Buying designs from the Silhouette Design Store is great, but there are also plenty of tools in Silhouette Studio to help you create your own designs. Today, I’m starting a new series on using the Drawing Tools in Silhouette Studio to get you going in the right direction. Some of them I’ve mentioned briefly in other posts, but I want to have more in-depth lessons. I know different people prefer learning different ways, so I’ll write out the instructions, then include a video at the end. Let’s start with the most basic — draw a line.
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Finding the line tool icons
The drawing tools are all location in the icon bar at the left of the software.
I can already hear someone saying, “Whoa! I don’t have that icon! Is it a feature in the upper software levels?” Nope — this is in every level of the software. But if you’ve been using those tools already during your software session, it stays as that the last one you used. If you hover over the icon, you’ll see a secondary menu bar pop out with more icons. You can select any of those now.
There will be some drawing tools that are ONLY in Designer and Business Editions, but this set is in any level.
Drawing a line
First, click on the icon that looks like, well, a straight line. Now move your mouse toward the design area. You’ll see that your mouse cursor has changed to a “+”. That indicates you are in the drawing mode for set types of shapes.
Click your mouse where you want to start drawing the line. Then just pull your mouse in the direction you want to go. Click again to stop drawing.
Make it stop!
Speaking of stopping drawing, you may run into this. You draw your line, then the software just keep on drawing lines and you don’t know how to make it stop. There are several ways to save your sanity with this–
- Hit your Esc key.
- Click on the Select icon at the very top of the left-side icon bar (the arrow).
- Click another icon.
This feature in the software is one many people don’t like. You can change it permanently to make it go back to the selection mode right away.
To open your Preferences, click on the blue gear in the lower right of the software, or go to the Edit>Preferences drop down menu.
Once the Preferences panel opens, the Tools tab. The first option in the list is “After Creating a Shape.” If you click on the white arrow at the end of the line, you’ll see 2 options for telling the software what to do after you draw a shape.
- Choose Select
- Continuing Drawing Shapes
Mine is currently set to “Continue Drawing Shapes,” because that’s what’s it shows when I don’t click the arrow to drop down that menu. All I have to do is click to “Choose Select” and hit OK at the bottom right of the Preferences dialog box. Now once i draw a line, the software automatically goes back to the selection mode instead of drawing mode. You can come into the Preferences and change this any time you like. For example, if you’re going to be making a bunch of different lines one right after the other, you might want it on.
You’ll see other options in this area as well, so feel free to customize your software the way you want it. For more on Preference settings I recommend, see this post.
Making it a perfect horizontal, vertical or 45° line
There’s another really cool trick or keyboard shortcut to use when you draw a line. You can make it perfectly horizontal, vertical or at a 45° angle. What you do is hold down your SHIFT key as you draw.
- Click the icon for the draw a line tool
- Press and hold your SHIFT key
- Draw your line
- Release the mouse key and then the SHIFT key. This is the most important part!
I’ll be sure to point out all the times you can use that trick for drawing shapes in other lessons in this series.
Okay, for all you folks who prefer to see it in action, here’s a short video showing how to draw a line, including setting that preference and using the keyboard shortcut I just talked about.