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Chapter 4. Drawing with the Pen tool > Curves and corner anchor points

Curves and corner anchor points

When creating curves, the directional handles help to determine the slope of the path. Returning to a corner point requires a little extra effort. In this next portion of the lesson, we will practice converting curve points to corners.

Open the file named L4strt_04.ai from the Lesson04 folder. On this page you can see the path that you will create. Use the top section as a template for the exercise. Create your paths directly on top of those that you see on the page. The work area below is for additional practice on your own.

Choose File > Save As. In the Save As window, navigate to the Lesson04 folder and open it. Type path4.ai in the File name text field. In the Save as Type drop-down menu, choose Adobe Illustrator (.AI). In the Illustrator Options window, leave the default settings and choose OK.

Use the Zoom tool () and drag a marquee around the top path.

You will get a much more accurate path when you are zoomed in to an increased magnification.

Choose the Pen tool (), click on the first anchor point and drag up, then click on the second anchor point and drag down, just as you have been doing for previous exercises. Holding the Shift key when dragging constrains the angle of the handle to a straight line.

Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and position the mouse over either the last anchor point created or its direction handle. Look for the caret (^) symbol and click and drag up when it is visible.

An alert window will appear if you don’t click exactly on the anchor point. If that appears, click OK and try again.

This alert will appear if you do not click on the anchor point.

When the caret is visible, click and drag.

You can practice adjusting the direction handles with the Direct Selection tool () when the path is completed.

Release the Alt/Option key and click on the next square point on the template path and drag down.

Hold down the Alt/Option key again and grab the last anchor point or direction line and pull it up for the next curve. Remember, you must see the caret or you will create an additional loop.

Continue this pattern of clicking and dragging, and using the Alt/Option key, to create corner points, until the path is completed. Use the Direct Selection tool to fine-tune the path, and then deselect the path.

Choose File > Save.

Choose View > Fit in Window. You can also use Ctrl+0 (zero) (Windows) or Command+0 (Mac OS). Use the Zoom tool () to drag a marquee around the second path and enlarge its view.

With the Pen tool, click on the first anchor point and drag up, then click and drag down on the second anchor point. This motion of creating an arch should be familiar to you by now. You will now go from the curve to a straight line. Simply pressing the Shift key and clicking will not produce a straight line, since this last point is a curved anchor point.

The path when a curved point is not turned into a corner point.

To create the next path as a straight line, click on the last point created to delete one handle from the path. Then hold down the Shift key and click to the next point.

Click on the last anchor point created to force a straight path from it.

For the next arch, click and drag down (since the arch is going down) on the point you just created. This creates a directional handle.

Click on the next point and drag up to complete the downward arch.

Click and release on the last anchor point of the arch.

Shift+click to the next point.

Click and drag up, and then click and drag down on the last point, to create the final arch.

Practice repeating these paths in the lower portion. Use the Direct Selection tool to adjust your path if necessary.

Choose File > Save and then File > Close the file.

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