Adobe Tutorial: Mobile Vector Drawing with Illustrator Draw

Editor’s note: The fine folks at Adobe were kind enough to share this helpful tutorial for creating vector illustrations on tablets and mobile devices using Illustrator Draw CC. The mobile app allows you to draw freeform using five brushes and up to 10 layers to add details and complexity to your drawings. Illustrator Draw works on iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro and Android smartphones.

Tutorial: Vector Drawing on Mobile Devices & Tablets with Illustrator Draw

By Rita Almadi, Content Editor, and Erica Larson, Art Director


Customize your workspace

Sign into the app with your Adobe ID, or create one for free. Tap the Illustrator Draw icon to view Settings, then choose Preferences. If you’re left handed, set the position of your Toolbar to Right.

Tip: Tap View Tutorials for helpful tips on brush options, gesture shortcuts, and other techniques.

Tap the Illustrator Draw icon to exit Settings, and then tap + to start a new project with five artboards. Tap on the title to give your project a name. Tap an artboard to start drawing.


Add an image to trace

Let’s first insert an image in the photo layer.

Tap the layers icon and tap Photo Layer to add artwork to trace.

To add an image from Adobe Stock, type a search term; we searched “luna moth” in our example. Tap an image thumbnail, tap Save Preview, and save it to My Library. Tap OK, and your image will be saved to your photo layer.

You can reduce the opacity of the photo layer to make it easy to trace. Tap layers and drag the opacity slider.

Tip: You can license images from Adobe Stock in Draw if you want to utilize high-resolution original images in your drawing projects.



Draw freehand

The toolbar comes with 5 brushes and an eraser. Tap once on a tool to select it, or double-tap to change its settings.

Tap and hold Size or Opacity, then scrub up and down to change the value. Tap Color to access the picker, App Themes, and colors from your CC Library.

Keep your favorite brushes close at hand. To switch out a default brush from the toolbar, tap and hold a brush, then select a new one, such as the basic taper brush shown in our example.

If you like using a certain brush for most of your work, you can add it in different sizes, opacities, and colors.



Refine your drawing

Use pinch gestures to zoom in and out. You can zoom up to 64x to view fine details in your drawing.

Use the eraser to erase and refine your brush strokes. Double-tap the eraser to change the size.

Tap the undo icon to step back; tap and hold to access the redo icon.

Tip: Swipe left with two fingers to undo your last step. Swipe right to redo.


Work with multiple layers

Tap the layers icon and tap + to add a new Draw layer. Tap “…” once to duplicate, move, or reflect the contents of a layer.

To rearrange layers, tap and hold anywhere on the layer to move it to a new position in the stack.

Tip: On each artboard, you can have 1 photo layer, and up to 10 drawing layers, which keeps your drawing flexible and easy to manage.


Trace shapes

If you’re working on an iPad, iPad Pro, or iPhone, tap the shapes icon and select any App Shape, or Capture Shapes saved in your CC Libraries.

Place two fingers inside the shape to move it anywhere on the page or rotate it. Pinch inside the shape to enlarge or reduce its size.

You can draw around an App Shape to trace it with a brush, or double-tap inside the shape to stamp it. Note: You can only stamp, but not trace shapes added from CC Libraries.

Alternatively, launch Capture CC directly from Draw by tapping + in the top right of the shapes menu.


Manage your drawings

To delete an artboard from a project, tap Close to return to the project view, then tap the Edit Project icon. Tap to select the artboard—you can also select multiple art boards—and then tap the delete icon.

To add an artboard, tap the Add new drawing icon in project view. A new artboard is added at the top of the project.

To delete an entire project, tap the Delete icon and tap OK.

To view your projects at once, tap the grid icon to view projects in a gallery. Tap the project view icon to return.


Continue working on the desktop

Tap the Share/Send To icon to send your artwork to a variety of destinations. If you choose Send to Illustrator CC, the drawing will open as paths and layers when you launch Illustrator. You can edit and enhance your artwork further by recoloring it, adding type, or directly modifying vector paths.

Tip: Use Send to Photoshop to use drawings in your designs.


That’s it! You’re finished and ready to finalize your work on any Creative Cloud application.

mds_interactivedesign-500If interactive design is an area in which you want to grow, this comprehensive kit is an essential. Whether you’re a print designer making the leap into web, someone who’s already designing for the web but would like a deeper understanding of the fundamentals, or a designer diving into UX design or animation, Get Started with Interactive Design covers all the essentials you’ll need, from how to build a website and create a responsive design to UX design methods and and the five steps to creating an animation.