Simon’s 3 Laws of Pen Tool Mastery

Tweed Suit

Adobe Illustrator has a special place in my heart. I taught myself the computer using Adobe Illustrator and though I’ve gone onto use many other digital tools, Illustrator will always be my favorite. That being said, like any other tool used in any craft, it excels in certain places. When I need to do something clean and graphic, Adobe Illustrator is my choice. Depending on the work, the Pen Tool may be the most important tool in the arsenal. For example, when drawing Fashion Flats, if you master the Pen Tool, you are well on your way to getting beautiful results.

Before my 3 laws there are some terms, tips and notes that will help you.


  1. Anatomy-Smart Guides. anchors, paths, guides. If you turn on Smart Guides (View Menu), you will be able to see where you are as your cursor passes over objects.
Smart Guides
  1. Bezier handles/curves. These are the curves that make up a shape. Named after a French engineer!
  2. Click & Move. Term used when you are simply adding an anchor to a path.
  3. Click & Drag. Term used when you are drawing or adding a curve.


  1. The fewer the anchors, the better. To get nice, smooth curves concentrate on eliminating unnecessary anchors.
The Fewer, The Better
  1. Don’t be afraid to go back. No need to feel the pressure of nailing the first time, you can always edit your anchors using the handles or moving the anchors.
  2. Maybe you like to draw the whole shape first? click and move from anchor to anchor, then go back and use the Anchor Point Tool to add/modify the curves.
Draw only the anchors first.

Simon’s 3 Laws

  1. Never, EVER, click & drag in a corner. Though you CAN go back and modify anchors, by adding handles to corners you will effect lines that you would want to be straight. Better to NOT add handles at a corner.
Corners and Centers
  1. Find the center of the curve. To help reduce the number of anchors, before you click & drag to make a curve, find the visual center of the curve and click and drag there.
  2. Place the handles flat on top (like a table)
Think Table

Here is the Illustrator Template Download so you can “Practice the Laws”.