True, the Pentool is THE BUSINESS, but there are other ways to work that can be helpful. The shape builder, pathfinder, blob brush, compound shapes, draw inside, draw behind, etc seem to work more like how I see people draw on paper. The biggest complaint I’ve heard from first time users of Illustraor is that it doesn’t feel similar to when they draw. The blob brush and pencil tool should take care of that right away.
This kinda changes the way I look at Illustraor. I’ve spent YEARS thinking I can only frame up shapes with the pentool. I never considered the PATHFINDER as a way to create.
Here’s a trace without using the pentool, just building shapes: