Illustrator is by far one of my favorite programs by Adobe. “AI” has really helped me as a designer. With Illustrator I’ve been able to conquer tasks that were once daunting when done in Photoshop . The MOST IMPORTANT TOOL to ever be utilized through such a program, is the “pen” tool. Though I adore the use of the pen tool and its many incarnations across popular software, using it filled me with dread. In high school I was a kid who dabbled in digital art and other computer based design. Then, my only two programs were Photoshop and PaintTool SAI.
I was only using Photoshop when I needed graphics back then (a common fledgling mistake). I would see the tool and be confused as to its purpose, even wondering how on earth it even drew lines in the first place. I had a friend by the name of Joe who ONLY used the pen tool when he did his work and it would always baffle me. Little did I know, that a process called “vectoring” was involved. I had no idea that a gateway to mastering my craft in Graphic Design was right there before me.
I had learned about something called “Bezier Curves”, a simplified explanation here. With the use of carefully drawn lines and curves (rendered by computer algorithms) I could draw precise lines that stayed intact even when the art was scaled up, no pixelation. I could easily do line art and fill between the lines in ways that could halve the time needed to do full scale work. Ever since then, I had practiced until I was able to master use of the pen tool. I would recommend that anyone who isn’t familiar with vectoring programs to learn the pen tool.
P.S. There is a game by The Bezier Method that really helps with teaching the pen tool to beginners.