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This chapter is from the book

Drawing with line tools

A collection of line tools are grouped together in the Tools panel, hidden under the Line Segment tool. Even though you won’t use all of these tools very often, you’ll find some of them to be powerful and useful.

The Line Segment tool


The Line Segment tool draws a straight line. You can drag to create lines, as instructed below, or use the “Line Segment Tool Options” dialog box.

Task 8 Draw straight lines

a. Use the “Line Segment Tool Options” dialog box to create straight lines:

  1. Choose the Line Segment tool in the Tools panel, then single-click in a document to open the “Line Segment Tool Options” dialog box.
  2. Enter a line length and choose an angle, then click OK. The specified line appears in your document.
  3. While the line segment is selected (you can see the end points), practice giving it different stroke colors and widths.

    b. Or simply drag to quickly create straight lines:

  4. With the Line Segment tool, position the pointer where you want the line to begin, then press-and-drag to the point where you want the line to end.

    Shift-drag to constrain the drawing of the line segment to a horizontal, 45° diagonal, or vertical line.

  5. Change the stroke color or size: Make sure the line is still selected, then use the Control panel stroke controls (see Task 2, page 40).

Task 9 Add arrowheads to a straight line segment

You can turn straight lines created with the Line Segment tool into directional arrows.

  1. Draw a straight line (see Task 8 on the opposite page).
  2. Click the word “Stroke” in the Control panel to open the Stroke panel.

  3. In the Stroke flyout panel (below), choose styles from the “Arrowheads” pop-up menus. Choose a style for both the start and end of the path.

  4. To remove an arrowhead from a path: Select an arrow in your document, click “Stroke” in the Control panel, then choose “None” from the “Arrowheads” pop-up menus in the Stroke panel (above).

The Spiral tool


The Spiral tool makes drawing spirals easy, and a little confusing. You’ll need some practice to be able to predict the results of using this tool, but perhaps its organic unpredictability is part of the magic and ancient symbolism of the spiral shape.

Task 10 Draw spirals

  1. Choose the Spiral tool (see page 44).
  2. Drag in the document to create a spiral; move the tool around to tilt the spiral. Keep holding the tool down while you do this:

    • To add rings to a spiral, tap the UpArrow.
    • To remove rings from a spiral, tap the DownArrow.
    • To tighten the spiral, hold down the Command key (PC: Control key) and drag in toward the center of the spiral.
    • To loosen the spiral, hold down the Command key (PC: Control key) and drag outward, away from the center.

You’ll see the changes happen live in outline view mode. Use the Stroke settings in the Control panel to color and stroke the path.

Task 11 Control the spiral shapes

The Spiral tool draws with the settings in the “Spiral” dialog box, so it’s a good idea to play with those settings and see if you can control the results.

  1. With the Spiral tool, click on the page to open the “Spiral” dialog box.
  2. Since there’s no preview pane to show what kind of spiral your settings will create, start with the settings shown below.
  3. Click OK. The spiral immediately appears in your document. To change the color or size of the spiral stroke, use the Stroke options in the Control bar.

Task 12 Modify a spiral with the Width tool


This is a quick introduction to the Width tool (more in Chapter 7), a special tool that makes part of a path thinner or thicker wherever you choose.

  1. Use the black Selection tool to select one of the spirals you created.
  2. Select the Width tool from the Tools panel, then hover the tool over the spiral path. When the tool is over a path, the end point becomes a white square and the cursor gets a little plus mark (below, left).
  3. Press on the white square and drag the Width tool handles away from the path to make the stroke at that location thicker (below, right). The stroke automatically tapers gradually to its original width.

The Arc tool


The Arc tool draws arcs of all sorts. You can draw an arc as an open path or as a closed path (open and closed paths are explained on page 28).

Task 13 Draw convex and concave arcs

  • To draw an arc, get the Arc tool (see page 44), then press-and-drag with it, from one end of the arc to the other. Where you begin and end will be the beginning and end of the arc.

Now, the Arc tool draws according to the settings in the “Arc Segment Tool Options,” so if you really need arcs in your project, learn to use this dialog box (okay, you need to be a mathematician to really know what the settings are doing, but you can get the gist of it):

  1. You can open the “Arc Segment Tool Options” dialog box by simply clicking in a document window with the Arc tool, but you don’t get the dynamic preview this way.

    So instead, first choose the Arc tool so it is visible in the Tools panel (instead of hidden beneath the other tools); now double-click the tool icon in the Tools panel.

  2. In the dialog box that appears (shown below), experiment with the settings. When you see the results you want in the live preview pane, click OK.

  3. Hold down the Shift key and drag with the Arc tool to constrain the arc to the settings you entered in this dialog box.

You’ll notice that if you drag with the Arc tool without the Shift key held down, some of the settings hold, but you can easily distort the shape.

The Rectangular Grid tool


The Rectangular Grid tool creates a grid drawn to your specifications. Grids can be used for visual organization or as a decorative design element.

Task 14 Create a rectangular grid

  1. Select the Rectangular Grid tool (it’s one of the line tools; see page 44).
  2. Click in a document; this opens the “Rectangular Grid Tool Options.”
  3. To start, use the settings shown below, then click OK.

    The grid appears in your document.

  4. To change the fill and stroke attributes, use the fill and stroke controls in the Control bar (see page 40, Task 2).
  • Alternate method: Instead of using the “Rectangular Grid Tool Options” dialog box, as described in Steps 1–4, you can select the Rectangular Grid tool and just drag a grid shape on the artboard.

    The grid is drawn using the settings in the dialog box above. You can add or remove rows on the fly as you drag a grid.

    • To add or remove rows as you drag, tap the up or down arrow keys.
    • To add or remove columns as you drag, tap the left or right arrow keys.
    • To constrain the grid to a square, hold down the Shift key as you drag.

The Polar Grid tool


The Polar Grid tool draws circular grids, as you can see below, useful for drawing globes, targets for your backyard archery tournament, logos, and even stove burners. Truly, a polar grid really can come in handy. As with all of the Line tools, you can use a Tool Options dialog box to create artwork, or go straight to dragging a shape and using keyboard controls to modify it.

Task 15 Draw different kinds of polar grids

  1. Select the Polar Grid tool (see page 44).
  2. Click in a document, which opens the “Polar Grid Tool Options.”
  3. For now, use the settings shown below, then click OK.

    The specified circular grid appears in your document.

  4. Now try it without going through the dialog box: Select the Polar Grid tool and drag in the document window.

    • Constrain the grid to a circle: Hold down the Shift key as you drag.
    • Add or remove concentric dividers: Tap the up or down arrow keys as you drag.
    • Add or remove radial dividers: Tap the left or right arrow keys as you drag.
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