The Pen Tool is used to define your own vector points and create custom paths with Bezier Curves.
The Pen Tool is one of the most powerful tools in Vectornator or any other vector software. It allows you to create Bézier curves (also known as vector paths) that you can draw, curve, edit, and close. These curves can also be scaled infinitely. Their direction and angle are determined by the position of the node handles.
Pen Tool Content-Aware Options
To activate the Pen Tool, simply tap the Pen icon in the Toolbar or press the <key>P<key> key.
As soon as you activate the Pen tool and start drawing on your canvas, the some specific options will appear at the top of the Style Tab:
1 – Node Types allows you to change the type of node which will determine the Bezier curves.
2 – Close Path allows you to easily close the path.
3 – Finish Path allows you to end the path you're currently drawing and start a new one.
Changing Node Type while drawing with the Pen Tool
The supported Node Types you can find in Vectornator are: Single (A), Mirrored (B), Asymmetrical (C), Disconnected (D).
Pen Tool Gestures
In Vectornator, there are four useful gesture combos to help you define the Node type and change your path's curves while drawing with the Pen Tool.
#1 - Hold one more finger
While drawing a new line with the Pen Tool, hold a second finger onto the canvas to change the previous node to a disconnected type. A disconnected node has handles that can move independently and change the direction and arc of the next curve.
#2 Hold two more fingers
Hold two more fingers onto the canvas to enable 45º snapping on both of your node handles.
#3 Hold three more fingers
Hold three more fingers onto the canvas to enable 45º snapping on only one handle. If you're using a Mac, you can hold the <key>⌥<key> key to achieve this same affect.
# Double-Tap the End Node
Double-tap on the end node (highlighted in red) to quickly end this path.
Pro Tip – If you're using Vectornator with an external keyboard or on your Mac, you can also use some useful shortcuts to easily change your nodes' type when drawing with the Pen Tool.
Finish a Path
When using the the Pen Tool, to draw another separate path without having to switch tools you can simply tap the Finish Path button at the top of the Style Tab.
Alternatively, you can use a new gesture to easily end your path: simply double-tap near the end node (in red) of your current path to finish it, or press the <key>ESC<key> key on your keyboard.
Continue Drawing an Open Path
If you have an open path, you can use the Pen Tool to continuing your path. To do so, simply select the open path and then switch to the Pen Tool. The path will shows up its anchor points. Now tap anywhere on the canvas to create the next point of your path.
The path will be extended directly from the End Node (in red) to the new point that you just created. If the next point overlaps the other endpoint, this will close the path.
Read more: How to Close an Open Path →
How to Create Straight Paths
Tap on the canvas to add a new anchor point (or node). Multiple taps will create a straight path with “sharp” corners. When selecting the Anchor Point using the Node Tool, there will be no handles.
Pro Tip – To help you create a horizontal/ vertical path, you can hold a finger on your canvas or activate the Snap to Grid feature from the Quick Settings.
How to Create Curved Paths
Tap and drag your finger (or Pencil) on the canvas to add a corner point. This creates asymmetrical direction handles (3), as seen highlighted at the top of the Style Tab where the Content Aware Panel for the different Node Types options appears, and you will obtain curved edges.
How to Join Paths with the Pen Tool
Along with using the Join Paths button to connect two open paths from the Path Tab, you can also connect them by using the Pen and Node tool in combo. To do so:
- Select the open path with the Node Tool.
- Activate the Pen Tool and tap one of the two anchor points at the end of the line.
- Once that the node is selected, tap the other end node.
- The path will be now closed.
Video Tip – How to Master the Pen Tool using Vectornator on iPad with Will Paterson.