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Design Surface Patterns From Scratch

Lesson 4 of 31

Basic Tools: Pen, Text, & Blob

Bonnie Christine

Design Surface Patterns From Scratch

Bonnie Christine

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Lesson Info

4. Basic Tools: Pen, Text, & Blob
Bonnie demonstrates how to use some of Illustrator’s most useful tools to create basic designs.

Lesson Info

Basic Tools: Pen, Text, & Blob

I'm gonna introduce the pin tool to you first. I'm gonna just come right over here. And I have a couple of, this is just a couple of lines I drew on pen and paper and scanned in. We're gonna go over that later. But I just wanted to give us a base for how to use the pin tool in Illustrator. So, the pin tool is right over here in your toolbar. The keyboard shortcut for that is P. And I'm gonna zoom in. The way this works, is that if you drop a point and you drop another point, it'll create a line. And I want my stroke to be black, so, I'm gonna select my stroke over here and turn it to just something dark here. So, in Illustrator you have your stroke and your fill. And these squares over here will tell you what you're working with. So, the big solid square is your fill, that's like my little odd shape up here, its fill is orange. If I hit this, you see it has no stroke, but if I want to add a stroke to it, then I could add a stroke to it. And now it has an outline. It's kind of hard to s...

ee, but now it has an outline. So, when you're drawing straight lines, usually you want a stroke, so that you can see the line, unless you're drawing complete shapes, then you'll want to fill. So, the pin tool can draw straight lines. But what the pin tool is really good for is drawing curved lines. So, if I drop a point, and come over here and start to drop a point but don't release my mouse, I can start dragging this line to make a curve. And this is something you'll get the hang of really quick. If you go up, it curves down. If you go down, it curves up. And it previews what the line is gonna show to you with that blue line before you drop it. So, if I drop it here, I have a fill on, so it's got this kind of half-fill. I'm gonna take that off, so that all we have is the line. Okay, so, if I, I've dropped two points, if I drop another point, it automatically curves in the opposite direction. So, it's gonna, you can't really curve up yet, but it's gonna do this kind of S shape if you want to go down. But it's gonna assume that you're kind of gonna go with a smooth line, so it automatically does that. And we can just keep drawing like a little curve over here. If you need to go in and edit these anchor points, you just hit A for your direct selection tool, and you can come in and move these around, and also change the handles. So, I'm just gonna try to trace over my little sketch right here with the pin tool. I'm gonna start here, zoom in a little bit. Come down here and try to draw that kind of lower curve. It's just gonna be really easy to do a line like this, because it's already going in the direction that I want it to go. So, the key with the pin tool, is to not just drop a point; drop your first point and then hold and drag. It can also do straight lines, like I said before. And if you want to do straight lines, you just don't hold and drag. So, I'm gonna click, did you see? I clicked off that, because if I came over here and started, it would have continued this line with me. So, I just want to end this line by hitting command, and that takes me back to either the direct or the indirect selection tool. And just click anywhere in the art board to drop the line that I was working on. Release command, I get back to the pin tool. I'm gonna drop a point here. And if you don't hit, if you don't drag your line, you just get straight lines all the way. So, zigzags are really easy. So, what if you want to draw something like this up here, where the pin tool, by nature, is not gonna be happy with this corner point? So, I'm gonna show you how to do that. Drop your first point, and come over here and just start to drag, to follow that curve. And then this one is gonna automatically work really great. Just like that. But if I try to do this kind of thing, it's just not gonna let me get a nice point. So, I'm gonna hit Command + Z. What you need to do is, is with your direct selection tool, deselect this last point. So, I'm gonna hit the command tool, and just click right there. Let me make sure I'm doing it right. That's not working. There we go. I was using my direct selection tool. I was using the black arrow tool, you have to use the white arrow tool. So, just go back and hit on that. I'm just gonna start over for you, so that this is not confusing at all. Hit your first point. Start to drag and drop this curve. This point comes straight down. And then with your, let's change this so it looks good, and then with your direct selection tool, just come in here and click on that point right there. Then it's gonna work for us. I lost that. Okay, so I lost that key. But if you go back and click on it with the pin tool, it picks it right back up. Now you can just start following this curve, and back out. We're gonna be using the pin tool a whole bunch. See that curve? This is now a vector, and my sketches I can delete. We're gonna be using the pin tool a whole bunch. It's gonna be really easy for you to fall in the groove with that. The pin tool also has a fly out menu, so if you come over here and click on the pin tool, you have add anchor point, delete anchor point, and convert anchor point. The convert anchor point tool will turn a point into a curve, and a curve into a point. So, if I select that and come in here, and want to change my point here, all I have to do is come in and start dragging and drop, dragging that point, and it changes it into a curve. You can do the opposite as well. Now I'm gonna get into adding and taking away anchor points. So, if I just want to draw a banner, I'm gonna start with a rectangle. I think for this we'll fill it and take away the stroke. So, to take away a fill or a stroke, you just this white box with the red slash in