Practice makes perfect – Using the Illustrator pen tool

kirk hammett

Design software is capable of so much these days, and with that comes an huge array of tools to master. Looking through my student portfolio from years ago I found the above illustration.

I think it’s fair to say that the pen tool is the signature feature of Illustrator, and while it’s a great tool, it can be a bit unwieldy until you get the hang of it.

Using a photo of musician Kirk Hammett as reference, and drawn using only the pen tool ( and gradient for the glasses obviously… ) in illustrator, it was the first real illustration I ever did. I remember starting out and dreading how long it was going to take for the level of detail I wanted.

As the picture came together it turned into an enjoyable project, and using the tool became second nature. Although I was glad be to be finished, I was happy with the end result, especially for my first illustration.

Just don’t ask me how long the hair took… Higher res version available here.

How about you?

Stumbled across any old work lately? How does it stand up to your current work?

3 thoughts on “Practice makes perfect – Using the Illustrator pen tool”

  1. I am still not used to the Illustrator pen tool, I’m using Photoshop pen tool and coping path instead. I’m still not comfortable with Illustrator.

  2. Shabnam,

    It’s not a huge change moving to Illustrator if you’re already familiar with PS. I’m sure you can find plenty of great Illustrator guides on the internet to help you if you get stuck on something more tricky.

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