In order to understand the Pen Tool, you need to understand anchor points and the four different types of anchor points that you can create while working in Illustrator. We are going to start by opening up a file that has examples of these four anchor points. To do that, click the Open link in the welcome screen, go to your Desktop, open up the Project Files folder, the Part 1 folder and the Lesson 6 folder. The file that we want to open up is Pen Shapes, select that and click on Open.
This document contains four objects, each object illustrates a different type of anchor point. We are going to be recreating these objects to practice using the Pen Tool and then we will move on to some more complex objects. The first object is the blue square. The blue square consists of four points, one on each corner. These points are what are called corner points.
Corner points in Illustrator have no curve to them, whatsoever, and they are used to create objects that consists of straight lines and angles. Directly below the blue square is the yellow circle. The yellow circle actually consists of four points at the top, bottom, left and right hand side. Each of these points is a curve point. Curve point, as you might imagine, are used to create objects that consists of smooth curves. Because we haven't seen curve points yet, I am going to select the yellow circle and zoom in, so that we can take a closer look at the points and the handles associated with them.
Select the Direct Selection Tool, which is just to the right of the regular Selection Tool and then click on your circle, and then press-and-drag to create a selection marquee around just the right hand point. What you will see is that this point has two handles associated with it. The handles, which are the small blue dots, control the curvature of the line as it passes through the point and the point is the small blue square.
So far we have seen corner points with the square and curve points with the circle. If we look at the heart, we see curved corner points. With a regular corner point, you have two straight lines that intersect at an angle. A curved corner point is where two different curves intersect. Both the top and the bottom of the heart contain curved corner points. I am going to select the heart, so we can take a closer look. I am going to select the top of the heart and you will see that this particular point has only one handle. It actually has two handles that are laid right on top of each other, which is why we have a symmetrical intersection of those two curves. On the left hand side and the right hand side, we just have normal curve points.
Finally, the green arrow is an example of what is called a combination corner point. A combination corner point is where a curve and a straight line intersect. For example, where the straight lines of the arrowhead meet the curved lines of the body of the arrow are examples of combination points. One straight line segment and one curved line segment creates a combination corner point.