it, which is none. Okay, so you can see this right here, I have four anchor points, which is all you need for a square. But if I want to make this like a banner, I want to come in here and add an anchor. So, I'm gonna zoom in. And I have my smart guides on, so you can see the center here. I'm gonna just click once on that line to add an anchor point, and once over here to add an anchor point. So, now I've added two anchors points. If I hit the A on my keyboard to get to the direct selection tool, I can come in and grab that anchor point, and just start bringing it in. And because I have my smart guides on, it snaps to my center line. You see that? So, I can do this on both sides. And in just a second, you know, I made a little banner. If you want to delete anchor points, like if I wanted this to just be a half banner, you can select delete anchors points, come in here and just click on the one you want to delete, and it takes it away. So, let's see. Let me introduce to you the type tool. Type tool is right beside the pin tool. And this is how you're gonna add text to any of your documents. And we use this in illustrating all the time, either to label things, like I've done on this, or typography in pattern design right now is really popular, so you can work with text. So, I'm just gonna kind of delete these little lines I've been working on. And the type tool keyboard shortcut is T. So, that brings up our type tool. And if you just drop anywhere on the page, it'll give you your cursor, and you can start typing "Hello, World." Uh, I'm gonna make this bigger. And to do this, there are couple of different ways to do just about everything in Illustrator, so you're just getting a snapshot and seeing how I chose to do them. But I'm gonna use the scale tool. So, scale tool's keyboard shortcut is S. Let's zoom in so you can see this. So, that automatically puts a marquee right at the bottom left hand corner of my text. So, from there, I can start dragging to make this bigger. So, it doesn't keep it proportional unless I hold down the Shift key. So, usually, you want to hold down the Shift key if you're scaling text with the scale tool. The other thing, is that the scale tool is much more accurate if you drag at a diagonal, any diagonal, just not vertical or horizontal. So, if I'm dragging from straight here, you can see, like, oh, it goes upside, it's really hard to control. And if I go straight up, you'll feel with your mouse that you feel out of control. So, drag from a diagonal gives you the most control. You can do it from any diagonal. The other thing that you can do with a scale tool is move where it's gonna scale it from, so, if you want to scale from the middle, you drop the marquee right in the middle, and then you start dragging from a diagonal. Middle is usually what you'll be scaling from. But text, you'll usually be scaling from the bottom left hand corner. Yes? So, once you use your scale tool for the text, are you able to edit your text once you've scaled it? Yes. Okay. So, this is still editable text. There is a way to turn it into total vector art, but you usually don't want to do that until you're so sure you're done with it. But it has a great use to do that too. But right now it's still editable text. And if I wanna edit this, I can just hit my T to get back to my type tool, and come in here and start typing, like, "Oh, Hello!" So, to get off this, I hit the Command, which takes me back to my direct selection tool, and hit off of it. I can move this around. The other thing you can do in Illustrator is type on a path. And, so, if you want curved text, Illustrator makes it so easy. I'll grab my pin tool, and draw a curve first. So, I'm gonna hit P, and I'm just gonna come in here and draw a line like so. And this looks funny, because I have a fill and no stroke, and I'm gonna just change that to no fill and a stroke. So, to come in here and type on this, all you have to do is hit your T, for the type tool, and once you get close the beginning of this line, it'll change to a curved line. This works on any path that you've drawn, whether it be a shape or a line. So, if I drop my cursor there, then I get to say something, "I'm so excited to teach for CreativeLive." And it's typed on a path. So, my line has disappeared, but my text is now on a curve. Command + O to zoom out for that. We'll be doing more with text and typography, but that is the intro. If you need to know how to change your text or your font, you'll have character, the character panel, if you choose that, will pop up. And this is where you can find all the things that you're used to using like your font. You can change the font. You can change, I'm gonna scroll this over so you can see it as I work, your character panel. You'll be able to change the font size. You'll be able to change the distance between your letters. Bullseye. Yeah. And then this is where you'll find your all caps or your low caps, or whatever. But everything you're used to using with regular font programs, you'll find under the character panel. Okay, let's move onto some more drawing tools. So, in addition to the pin tool, we also have the pencil tool. So, the pin tool is all about dropping anchors and curved lines, the pencil tool is more of a free hand draw. And, so, I'm gonna use the Wacom tablet tomorrow for our drawing. But today I'm just gonna use the mouse. And I'll show you, it gets a little iffy with your mouse, but you can do it if you don't have access to anything else at home, you can totally still do it. So, the pencil tool keyboard shortcut is N. I'll click on that, and then just kind of start drawing in here. And you can see, when I drop this and give it a stroke ... I mean, that's not terrible, but it is a pretty simple line. You can draw shapes with the pencil tool. Can be a little difficult to get them really smooth and great looking. One tool that is here to help you, is the smooth tool. So, if you come out to the fly out menu of the pencil tool, you can select the smooth tool. And I have this kind of zigzag selected right now, but if I hit Command and come up here and grab this curve line, and come off of Command, then you'll