N.S.L: WEEK 81 – Adobe Illustrator CS6: Pen Tool and WidthScribe by Astute Graphics

When I did InkScribeNSL, then played with the widths, a light turned on inside my brains. I attended a 2 hour webinar on the Pen Tool watched tons of vids and this is what I got:

Black Car illustration
“Black Listed Car”


Big whoop, the Pen Tool… =D I’ve done it before on NSL but I like to challenge how I look at things. This week I challenged how I look at the Pen Tool. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I have a new New found respect for it =D

The Pen Tool= Precision


Adobe Illustrator CS6 Pentool
Start of trace by laying down corner points.

Found the image on Black Listed


A key modifier that I used often during this project was Alt + Click on the Anchor Point. That will reset your point if you are laying down curved corners. Another way you an lay down anchor points is just putting corner points where you think they should go, then smooth them after you close your path. I tried out both methods. I found different advantages in different situations so I’ll keep trying both for now.


Outline vector drawing
After smoothing the corner points.

These studies are for a bunch of reasons. On this one even though my focus was on the Pen Tool, it also made me break down the image I was trying to create. I do not see myself as an Illustrator or someone who can draw, I know the apps. I created the outline of the entire car, removed the image, then asked myself “why is this shape not a car? What do I add next to give it a more car feel?” I learned that I had to ask myself that a thousand times =D. What I learned is I have to add levels of detail at a time. If I tried this car 2 years ago, I would detail the parts that I liked without regard to the piece as a whole. That would result in a weak piece that I spent a lot of time on. Now it’s 1 level of detail at a time. Start with a silhouette and finish with IDK, the grill or tire spokes.

Above you see this piece at its most basic. Below is the next level of detail. I would have gone further but, as it was, I finished this around 6am and had to be at work at 10am, NO SLEEP!!! =D fun time designing though.


Pen Tool Car in Adobe Illustrator
I would have liked to put more detail but I was running out of time as always =D All Pen Tool

Once I got to this point it was all about WidthScribe by Astute Graphics  It’s a new tool they just released 2 days ago and it’s stupid AWESOME. If you haven’t heard about Astute Graphics check out SubScribe and the Videos. It’s FREE and you get free training. That will show you what Astute Graphics is about and I bet you buy the rest of the suite =D


I’m not going to lie though, I did miss my InkScribe by Astute Graphics =D


Coolest Trick I Learned:
If I’m laying down my path and I click an anchor point in a bad location, I can adjust it easily. Before releasing my click, I can hold down the SpaceBar then drag to a new position. I normally would accept the location then use the arrows to get a better spot. This SpaceBar trick is AWESOME!

Ctrl + J = Join I didn’t understand what a big deal this shortcut was. It was a lot of help on this one. It’s the fastest way to close your path. Select 2 points and BAM


I got most of my info from:


Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals



#AdobeGrind #StayMuddyGetFly #WSLS
If you look up #NSL81 you should be able to follow my week, all of the videos I studied for this one, and other Tweets related to this post.


4 responses to “N.S.L: WEEK 81 – Adobe Illustrator CS6: Pen Tool and WidthScribe by Astute Graphics

  1. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am having problems with your RSS.
    I don’t know why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

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