New Course: Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC

Deke’s latest course at is a quick (for Deke) celebration of the new improved ways of drawing in Illustrator CC. In just four short chapters and under 2 hours, Deke runs through the new features that will make you better, (stronger), and faster at drawing with Illustrator. Here’s what’s covered (along with some links to free unlocked videos so you can check them out yourself).

Chapter 1: The Now-Useful Pencil Tool
Until CC, the Pencil tool in Illustrator never quite worked as a free-form drawing tool in the way you (or I, or anyone) might wish. But with new improvements, being able to drawing of smooth, fluid lines is no longer exclusive to Pen tool. In this chapter, Deke demonstrates what happens when you add a Wacom tablet and the ability to trace a good drawing to the mix. Look at those smooth curves from that single line in the center image below. 

Draw a seahorse with Illustrator's improved Pencil tool

Click here to watch a free unlocked movie from the chapter in which Deke draws a classic heart-shape to demonstrate the difference between the CS6 Pencil and the vastly improved tool in Illustrator CC.

Chapter 2: The Dynamic Round Corner Controls
In the new Illustrator, you can round off any corner—-and not just those on a standard rectangle—-to any degree. And your changes are dynamic as well, so they can be revisited at any time. To demonstrate, Deke traces a sketch of a chess king with harsh pointy pen clicks (not a control handle in sight, as you can see in the center image below), then rounds those jagged corners off to quickly create more graceful curves. 

 Click here to watch an unlocked movie from this chapter to see how this feature can quickly manipulate a standard star shape (in the service of ultimately creating a one-eyed alien, of course.) 

Chapter 3: New Ways to Bend and Twist Segments
Illustrator CC also boasts new ways to bend and twist line segments much more efficiently and easily than in previous versions. The new Anchor Point tool allows you to quickly curve individual line segments without touching a single control handle. Deke shows you how to to take the Z in the middle below (which started life as a stack of quadrangles on the left in an earlier chapter) and add the jaunty waves that you see on the right. 

Create a jaunty Z with Illustrator's new curve manipulation controls

Click here to watch an unlocked movie on how the new Anchor Point tool works in Illustrator CC. 

Chapter 4: Assembling a Real World Project in Illustrator CC
In the last chapter of this quick course, Deke uses all the aforementioned new features in the service of creating a real-world project (I dunno, that seahorse looks pretty "real" to me and I just saw a real one in the Gulf of Mexico). Starting with a base polygon, Deke curves, bends, and otherwise embellishes a simple backward three into a distinctive ampersand. 

Draw better and faster in Adobe Illustrator

Click here to watch a free movie on how to quickly make that base polygon on the left above, suitable for twisting to your will in your own Illustrator project. 

If you’d like to watch the entire course, but aren’t a member of, you can sign up for a free week’s trial at Given the useful brevity of this course, that leaves plenty of time to go deeper into Illustrator, watch some Deke’s Techniques episodes, or start learning something else entirely from’s vast library. 

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 304: Create Your Own Chinese Seal (or Chop)

Previous entry:Deke’s Techniques 303: A Totally Serious Photoshop Workflow


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