Adobe Illustrator Tutorial – The Pen Tool & Clipping Masks

Using The Pen Tool For Clipping Masks

Sometimes you will creating clipping masks of odd shaped object and when I say odd shape, I mean anything other than a circle, square or any other geometric shape.


While in college I had my Internship at a company that dealt with huge machinery. Their machines were larger than cars with many areas of open space within the shape.

My job was to clip out the images and when I say images I mean 6 hours a day of clipping image after image. I call it the “Wax On Wax Off” lesson in Graphic Design because now it comes second nature.

In the video below you will learn how to skip out on Photoshop in this case. Of course when working with an image you will need to first make sure that the image is CMYK if it’s being printed which will require using Adobe Photoshop, but for this tutorial’s purpose we are skipping Adobe Photoshop and doing the entire Clipping Mask in Adobe Illustrator.

You will learn some of the basics, although I created this video assuming you know a tiny bit about the Pen Tool, but if not I will have an easy intro video coming out soon. Graphic Designer Tips will teach you how to Add Anchor Points, Subtract Anchor Points and convert hard edged points into rounded points.

There was a time when all of my masking of images would be done in Adobe Photoshop. This is the alternative.

This is an image of the Pen Tool and it's various options in adobe illustrator

A The Pen Tool (p)
B Add Anchor Point (+)
C Subtract Anchor Point (-)
D Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C)