Skip to main content

Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners

Lesson 12 of 34

The Pen Tool: Drawing, Stroke and Fill


Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners

Lesson 12 of 34

The Pen Tool: Drawing, Stroke and Fill


Lesson Info

The Pen Tool: Drawing, Stroke and Fill

We're going to start drawing and working with some of the simple drawing tools that are in InDesign, and they're not super extensive anyway. There's a lot you can do, but sometimes you need to go out to a different program, say Illustrator, and we will actually jump out at some point during the course to look at how those two work together. But there are a lot of things we can do inside InDesign as far as drawing shapes. And whether it's something simple like the shapes down here, the arrow heads that we have. I did not create these in InDesign, but you could. Just little squares here. And sometimes just interesting frames. We might need to draw those as well. And we can create those in InDesign. So I just wanted to show you some of the tools that are there. How we draw different shapes, and how we can manipulate them as well. And then we will actually go out to illustrator and grab this particular shape and bring that in and then work with the shapes that were created in Illustrator, ...

and actually finish working with them in InDesign. So, I just want to show you what's there. We're just going to jump to sort of the blank canvas again. Super blank canvas. Let's actually get rid of these guys as well. Start from scratch there on that. And I just wanna work with some of the drawing tools, the pen tools. So, I'm going to rip off this little tool box again, and come over here to my pen tool. And if I click and hold, I can see there are a lot of different options underneath there. We're going to use each of those in just a few minutes. So the pen tool, lets me create shapes that are not as simplistic as those that I created with say the rectangle tool or the ellipse tool. Now I could create this square that I created with the rectangle tool. I can create that with the pen tool if I want to, but because it's a shape that we're gonna use a lot, It's nice to have the tool built in, but they basically are doing the same thing. They're basically creating a series of segments, and dots or points. So points and the segments that connect them. And that's what we're going to do with the pen tool. So, I'm gonna zoom in just a little bit, and with the pen tool, I wanna go ahead and just start drawing whatever shape we need. And for this, like I said, we're going to keep it pretty simple. If you're going to do some really high-ended drawing, you're not going to use InDesign, you're going to use Illustrator for that. And probably with a tablet as well. I'm just working with a mouse for this. But often, I might want just a graphic element that repeats throughout my document. Maybe it's a squiggly line with an arrowhead on it, or something like that. Or I'm creating a shape that I wanna put text on as well, and so I could put that type on a path if I wanted to. So I need to create that. So the first thing I wanna do with my pen tool. And unfortunately I can't really zoom in on that icon so you can see it. So hopefully, you can see it's a little pen tool with a little star next to it. And that just means it's ready to draw. So I'm gonna click and just create a point. That's all I've done. I've just clicked once, created that point. That's the beginning of my shape. I have two different options from this point. What kind of points do I wanna create? A hard point where I have a corner. If I just click again I get that second point. And again, let me zoom in a little bit more here. Just so we can see a little bit better. I clicked there and when I created that second point, it created the segment between the two. But when I click again, I now have this hard corner point. So that's just a hard corner point. And that's what we get when we just click and create a point, and it fills in the segment in between. But sometimes you want something that has more of a curvature to it. So I have to take a second step with that. So if I want to draw another item here. I can click and I'm holding the mouse key down, and now I'm dragging out, and I get these draw handles that lets me actually create that arc between the two points. And that's a smooth corner point. So if I let go of that, and if I come down here and I wanna draw that second part and I click and hold again, it's going to continue that curvature that I created. Now if I decided I wanted this to suddenly be a hard corner point, I can simply just click on the center and it will actually get rid of this extra draw handle, so this handle is affecting this curve here, but now it's going to draw from this point forward as a hard corner point. So I can just switch back and forth between those two types of points all that I want. I kind of drew myself into a little circle here basically. I'm gonna do this a little bit more, I wanted to have an open point where I can actually come back and bring back my shape so that I close it up. As I roll over that first starting point, my pen tool changes to a little circle that's next to the pen icon. And that just shows me it's going to create a closed shape. So it's going to continue that. So again, this is a frame, no I don't have the tool that makes this crazy shape for me, I had to create it myself. But it works exactly the same way. When I... Let's see if that did that. I'm gonna undo that, I didn't quite get it on top of that to close that up. So now, I know that that is a closed path, and I can kinda see it's got sort of a dashed blue line underneath it. It might be hard to see. But I can tell that that is a closed shape. Now that shape I can do anything with just like when I drew that rectangle. I can fill that shape with a color. I can play with the strokes like we did earlier. Make it a little bit fatter so we can see it. So again, that's just exactly the same as if I had drawn it with the shape tool that's here. I just had to do it by hand. Even if I don't close off that shape, so I'm just going to do undo, I'm going to step backwards a couple of steps until I get to that last item here, and I don't close it, and I just leave it and switch to another tool. I now have this entire shape, I didn't necessarily have to close it, and when I selected the selection tool, which again works with the frame, it's working with the entire line as a whole. As if it was one item, which it is, but it's sort of in this container, it's known as a bounding box. So as I change size to that, it's distorting the image, it still keeps the same thickness of a stroke, but it distorts the image to the size I need it to. And I can still fill it with a color if I want. Let's come over here to a color and just fill it with that same color. And it will fill it, it just will take those two open points and it will take that shortest distance between two points is that straight line. And it just runs that straight line straight across and still lets you have a fill to that. But it doesn't have to be a closed item. Let undo that so we just have our simple line that's here.

Class Description

Learn Basic Design Skills.

Adobe® InDesign CC® is the industry's go-to tool making for layouts that combine images and text. Learn the most efficient way to work with this indispensable software in Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners with Erica Gamet.

In this beginner-friendly class you’ll learn how to:

  • Navigate the Adobe InDesign CC workspace
  • Work with text, images, and color
  • Export and Print

Erica will show you how to execute layouts that include text, graphic elements, and images. You’ll learn basic design skills you can use to create professional-looking magazine layouts, newsletters, flyers and more.

If you want to take charge of your graphic design, Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners with Erica Gamet will get you started.

Level: Beginner, No prior Adobe InDesign experience required.

Don't have Adobe Creative Cloud yet? Get it now and save 20% so you can follow along with the course!


Adobe InDesign CC 2018



Fantastic course. I have used Illustrator and photoshop, but learned when under tight deadlines. We are going to begin using inDesign to publish a more extensive multipage newsletter, and I wanted to build a better knowledge foundation of this tool, rather than just diving in. The course was comprehensive and I feel that I'll be able to make a better product after taking the course.


Have loved Erica since I was a baby designer. She is a great educator, and even though I have been using ID for about 8 years, I just changed from CS6 to CC. This was a great refresher as well as a mental upgrade to new options and effects.

Gilbert Beltran

I enjoyed these classes. Learned the Indesign toolbox and picked up a few smart tricks. Erica is great at keeping up the pace and being very clear and easy to follow.