The drawing tools in Linearity Curve allow you to create new vector shapes and lines from scratch.
The drawing tools include the Pen Tool, the Pencil Tool, the Brush Tool, and the Shape Tool. With these tools, you can draw basic geometric shapes that are a starting point for more complex designs by combining and modifying different shapes.
The Pen Tool is one of the most essential and powerful tools in Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator). It’s a crucial tool for vector-based software.
Vector shapes consist of paths, and the Pen Tool will help you to edit these paths. We will explain to you the features of the Pen Tool for Mac and how you can draw and adjust vector paths with it. We will give you an overview of the Content-Aware Options and general navigation of the Pen Tool.
The Pen Tool is located in the Toolbar to the left side of your screen. Click on the Pen Tool icon and the tool will be activated. Alternatively, you can press P on your Mac to activate the tool.
The Content-Aware Options of the Pen Tool will only appear in the Inspector when the Pen Tool is selected. Here you can:
- Change the Node Type
- Close a path :in-close-path:
- Finish a path
You can change the Node Type (1) while drawing with the Pen Tool.
You can either close or finish a path. A path will be finished when the final node does not close the path by returning to the first node. A path will be closed when the last node finishes the path by returning to the first node.
How to draw straight paths
If you click once on the canvas, you will create a single node .
A connecting line will appear between the two points if you click again. The connecting line is called the Path Segment. If you continue to click on the canvas, it will result in a zigzag or straight line.
If you want to finish your path, all you need to do is to double-click on the last node you have drawn. Another option is to go to the Path Section of the Inspector and press the Finish Path (2) button.
Following this logic, creating any polygon is easy by clicking once to create each corner and then clicking one last time on the first node to close the shape.
If you want to create exact shapes, like a square, you know that you have the Shape Tool available for that; you can also draw these shapes with the Pen Tool by using the Grid feature and activating the Snap to Grid function. ( Link Grid feature to section: Workspace/Settings/Canvas)
How to draw curved paths
We will now move on to one of the most powerful features of the Pen Tool, the Bézier Curves.
When drawing a path with the Pen Tool, instead of continuing to click, click and drag the mouse on your Mac simultaneously. The path node will display two Bézier Curve Handles. As long as you don't release the mouse button, you can adjust the length and rotation of the Curve Handles, which will determine the resulting shape of your curve.
An exercise for drawing on curves
Before we start our drawing exercises with the Pen Tool, activate the Gridlines by going to View > Grid Settings. In the Grid Settings, set the attribute to Perpendicular in the pop-up menu, set the spacing to 50, and then press Confirm.
If you followed these instructions correctly, you should see the grid displayed on the canvas. Activate the Snap to Grid function by going to View > Snap to Grid.
Let’s click, drag down, click, and drag up, then click on the last node to end the path. Now we have drawn a perfect dome shape on your Mac. If I drag in the opposite direction, we will get a wave as a result.
This is what happens when you drag diagonally. You can click and drag in any direction you wish to create an unlimited variety of shapes.
How to switch the Node Type while using the Pen Tool
The easiest way to change the Node Type of the Pen Tool is to use shortcuts. While drawing with the Pen Tool for Mac, you can change the direction of your curves and their handles in three different ways:
1. When you want to draw a sharp angle on your path, hold ⌥ to switch from the Asymmetric Node Type to the Disconnected Node Type . This will enable you to create shapes like the one below. The handles of the Disconnected Node Type are adjustable independently of each other.
Remember, you can switch the Node Type inside the Content-Aware Options of the Pen Tool, which will be accessible as long as the Pen Tool is selected.
2. You can hold the ⇧ key to convert your node into the Asymmetrical Node and have the handles snap to 45° increments. This gesture is very handy when you want to draw waves, f.ex.
3. If you want to snap only one handle in 45° increments, hold ⇧⌥ while moving the nodes around.
4. After drawing your node, click on it again with the Pen Tool. This will display your node with only one handle.
With the Pencil Tool , you can draw free-form paths. Create shapes and paths freely with a pencil-like, smooth flow. This tool can be used to draw free-form paths.
The Pencil Tool is fantastic for creating free-form shapes and lines in Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator). It resembles a pencil, and when you click and drag with it, it forms a line that organically follows where you dragged it on the canvas, just like a real pencil would behave. The Pencil Tool was developed to draw free-form paths, similar to how we draw on paper using a pencil.
How to activate the Pencil Tool
You can activate the Pencil Tool by clicking the Pencil in the Toolbar or pressing N on the keyboard.
As soon as you have activated the Pencil Tool, a slider appears to the right of the Toolbar with which you can control the smoothness (A) of your path. Additionally, the Smoothing Slider can be found on the right side of your screen in the Shape Section of the Inspector (B).
How to create shapes with the Pencil Tool
With the Pencil Tool, you can create open or closed shapes with a Fill and Stroke color. You can toggle the Fill and Stroke on or off in the Color Widget or the Fill or Stroke Sections in the Inspector.
