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Pen Tool

Pen Tool

The Pen Tool is used to define your own vector points and create custom paths with Bezier Curves.

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Learn Vectornator from A to Z with this downloadable sample file.
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The Pen Tool is one of the most powerful tools in Vectornator or any other vector software. It allows you to create Bézier curves (also known as vector paths) that you can draw, curve, edit, and close. These curves can also be scaled infinitely. Their direction and angle are determined by the position of the node handles.

The Pen Tool allows you to create paths as straight lines (by tapping to create points) or curves (by tapping and holding to bend the line you just made).

Pen Tool Content-Aware Options

To activate the Pen Tool, simply tap the Pen icon in the Toolbar or press the ~key~ P ~key~ key.

As soon as you activate the Pen tool and start drawing on your canvas, the some specific options will appear at the top of the Style Tab:

1 – Node Types allows you to change the type of node which will determine the Bezier curves.
2 – Close Path allows you to easily close the path.
3 – Finish Path allows you to end the path you're currently drawing and start a new one.

Content Aware Pen Tool Node types

Changing Node Type while drawing with the Pen Tool

The supported Node Types you can find in Vectornator are: Single (A), Mirrored (B), Asymmetrical (C), Disconnected (D).

Bezier nodes types Vectornator

Pen Tool Gestures

In Vectornator, there are four useful gesture combos to help you define the Node type and change your path's curves while drawing with the Pen Tool.

#1 - Hold one more finger

While drawing a new line with the Pen Tool, hold a second finger onto the canvas to change the previous node to a disconnected type. A disconnected node has handles that can move independently and change the direction and arc of the next curve.

#2 Hold two more fingers

Hold two more fingers onto the canvas to enable 45º snapping on both of your node handles.

#3 Hold three more fingers

Hold three more fingers onto the canvas to enable 45º snapping on only one handle. If you're using a Mac, you can hold the ~key~ ⌥ ~key~ key to achieve this same affect.

# Double-Tap the End Node

Double-tap on the end node (highlighted in red) to quickly end this path.

Pro Tip – If you're using Vectornator with an external keyboard or on your Mac, you can also use some useful shortcuts to easily change your nodes' type when drawing with the Pen Tool.

Finish a Path

When using the the Pen Tool, to draw another separate path without having to switch tools you can simply tap the Finish Path button at the top of the Style Tab.

Finish Path button

Alternatively, you can use a new gesture to easily end your path: simply double-tap near the end node (in red) of your current path to finish it, or press the ~key~ ESC ~key~ key on your keyboard.

Continue Drawing an Open Path

If you have an open path, you can use the Pen Tool to continuing your path. To do so, simply select the open path and then switch to the Pen Tool. The path will shows up its anchor points. Now tap anywhere on the canvas to create the next point of your path.

The path will be extended directly from the End Node (in red) to the new point that you just created. If the next point overlaps the other endpoint, this will close the path.

Read more: How to Close an Open Path →

How to Create Straight Paths

Tap on the canvas to add a new anchor point (or node). Multiple taps will create a straight path with “sharp” corners. When selecting the Anchor Point using the Node Tool, there will be no handles.

Pro Tip – To help you create a horizontal/ vertical path, you can hold a finger on your canvas or activate the Snap to Grid feature from the Quick Settings.

How to Create Curved Paths

Tap and drag your finger (or Pencil) on the canvas to add a corner point. This creates asymmetrical direction handles (3), as seen highlighted at the top of the Style Tab where the Content Aware Panel for the different Node Types options appears, and you will obtain curved edges.

Video Recap | The Pen Tool 101

Vectornator is the creative weapon of choice for many designers and illustrators. And its Pen Tool is one of its most powerful and user-friendly aspects.

Step by step, we will showcase some of the most essential tips on how to use this seemingly basic yet complex tool in vector design.We know that working with the Pen Tool can feel a bit counter-intuitive at first. Yet, it is essential for creating incredible designs and illustrations. So have no fear! This comprehensive tutorial will give you all the theory and the practice you need to get started.

How to Draw a Brush Stroke with the Pen Tool

To draw a brush stroke when using the Pen Tool, open the Style Tab and switch to Brush Mode by tapping the Brush button at the bottom of the Stroke Width slider. Now select the Brush Profile you prefer to go with and start drawing.

Video Tip – How to Master the Pen Tool using Vectornator on iPad with Will Paterson.

How to Join Paths with the Pen Tool

Along with using the Join Paths button to connect two open paths from the Path Tab, you can also connect them by using the Pen and Node tool in combo. To do so:

  1. Select the open path with the Node Tool.
  2. Activate the Pen Tool and tap either the start or end node of the second path.
  3. The two paths will be now merged into one single path.
Learn Vectornator
Learn how to create your next design by using this Vectornator sample document.
Interactive Tutorial – Download here the content for our Interactive Tutorial and learn how to use the Pen Tool and edit paths.
Download the PDF version here.
Last Updated on Sep 28, 2022
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