Give the Pen Tool a Day Off

Course description

The Pen Tool is one of the most powerful components to any vector editing software—and Adobe Illustrator is no exception. Sometimes however, its use can be quite time-consuming. That's where this class comes in.

There are countless ways to create shapes and paths in Adobe Illustrator that have nothing to do with the pen tool. Oftentimes the solutions are quickereasier and look better than if you actually did it by hand.

What You'll learn

  • Everything you'll ever need to know about the Pathfinder tool
  • Live Shapes and Corners and how they are one of the best features in Illustrator CC
  • How to use the Outline Stroke to create a wide variety of complex shapes
  • Many other tips, techniques and effects for creating the exact shapes you want without using the Pen Tool
  • How I created the class cover without using the Pen Tool


Through this class you will learn several different techniques for creating complex and interesting paths without using the pen tool. And once you have, it'll be time to put them to the test!

Your assignment is to create any design or illustration in Adobe Illustrator without using the pen tool. The more intricate, the better! It will be a true test of what you've learned and really help to give you practical working knowledge so that when the time comes to implement the techniques in your own work, it's seamless.

Course outline

Lesson 1: The pathfinder

Learn everything you've ever need to know about Illustrator's Pathfinder tool.

Lesson 2: Live shapes and corners

Discover why working with live shapes and corners in Illustrator provides with you an incredible amount of flexibility and control.

Lesson 3: strokes

The more you learn to control the strokes you create, the more interesting shapes you will be able to create just by using Outline Stroke.

Lesson 4: Warp, distort and transform

Learn a variety of additional techniques and effects for creating interesting shapes without ever having to touch the Pen tool.

Lesson 5: Challenge

The course comes to a close with a challenge designed to level you up.

Bonus Lesson: Demonstration

Watch as Hayden creates the thumbnail illustration by using all the techniques that you now know too.


About the teacher

Hayden Aube is a designer-turned-illustrator with an obsession for how we learn. Having made many big transitions in his life and career, Hayden now channels his time into helping other artists get where they want to be. This means tutorials, coaching and several community-based initiatives. To stay sharp, Hayden maintains a freelance illustration business, creates a variety of personal projects and is always enrolled in an online or in-person course himself.

For people who are intimidated with the pen tool, this video is proof that you can make some really great imagery with Illustrator’s numerous other features!
— Brian Santiago
An excellent class with a fun but challenging project!
— Anna Day
Easy to learn, and will take a more than a life time to completely utilize these skills he shares. Thank you Hayden!
— Christopher Zeller

This course and many more for just $9/month