have your smooth tool back. You can come in here and start smoothing this out. So, I use this all the time, smooth lines out with the smooth tool. If I come down here and grab the circle, you can do the same thing. So, this just kind of allows you to go back in and correct some of that rickety mouse motion that you get from drawing from your mouse. Yes? This is a little ahead of it. That's okay. I know image trace, when it creates your lines, does smooth tool work on it? It does. It does. It does. And there's also a simplified path tool that gonna make your live trace a lot easier to deal with too, because you get all those little, tiny anchor points usually. So, we'll get into that next segment. Thank you. Yeah, you're welcome. Are we good online? We got a question that just came in from Dez, and they say, "How do you type on a path, "if you want to have half of the text on top of the circle, "and half on the inside of the bottom circle?" Does that make sense? Yes. And it can be a little tricky. But let me see if I can do it for you. It's gonna throw us into one other tool we haven't looked at yet, but that's good. I'm gonna grab a circle, come and draw it, holding the Shift key down, so it's a true circle. It doesn't really matter, but I'm gonna give it a stroke and no fill. Did I explain the stroke and fill clearly enough? Kind of glazed over that, but these two boxes down here are what both of those are. So, in order to do this, you could've either drawn these curves with the pin tool or with an ellipse tool. I'm gonna do a circle, and come in under the eraser tool, and grab the scissor tool. So, if I grab the scissor tool, what that does is break, it breaks shapes apart. So, I can click on this anchor point there and here, and then it has separated those two. So, if I'm not mistaken, if I come in with a type tool, I can say, "Hello." And if I want this to be centered, all of your paragraph settings are up here too, so, if I wanna align that text. And then I believe I can come down here and start typing, "My name is Bonnie." It's upside down. So, that's what I was afraid of. And it is easy to remedy. But I'm gonna get back to her on that. Okay. Absolutely. Yeah, I'll get back to you on that, on how to flip that upside down. Okay, sure. That was a good question though. Was there anything else? Well, we had one that came up, I know this is what you were doing before from Aragon, but they were asking about, "Do you have snap to point or snap to grid active "when you're doing this?" Hmm, let's see. I have smart guides and snap to point. Okay, good, that answers that. Okay, so we're using the pencil tool, and we use the smooth tool, and then the third drawing tool that Illustrator has is called the blob brush tool. I don't know why they named it that, but you can draw really beautiful blobs with it. Shift + B is the keyboard shortcut for that, and it's found right under your tools, under here, right under paint brush tool. And what that gives, this is like drawing with a crayon. There's no single anchor points. It draws larger lines, and, so, there are lots of little anchor points in here. But you can't change the whole curvature of this line, you would be coming in and changing just on segment of it. I actually used the ball brush tool more than anything else. It's great for tracing your artwork and working off of a photograph for. So, I know I'm making some beautiful shapes over there. When you're using the blob brush tool, your circle is the size that you'll be drawing in. And to change that, you use the left and right bracket tools. So, the left bracket tool will take this down in size, so, it's really little bitty. And the right bracket tool will bring it up in size, so it's pretty big, and it can go really big. We'll be using that a whole bunch tomorrow, but I just wanted to let you know that it exists today. Question on the blob tool: is there a setting or something that changes the roundness of curves and things? Yeah, so, if you double click on any of the tools, you'll get a panel that comes up with some options in it. So, if you double click on the blob brush tool, you will be able to work with the size here, the angle and the roundness. Is that what you were looking for, like for of an oval? Whatever, so that the finished shape, 'cause like when you were drawing, say if you did a zigzag, you'd end up with a wave back and forth, so it seems to soften the edges of whatever it is that you're drawing. Like a blob. It does. Yeah, like a blob. It's very blobby. So, if you need points, you'll use the pin tool. But you can come in and change this kind of stuff, which will give you a, it'll give you a different effect, kind of like a, almost like calligraphy type of thing when you have curves. And there are some other options that get opened up when you use a Wacom tablet as well. Great. Thank you. Yeah, you're welcome. So, I'm gonna take this back to round and round. The next thing I want to show you is the eraser tool. So, the eraser tool is great for subtracting shapes, subtracting something from artwork that you've already done, or just getting rid of something. You can select and hit delete things, but you can also grab the eraser tool, which is keyboard shortcut, um ... Shift + E. And I have this, I changed this too, so, I'm gonna bring it back to round. So, the same thing happens with the eraser tool, the left bracket tool brings it small, and the right bracket tool brings it big. And you can just come in here, I'm gonna select this bird, and just start chopping away at it if you need to take big parts away like this, or if you need to zoom way in, say, and just trim up something small like his beak. And I can go way down in size, and come in here and just start trimming away like this. And that can get a little difficult with your mouse too, but you can do it.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Did you know that you can turn your sketches, drawings, and doodles into patterns? Join Bonnie Christine for an introduction to creating patterns to use in your very own fabric prints, stationery designs, website backgrounds, cell phone covers, and much, much more.