How to adjust the pencil smoothness
When you have the Pencil Tool activated in the Toolbar, a slider appears to the right with which you can adjust the smoothness of your path. Additionally, you can find the Smoothness Slider in the Shape Section of the Inspector.
After you finish drawing the path with the Pencil Tool, you can adjust its smoothness afterward. (This smoothing operation only applies if the Pencil Tool has drawn the path.)
Select the path you created, then activate the Pencil Tool, and the Smoothness Slider will be activated in the Shape Section inside the Inspector.
Watch the video in our tutorials to learn how to use the Pencil Tool. We’ll teach you everything about this versatile tool's basic functionalities, tips, and tricks.
The Brush Tool allows you to draw freeform vector paths with variable width settings.
Press the Toolbar button or B on the keyboard to activate the Brush Tool. Once you’ve activated the Brush Tool, a slider labeled Brush Size (1) pops up. This slider controls the size of your brush: the lower the numeric value, the smaller your brush width, and vice versa.
Once you activate the Brush Tool, the Stroke Section in the Inspector will switch to Brush Mode, where you can create new brush presets or use existing brush presets. The Brush Editor and the Brush Selection Pane are in these content-aware options.
How to customize brush settings
The Brush Editor is the panel where you can customize the Shape (1) and Contour (2) properties of your Brush. Additionally, you can Preview, Save or Reset your Brush Settings in this panel. To open the Brush Editor, click the Brush Editor button in the Stroke Tab.
At the top of this panel, you can see a preview of the Shape of your brush (viewed along the Z-axis).
At the bottom of this section, you'll find three brush settings sliders, which allow you to:
- Change your brush’s Roundness by dragging the handles in the Preview Window towards the center of the circle or using the Brush Shape Setting Sliders. Another option to change the roundness attribute of your brush is to click on the numeric field above your slider and then enter a value with your keyboard.
- Change the Angle of the brushstroke, which defines the rotation of the brush. You can set the value within 360˚. A rotation of 0˚ will create a horizontal brush, and a 90° rotation will result in a vertical brush.
- Set the Minimum Width of the brush according to the defined contour profile. Any changes to this value will be displayed in real-time in the Preview Window (3) below.
- In this section, you'll find the Contour Graph that visualizes the brush profile. Here, you can:
- Reshape the contour of your brush by moving the draggeable handles that form the brush contour along the X and Y-axis.
- add new handles by clicking on the graph.
- double-click on a handle to delete it
As soon as you move the handles within the graph, you’ll see the changes in real time in the preview below.
In this section, you'll find a Live Preview Window that visualizes the current Brush profile and displays your currently set Shape and Contour options.
The Contour Graph shows a view of the brush from the frontal view; the Preview shows the view of the brush from the top view.
How to save your custom brushes
To save your custom brush, click the Save button. You can find your saved brushes in the Brush Selection Pane under the Your Brushes section. Press the Reset button if you are unsatisfied with the current brush. This will reset your brush settings to the default settings, including the shape and contour parameters.
Here is an example of three Brushes with different settings:
The default Contour Profile has all initial handles set at the same height, resulting in a flat profile.
The Regular Settings
In the Regular settings of the Brush Tool, you can set the following attributes of your brush stroke:
- The Position of your stroke on the path
- The appearance of the Start and End Segments of your brush. You can choose different segment styles for the Start and End Segments.
- The Cap behavior of your stroke. The Cap attribute is a presentation attribute defining the shape to be used at the end of open paths when they are stroked. You can choose between an open, round, or rectangular Cap.
- The Join behavior of the brush stroke: The “Join” field allows you to edit the angles of your stroke path. You have three Join options available:
- The “Miter” option creates a sharp corner.
- “Round,” as the name suggests, creates a rounded corner.
- The “Bevel” join creates a flat corner.
- Set the Dash and Gap attributes of your stroke numerically.
The Brush Selection Pane
By clicking on this pane, it displays a list of the Preset Brushes (B), which are built into the Brush Settings panel. These preset brushes can be used as they are or as the starting point for your custom brushes.
Preset Brushes cannot be deleted.
After you have saved your first brush in the Brush Editor, the Your Brushes (A) section will appear at the top of this panel. You can save as many brushes as you want, and they will be shared across all your documents in Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator). Your brushes are saved locally to the device on which you created them.
Your brushes are always saved to your local hard drive.
A quick and easy brush setting creation
You can use the saved preset brushes as a base for new brush shapes. To do that, choose a brush in the selection pane and open the Brush Editor. In the editor, you will find the settings for the selected brush, which you can further customize. To save your changes, press save, and your settings will be saved as a new brush set.
Changing the path Smoothness
The Brush Tool works like a freehand tool, so you can start drawing a new path just as you would on paper. The vector path will follow more or less precisely the path of your cursor, depending on the smoothness value you've set.
