Path and Curve Tools

Draw straight and curved paths in Artboard. Bezier paths and freehand paths contain curve handles at points along the path. Drawing with the Freehand Path tool is much like drawing with a pen, whereas Bezier paths give you absolute control.

Irregular Polygon Tool

Artboard Irregular Polygon Tool

  1. Choose the Irregular Polygon [p]  tool and a stroke style.
  2. Click once to place a point, and repeat to continue drawing the path.
  3. Use the ESC key or double-click to end the path, or click on the first placed point to close the path and end editing.

HINT: Use Stroke and/or Fill style for different effect with the Irregular Polygon tool.

Bezier Path Tool

Artboard Bezier Path Tool

  1. Choose the Bezier Path [b]  tool and a stroke or fill style.
  2. Press to place the starting point and drag to begin spreading the curve handles. release the cursor to place the curve handles (when placed, curve handles are symmetrical in length and direction).
  3. Repeat to continue drawing the path.
  4. Use the ESC key or double-click to end the path.

HINT: The Bezier Path tool may be the least familiar tool to some users. A hands-on exercise is available to help you quickly master it. Choose ‘File > Templates > New From Template…’ in the main menu, then choose Exercises & Demos.

Freehand Path Tool

Artboard Freehand Path Tool

  1. Choose the Freehand Path [f]  tool and a stroke or fill style.
  2. Press and move the cursor to begin drawing.
  3. Release the cursor to end the path.

Points and curve handles are added automatically as the line is drawn, enabling later adjustment as desired. Freehand path curve handles may be asymmetrical in length as the path is drawn.

HINT: To make smooth paths with Freehand Path, make sure the ‘Graphic > Snap To…’ settings are all OFF (unchecked). If a path drawn with the Freehand Path tool appears choppy or ‘stair stepped’, it is likely that snapping to Graph Paper, Guides, or Other Objects is ON. Relative smoothness settings for the Freehand Path tool are available in the ‘Artboard > Preferences…’ Editing.

Straight Line Tool

Artboard Straight Line Tool

  1. Choose the straight Line [l]  tool and a stroke style.
  2. Click to place the first point.
    • Optionally, press the SHIFT key to draw a perfectly horizontal or vertical line, or constrain the line angle to 15-degree increments.
  3. Click to place the last point and end the line.
  4. Optionally, precicely adjust the path length and angle in the Geometry Tab.

To Remove the Last Placed Point While Drawing (Irregular Polygon or Bezier Path)

  1. Choose the Bezier Path [b]  or Irregular Polygon [p]  tool.
  2. Begin drawing the path.
  3. Click the Delete key to step backwards (remove) each placed point while drawing the path.
  4. Use the ESC key or double-click to end the path.

To Add Corner Points While Drawing a Curved Path (Bezier Path)

  1. Choose the Bezier Path [b]  tool.
  2. Click once to place a point with its curve handles collapsed (for example, a corner).
  3. Repeat to continue drawing the path, dragging to spread handles or clicking for points with collapsed handles.

To Constrain Angle of Path or Path Segment

Hold the SHIFT key while drawing to constrain the angle of a straight path or path segment. Angle is constrained to 15-degree increments from the angle of the last drawn segment.

To Draw a Closed-Loop Path (Irregular Polygon, Bezier Path or Freehand Path)

  1. Place at least 3 points along the path.
  2. Click onto the first drawn point to automatically end drawing the path; the coincident points will act as a single point.
  3. To open the path, hold the COMMAND key and drag the end point away from the first.

HINT: If you prefer to have paths formally closed (with a straight line segment between first and last points), you can enable this behavior in the  ‘Artboard > Preferences…’ Editing in the main menu; to open formally closed paths, right-click and choose ‘Open’ from the contextual menu or ‘Edit > Paths (+ OPTION key) > Open’ from the main menu.

HINT: If you prefer coincident first and last placed points to not act as a single point, you can disable this behavior in the Preferences.