Authentic voices. Remarkable stories. AOL On Originals showcase the passions that make the world a more interesting place.
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One keyboard shortcut that we haven't discussed yet is the Command or Ctrl key which automatically takes you to the last selection tool you used. This is going to make it very easy for us to draw something and then click to deselect and then draw something again and click to deselect. So what I would like you to do is move your cursor anywhere in your document window, hold down the Command key or the Ctrl key on a Windows machine and click one time, release the Command or the Ctrl key and you are right back where you started with the Pen Tool.
Pay no attention to the shapes on your screen right now. Just position your cursor anywhere at all, press and hold the left mouse button down. Do not click and release. With the mouse button held down, drag the mouse in one direction or the other. As you will drag, you will see handles extending in both directions from the point that you created. Go ahead and drag two or three squares in one direction or another and then let go of the mouse button. We still have just one point which is exactly what we would have if we clicked. The difference though by pressing and dragging is we have defined this point to be a curve point and the handle determines the angle and the amount of curvature of the path as it goes through that point.
Position your cursor somewhere else in your document, it doesn't matter where. Press and hold the mouse button down. As soon as you hold the button down, you will see that a line appears between your original starting point and this point and that this is a curved line. Press and drag in any direction. As you drag your mouse, you will notice that you are defining the angle of the path as it goes through this point and the amount of curvature of that path. Let go of the mouse button and then continue on pressing, dragging and releasing to create a curve shape and just as we did with our straight lines and corner points, we are going to go back to our starting point. We are going to press and drag again and this will define the angle of the curve as the path reenters that initial starting point.
Once you have done that, release the mouse button and you have created your first shape with curve points. Hold down the Command key or the Ctrl key on a Macintosh and click in the center of your shape, let go over the Ctrl or Command key and then hit Delete. Pause the video if you would like and experiment a little bit with curved points. What we are going to do now is recreate the circle. This circle was not created with the Ellipse Tool, it was created with the Pen Tool. It consists of four points, top, bottom, left and right. Each point has the same amount of curvature which gives it a perfectly symmetrical circle. Let's start at the top center, position your cursor right on the grid line at the top center, press and hold and drag two squares to the right. Release the mouse button, move the mouse to the right-hand side, press and hold and drag the mouse two squares down. Continue this process all the way around the circle at the bottom and the left-hand side.
By the way, if you press and you start to drag in the wrong direction, you will know it right away because your curve will not look right. Don't let go over the mouse button. Keep the mouse button held down and just swivel the handle around so that it's going in the right direction. When you get back to original starting point, make sure you get the little circle on the cursor, press and hold and drag two squares to the right. This defines the amount of curvature as the path reenters the top point and that's all there is to creating a circle or any curve shape with the Pen Tool. Hold down the Command key or the Ctrl key and click anywhere in your document to deselect and then go over the Command key or the Ctrl key.
Again, I think it's just a great habit to get into, especially if you are new to Illustrator, to always deselect the objects once you are done with them, so that you do not accidentally affect them in any way.