool, polygon tool, star tool and line tool are used for making regular shapes. Using this tool can create a defined shape for your illustration.

As specified, rectangle tool create rectangle and so on for others. With polygon tool you can create shapes with three or more than three sides like triangle, pentagon, heptagon and more. And also same for the star tool. Line tool will only create a straight line.

To use any shapes from above, click and drag. When you create a shape it may not be regular in width and height. To make a shape equal in width and height press shift, then click and drag.

Selection tool

selection tool adobe illustrator basic tools

After drawing any kind of shape, selection tool can be used to select the object and resize it. As mentioned above, to re-size the object without affecting the width and height, press shift and then click and drag any corner anchor point.

Also you can select the object with selection tool and then proceed to further editing with things like color, gradient, texture and more. Multiple image can be selected pressing shift key and clicking one image after another.

Direct selection tool

direct selection tool

Direct selection tool is like a selection tool but it is used for reshaping image in a detailed way. Anchor point on outline helps in re-shaping the image. If you want another anchor point on the outline, it can be added with pen tool.

After selecting the object, anchor point with handle will appear. For sharp points a dot will appear which can be dragged towards the center of meeting lines (which makes sharp point) to create a bendy curve.

Type tool

type tool

Type tool is for writing text in your illustration.

With the help of selection tool, text can be resized and text color can be changed from the color palette.

Eyedropper tool

eyedropper tool adobe illustrator basic tools

Color palette have millions of color to choose, but it’s not easy to choose colors on your own at the beginning.

This time, eyedropper tool comes in handy. With the help of google search you can find matching color combination for your illustration. Download and then import the color combination image in Adobe Illustrator.

To use eyedropper tool, select the image or selection you want to color and use eyedropper tool to pick colors from the color combination.

This will add same color to your selection which you picked with eyedropper tool.

Some other tools to know in Adobe Illustrator


Turning guides on will help placing image or selection in systematic order. This will help you find the center, two paths intersecting and overlapping of one image to another more easily. To turn on guides go to ‘view’ at the top navigation and click on ‘smart guides’.


Rulers is for proper spacing of images. To turn on Ruler go to ‘view’ and then to ‘Rulers’ and click ‘show rulers’.

Reflecting tool

Reflecting tool can create reflections of image, which will be helpful if the image you want to make can be dissected.


Stroke is outline of the image that you create. You can increase or decrease it’s size accordingly. Increasing the size of stroke will help in making the outline of image better.

Layers panel

After you have created many images, it becomes messy to arrange it. Looking at layers panel makes it easy to arrange image where it belongs, and which image goes back and which image comes first.

Shortcuts that you will use more

  • Undo = Ctrl + Z
  • Redo = Ctrl + Shift + Z
  • Select image + Press Alt + drag = To duplicate Image OR go to top on ‘edit’ -> ‘copy’ -> ‘paste in place’
  • Lock selected image = Ctrl + 2
  • Unlock all image = Ctrl + Alt + 2
  • Shift key + Rotate = Rotates image by angle of 45

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