Algonquin College Graphic Design Program Computer Graphics Course Curriculum Algonquin College Graphic Design Program Computer Graphics Course Curriculum

Pen Tool

Apps Used: Adobe Illustrator

The Pen Tool is one of the trickiest tools in Illustrator. It's also one of the most fundamental to vector drawing. You need to do your time with the tool in order to tame it.

This is a formative assignment

That means that you'll be learning and practising new software skills. This assignment contributes to your final grade in the course. This work will be graded as either:

Complete Incomplete

If needed, I will provide written feedback on your performance.


Before we start to use the Pen Tool, we want to make sure we have Precise Cusors turned on in Illustrator CC > Preferences… > General. This will make our Pen Tool cursor a crosshair rather than a fountain pen icon.

Read the provided support document on drawing with the Pen Tool.


Use the Pen Tool to accurately trace a provided practice image. Take your time. Follow the instructions. The goal is to create accurate paths with the fewest anchor points possible. The more anchor points you have, the greater the risk you run of having kinked paths.

Make sure you draw these paths with a bright colour, so you can see what you’re doing. Also, remove the fill from your path, so it doesn’t cover up your work as you go.

Corner Anchor Points

If you’re drawing straight paths with corner points, all you need to do is click with the Pen Tool. You don’t need to drag.

If you wish to draw straight lines with corner anchors, just click!

Round Anchors

When you want to draw rounded anchors, simply click and drag in the direction you wish to draw.

As you can see, when you click & drag, you can draw an elipse with only two anchor points.

When creating round anchor points, avoid ever clicking. Always click & drag.

Converting Anchors

You can convert anchor points from corner anchors to round and back with the Convert Anchor Point Tool. The tool has a V shaped cursor.

Hold the Option key while using the Pen Tool to convert anchor points.

To convert from a corner anchor to a round one, hold Option key, then drag the corner anchor. It will convert to a round anchor. To convert a round one to a corner anchor, simply click on the anchor point.

Formative Activity

Trace the provided image using only the Pen Tool in Illustrator. Draw the objects as accurately as possible while using the fewest anchor points possible.


You can see from my examples above how the anchor points and handles are positioned. Do your best.

Supplemental Links

What you'll submit:


Once you've completed your work, save and close each document. Rename the provided assignment folder as LastName-FirstName-Group-Nº-Assignment-Name. So,

Appleseed-Johnny-1-Pen Tool

Right-click, then choose Compress... to create a zip file for submission. So...


The zip file is what you submit.

Failure to submit your files as directed will incur a proportional loss of points. If your file/folder is not named with your name, you will earn a zero. Why?