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Draw shapes with the Pen tools

Vector shapes are made up of vector paths. Vector paths, put simply, are lines — either straight or curved — and even the most complex vector shapes are all composed of these lines. In Pixelmator Pro, using the Pen and Freeform Pen, you can draw vector paths to create your own shapes.

Vector paths are created by adding anchor points, which can be sharp or smooth. If an anchor point is smooth, it will have direction lines with direction handles.

By moving the handles, you can adjust how much the path curves at the selected anchor point. A vector path can be closed, which means it has no beginning or end (like a square or circle shape) or it can be open, in which case it is a line with a beginning and end point.

The Pen tool is the classic vector drawing tool — it lets you precisely draw vector paths by manually adding anchor points, either sharp or smooth.

Draw a straight line segment with the Pen tool

The Pen tool is the classic vector drawing tool — it lets you precisely draw vector paths by manually adding anchor points, either sharp or smooth.

To draw a straight line segment with the Pen tool:

  1. Choose the Pen tool by doing any of the following:
    • Click in the Tools sidebar or choose it from the grouped tools.
    • Choose Tools > Draw > Pen (from the Tools menu at the top of your screen).
    • Press the P key on your keyboard.
  2. Click (don’t drag) anywhere in your image to begin drawing the line.
  3. Click anywhere else in your image to add another anchor point and create a straight line segment. The last anchor point you added will be solid red, while any points you added previously will be outlined in red.
  4. Continue clicking to add additional straight segments to your path.
  5. To finish the path and leave it open, do any of the following:

    • Press the Esc key on your keyboard.
    • Control ⌃–click the image and choose Finish Drawing.
    • Add the final point by double-clicking instead of single-clicking.
  6. To finish the path and close it to create a shape, do any of the following:

    • Click the first point you added.
    • Control ⌃–click the image and choose Close Path.

Tip: If you’d like to delete the anchor point you last added, press the Backspace ⌫ key on your keyboard.

Draw a curved line segment with the Pen tool
  1. Choose the Pen tool by doing any of the following:
    • Click in the Tools sidebar or choose it from the grouped tools.
    • Choose Tools > Draw > Pen (from the Tools menu at the top of your screen).
    • Press the P key on your keyboard.
  2. Drag anywhere in your image to begin drawing the line, release the mouse to finish customizing the first anchor point. Where you first hold down the mouse will determine the location of the anchor point, where you release the mouse will determine the location of the anchor point’s direction line.
  3. Drag anywhere else in your image to add another smooth anchor point and adjust its direction lines. The last anchor point you added will be solid red, while any points you added previously will be outlined in red.

    Tip: To adjust the direction lines after adding an anchor point, Command-drag one of the direction handles.

  4. Continue dragging to add additional curved segments to your path.
  5. To finish the path and leave it open, do any of the following:

    • Press the Escape key on your keyboard.
    • Control ⌃–click the image and choose Finish Drawing.
    • Add the final point by double-clicking instead of single-clicking.
  6. To finish the path and close it to create a shape, do any of the following:

    • Click the first point you added.
    • Control ⌃–click the image and choose Close Path.

Tip: If you’d like to delete the last anchor point you added, press the Backspace ⌫ key on your keyboard.

Draw paths with the Freeform Pen tool

The Freeform Pen tool is a somewhat simpler and easier to use version of the Pen tool — it lets you draw as if with a pencil on paper, adding anchor points and adjusting their direction lines automatically.

  1. Choose the Freeform Pen tool by doing any of the following:
    • Click in the Tools sidebar or choose it from the grouped tools.
    • Choose Tools > Draw > Freeform Pen (from the Tools menu at the top of your screen).
  2. Drag to begin drawing your path.
  3. To finish the path and leave it open, stop holding down your mouse or trackpad.
  4. To finish the path and close it to create a shape, move the path over to its beginning, then stop holding down your mouse or trackpad.

After you draw a vector path with either the Pen or Freeform Pen tools, you can further refine, remove, or add anchor points. To learn more about this, see Edit vector paths.

Pixelmator Pro User Guide