If you want your brush path to follow exactly what you draw, you can set the smoothness to 0%. The higher this value, the more Curve will smooth your brush curves and simplify the path you have created. To change the Smoothness, open the Shape Section in the Inspector and adjust the Smoothing slider (1), or enter a numeric value.
Brushes are the perfect tool if you enjoy creating beautiful typography and lettering. Check out the Beginner’s Guide to Brush Lettering and try it out yourself.
Video Recap | How to use the Brush Tool on Mac
Our brushes got a complete makeover and are now quickly and thoroughly editable as any other path inside the app. Add, edit, delete, and move around nodes or change their type. And change your brush profile with just two taps to any of our dozens of presets. But have fun with it and create your own!
Plus, any path in our app can take on a unique profile defined by your brush parameters - which means that the Pen, Pencil, and Shape Tool have now expanded their capabilities infinitely. And we mean it! We're super excited to see what you guys create.
Learn to master Linearity Curve like a Pro, and join the full Mac Curve 101: crash course.
Create pre-made geometric shapes, such as rectangles, circles, polygons, straight lines, stars, and spirals, with the Shape Tool. The Shape Tool allows you to create any pre-made geometric shapes.
It is located inside the Toolbar (on the left side of the canvas) and will give you access to different shape options in the Context Menu.
Rectangle : To activate it, click the Rectangle Button or press the R key on the keyboard. When selected, you can change the roundness of the corners of your object with the slider that is accessible by clicking on the three-spoke gear symbol.
Polygon : Slide to alter the number of sides in the object.
Oval : To activate the circle shape, click the Oval Button or press the O key on the keyboard. Holding the shift key while drawing your shape allows you to create a circle instead of an oval.
Star: Slide to define the number of points in the star shape.
Line : To activate the line shape, click the line icon or press the L key on the keyboard.
Spiral : Slide up and down to alter the decay of the Spiral shape.
To add any pre-made shape to your document, you can click and drag it anywhere on the canvas.
Hold the ⇧ button or drag on the green circle at the bottom-right of the scaling bounding box, to keep a 1:1 aspect ratio of your shape while dragging it onto the canvas. This is useful if you want to draw a square or circle.
How to draw premade shapes
To draw a premade shape on the canvas, select one of the shapes in the Shape Tool menu and click and drag anywhere on the canvas. If you want to create a square instead of a rectangle, hold shift while clicking and dragging on the canvas. The same technique applies to the Oval Tool.
Select the Oval Tool, hold shift while clicking and dragging on the canvas, and get a circle shape instead of an oval shape. When you drag the Oval Shape Tool or the Rectangle Shape Tool from left to right on the canvas, the cursor’s position will be the top left corner of your shape and vice versa.
Polygon Shapes and Star Shapes will be automatically drawn from the shape’s center.
Depending on the direction you drag, the top of the shape takes that direction. If dragged upward, the top is oriented upward, and vice versa.
How to edit the corner radius
Any corner point of a vector shape can have sharp or rounded corners. In Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator), you can use the Corner Radius Slider to adjust the corner radius of a shape.
To change the radius of the corners of your shape, select the shape and click and drag on the Corner Radius Slider inside the Shape Section above the Appearance Section in the Inspector.
If you want to change only a single corner point of your shape, select only one corner point by using the Node Tool. Then click and drag along the Corner Radius Slider to adjust it.
How to draw straight lines
Activate the Line Tool by selecting the line icon in the Toolbar or by pressing the L key. Click on the canvas where the line begins, then drag it to where you want it to end. Hold down shift to let your line snap at 45° increments.
Creating stars in Curve can be quickly done by using the Star Tool.
To activate it, click on the Shape tool inside the Toolbar (6th tool from the top) and then select the Star Shape.
If you click on the Star Tool, you can access a slider (2) by clicking on the three-spoke gear symbol. The slider allows you to control the number of points of your star shape. The number displayed in the slider corresponds to the number of points. The same slider will appear at the top of the Inspector in the Shape Section (3).
The Star Tool shortcuts
When drawing with the Star Tool, you can modify the shape of your star by using shortcuts that will help you to modify the points of your shape and their direction.
- If you hold down ⇧ while creating your star, you can change how sharp or soft the angle of each spike will be.
- You can also change the direction of the spikes by clicking and dragging up or down to switch the orientation of your Star Shape.
Creating spirals in Curve can be quickly done by using the Spiral Tool. To activate it, click the Spiral Icon inside the Toolbar (the bottom option). With the slider accessible by clicking the three-spoked gear symbol, you can control the decay value (2).
The Decay specifies how much each spiral wind should decrease relative to the previous wind.
To draw a new spiral, click and drag anywhere on the canvas. Click on the canvas where you want the Spiral line to begin, then drag from bottom to up, vice versa, left to right, or vice versa to set its direction.