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Drawing curves

In this part of the lesson, you will review drawing curves by drawing the pear, its stem, and a leaf. You’ll examine a single curve and then draw a series of curves together, using the template guidelines to help you.

Selecting a curve

1.
Choose View > Curved Line to display a view of a curved line on the template.

2.
Using the Direct Selection tool (), click one of the segments of the curved line to view its anchor points and its direction handles, which extend from the points. The Direct Selection tool lets you select and edit individual segments in the curved line.

With a curve selected, you can also select the paint attributes of the curve. When you do this, the next line you draw will have those same attributes. For more on paint attributes, see Lesson 5, “Color and Painting.”

Drawing the leaf

Now you’ll draw the first curve of the leaf.

1.
Choose View > Leaf or scroll down to see the guides for Leaf step 1.

Instead of dragging the Pen tool () to draw a curve, you will drag it to set the starting point and the direction of the line’s curve. When you release the mouse button, the starting point is created and two direction handles are formed. Then you drag the Pen tool to the end of the first curve to set the starting point and direction of the next curve on the line.

2.
Select the Pen tool and position it over point A on the template. Press the mouse button and drag from point A to the red dot. Then release the mouse button.

Next you’ll set the second anchor point and its direction handles.

3.
Press the mouse button and drag from point B to the next red dot. Release the mouse button. Illustrator connects the two anchor points with a curve that follows the direction handles you have created. Notice that if you vary the angle of dragging, you change the amount of curve.

4.
To complete the curved line, drag the Pen tool from point C on the template to the last red dot and release the mouse button.

5.
Control+click (Windows) or Command+click (Mac OS) away from the line to indicate the end of the path. (You must do this to indicate when you have finished drawing a path. You can also do this by clicking the Pen tool in the toolbox, or by choosing Select > Deselect.)

Drag to start the line and set direction of first curve.

Drag to end first curve and set direction of second curve.

Drag to end second curve and adjust its direction.

Drawing different kinds of curves

Now you’ll finish drawing the leaf by adding to an existing curved segment. Even after ending a path, you can return to the curve and add to it. The Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key lets you control the type of curve you draw.

Before starting this lesson, choose the arrow to the right of the status bar in the lower left corner of the Illustrator workspace and select Show > Current Tool.

1.
Scroll down to the instructions on the template for Leaf step 2.

You’ll add a corner point to the path. A corner point lets you change the direction of the curve. A smooth point lets you draw a continuous curve.

2.
Position the Pen tool () over the end of the line at point A. The slash next to the Pen tool indicates that you’ll continue the path of the existing line, rather than start a new line.

3.
Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and notice that the status bar in the lower left corner of the window displays “Pen: Make Corner.” Now Alt/Option+drag the Pen tool from anchor point A to the red dot. Then release the mouse button.

A slash indicates the Pen tool is aligned with anchor.

Alt/Option+dragging creates corner point.

So far, all the curves you have drawn have been open paths. Now you’ll draw a closed path, in which the final anchor point is drawn on the first anchor point of the path. (Examples of closed paths include ovals and rectangles.) You’ll close the path using a smooth point.

4.
Position the cursor over anchor point B on the template. A small, open circle appears next to the Pen tool, indicating that clicking will close the path. Press the mouse button and drag from this point to the second red dot.

Notice the direction handles where you close the path. The direction handles on both sides of a smooth point are aligned along the same angle.

A small circle indicates tha clicking with the Pen tool closes the path.

Drag to red dot to lengthen curved line.

5.
Control+click (Windows) or Command+click (Mac OS) away from the line, and choose File > Save.

Changing a smooth curve to a corner and vice versa

Now you’ll create the leaf stem by adjusting a curved path. You’ll be converting a smooth point on the curve to a corner point and a corner point to a smooth point.

1.
Choose View > Stem to display a magnified view of the stem.

2.
Select the Direct Selection tool () in the toolbox, position the cursor over point A at the top of the curve to display a hollow square on the cursor, and then click the anchor point to select it and display its red direction handles for the smooth point.

3.
Select the Convert Anchor Point tool () from the same group as the Pen tool () in the toolbox, or use the shortcut for Convert Anchor Point tool by pressing the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key while the Pen tool is selected.

4.
Using the Convert Anchor Point tool, select the left direction point (on top of the red dot) on the direction line, drag it to the gold dot on the template, and then release the mouse button.

Dragging with the Convert Anchor Point tool converts the smooth anchor point to a corner point and adjusts the angle of the left direction line.

Use Convert Anchor Point tool to convert curves to corners.

5.
Using the Convert Anchor Point tool, select the bottom anchor point and drag from point B to the red dot to convert the corner point to a smooth point, rounding out the curve, and then release the mouse button.

Use Convert Anchor Point tool to convert corners to curves.

Two direction handles emerge from the anchor point, indicating that it is now a smooth point.

When using the Convert Anchor Point tool, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Drag from the curve’s anchor point for a smooth point and continuous curve.

  • Click the curve’s anchor point, or drag a handle (direction point) of the curve for a corner point on a discontinuous curve.

6.
Choose File > Save.

Drawing the pear shape

Now you’ll draw a single, continuous object that consists of smooth points and corner points. Each time you want to change the direction of a curve at a specific point, you’ll hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to create a corner point.

1.
Choose View > Pear to display a magnified view of the pear.

First you’ll draw the bite marks on the pear by creating corner points and changing the direction of the curve segments.

2.
Select the Pen tool () from the same group as the Convert Anchor Point tool (). Drag the Pen tool from point A on the template to the red dot to set the starting anchor point and direction of the first curve. Release the mouse button.

3.
Drag the Pen tool from point B to the red dot—but don’t release the mouse button—and, while holding down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), drag the direction handle from the red dot to the gold dot. Release the mouse button.

4.
Continue drawing to points C and D by first dragging from the anchor point to the red dot and then Alt/Option+dragging the direction handle from the red dot to the gold dot.

At the corner points B, C, and D, you first drag to continue the current segment, and then Alt/Option+drag to set the direction of the next curved segment.

Drag to adjust curve.

Alt/Option+drag direction point to set corner point.

Next, you’ll complete your drawing of the pear by creating smooth points.

5.
Drag each of the points from E through J to their red dots, and then click anchor point K to close the pear shape. Notice that when you hold the cursor over anchor point K, a small open circle appears next to the pen, indicating that the path will close when you click.

6.
Hold down Control (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) and click away from the path to deselect it, and then choose File > Save.

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