This course will take you through the process of working with Adobe Illustrator to create digital versions of your artwork. You’ll learn tips and tricks for working in Illustrator and how you can use the software to create repeating patterns of your very own drawings. Bonnie will guide you step-by-step through the process of transforming sketches and tracings into vector art which can be used for an endless array of printable and online projects from customized stationery to computer wallpaper. You’ll also learn how to assemble your collection of designs into a portfolio you can use to impress potential collectors and buyers.

This course will lay a solid foundation for those new to Illustrator and open up exciting new possibilities for people already familiar with the program. If you are ready to bring your drawings to life in new ways this class is for you.


Adobe Illustrator CS6

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Desktop and Smartphone Backgrounds

Grow Your Blog eBook

Jouney to Becoming a Surface Pattern Designer

Design Printables

Color Palettes and Pattern Mockups

Keynote Session 1

Keynote Session 2

Keynote Session 3

Math Made Easy with Rotate Tool

Industry Resources and Supplies

Keyboard Shortcuts

My Creative Story


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Emily Leggett

I am so glad I took the time to sit through all 3 days of this course. I have been to hour long classes that I can't wait to get out of and this one I sat in for 3 days and I am wishing it wasn't over. I take a lot of continuing education classes and am always trying to learn new things and I have to say this is by far the absolute most informative, educational, inspiring, and motivating classes I have ever taken. Bonnie Christine was an amazing teacher. She took the time to take us through all aspects of the process and even beyond showing us so many things that can be done with everything she taught us in this class. I think she did a great job with the class, was easy to follow and is someone I would love to learn from again. Great job on everything. I would recommend this class to anyone who wants to learn about surface pattern design and Illustrator. Great job to everyone involved in putting this course together!

a Creativelive Student

Awesome awesome awesome course! Thank you Bonnie! Thank you Creative Live! I have learned so much... so much great information packed together in one class. I am so glad I bought the course so I can rewatch it any time I need to.

a Creativelive Student

I'm about halfway through my first viewing of the course and I have to say, its been electrifying! There is so much quality information here, its an excellent starting point, and I do think I can start working towards a career in design now. It also makes me want to find more information and courses in the art and design area. Bonnie is such a joyful, honest and enthusiastic instructor and really, it feels like she';s hosting an amazing party for her friends. Thank you Bonnie for doing this course and thank you CreativeLive for pricing it so affordably