Affinity by Serif, Affinity Designer, workbook

Draw Persona Tools

Affinity Designer’s Draw Persona is where you’ll find all your vector drawing tools. This is the default persona and will always be active when you open a new or existing document/illustration. This is mostly because when using designer it is expected that you are probably working on a vector illustration.

This week I will be walking through the general purposes of these tools and the main observable differences between the Mac/PC and iPad versions of the software. I have also drawn (pencil sketches) of what the icons look like on desktop versus iPad for visual people like me so you can see the differences (they are not drastic but still).


Artboard Tool

pencil sketch of document with text area blocked off and blue dotted line surrounding the document

The Artboard tool allows you to add move and resize the art boards within a document. This icon does not change between desktop or mobile.

white rectangle with carrot (triangle in top right corner) and 3 dots on bottom across center. all this is above slate gray circle

On iPad the artboard is not immediately available on the display. You first need to open the document menu to get to the Artboard tool.

Node Tool

The node tool is what you would use when modifying previously drawn curves and shapes. If you have a smart keyboard or bluetooth keyboard attached to your iPad then the keyboard shortcut that is available on desktop (A); will also be available. If you press the A button with a keyboard connected then your active tool will automatically switch to the node tool.

Pen Tool

This is an essential vector tool, allowing you to quickly create Bézier Curves (parametric curve used in computer graphics). The keyboard shortcut (P) will work on iPad if you have Keyboard attached.

Shape Tool

This tool is designed to help effortlessly add complicated shapes. It can be used to add a variety of shapes (rectangle, ellipse, square star, cog, diamond, arrow, heart, callout ellipse, callout rectangle, donut, polygon, triangle, tear, trapezoid, cloud, crescent, star, pie). The keyboard shortcut will not work on iPad.

Corner Tool

blue bar with grey arc (half circle) crossing through. The blue bar is at 45 degree angle and the arc crosses through the top third of the bar

This tool is simply used to round corners and angles that are made with the pen tool. On the iPad you can use the keyboard shortcut (C) if you have a keyboard attached.

Pencil Tool

With the pencil tool you can create a hand drawn look that is still vector. In a way you are using vector based brush techniques to give a chalk look for example. It has been my experience with this tool that you need to watch the corners but it works decently well and allows for fully resizable lossless quality that you get from a vector drawing. Also because of the nature of iPad and Pencil you don’t need a wacom or other pressure sensitive drawing tablet to complete your illustrations. Also the keyboard shortcut (N) works on iPad.

Vector Crop Tool

grey box border with smaller blue box and a 45 degree grey slash through from corner to corner

This tool is used to remove portions of selected objects, grouped objects, and even images.

Vector Brush Tool

This is going to paint by scaling or repeating the brush image along a path. You can change the brush using the brushes panel, and if your attached to a keyboard the shortcut (B) will work with this tool.

Fill Tool

The Fill tool gives you the ability to add gradients in real time. It uses the keyboard shortcut (G) which will work on iPad.

Transparency Tool

This tool allows you apply and edit transparencies to both vector art and text. With this tool the keyboard short cut does not work on an iPad.

Place Image Tool

white rectangle with carrot (triangle in top right corner) and 3 dots on bottom across center. all this is above slate gray circle

With the Place image tool you can add images to your document at their original dimensions. You will then have to adjust the size of the image accordingly to your document. This tool is also found in the Document menu not on the main toolbar.

Color Picker Tool

As with most color pickers it samples a color from the document and then will add that color to the fill or stroke in the color studio. On iPad you can find the eye dropper with the color picker not out on the tool bar. Also when you use the keyboard shortcut (I) will pull up a context toolbar on the bottom center of the screen that will let you tap anywhere on the screen to put the color in the color studio.

Text Tools

There are two types of text tools one is artistic text and the other is a frame text. With text you can type a work, a page, etc within a document. You can create and edit text on a path and within a custom shape. The keyboard shortcut (T) does work to switch to the Text tool from another tool however you cannot shuffle between art text and frame text like you can on the desktop.

Thank You

As I have said before thank you so much for reading all the way to the end. The next post will be about the Pixel persona, tools, icons and the basics of what they do. My goal is to have it done by next week but getting the Draw persona done in a week was tricky with all the sketches and notes so I promise all you wonderful people that I will do my best.

I appreciate all you wonderful people who take the time to read my musings and self teachings. 

Thank you all and Happy Designing; till next time 💚

This was found on the Affinity designer Website.

UPDATE: March 19, 2020, as of the launch of Affinity Designer 1.8 you can now have and edit your own keyboard shortcuts. When you open the settings in Affinity Designer for iPad you’ll now see a tab that says shortcuts. When that is open there are a list of available tools 🧰 that can be given shortcuts. Just select the action you want and then use your keyboard to set the shortcut to anything you want. (and don’t worry 😉 about messing anything up there is a reset button if you ever want to go back to the default settings).