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).
The Artboard tool allows you to add move and resize the artboards within a document. This icon does not change between desktop and mobile.
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.
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.
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 the iPad if you have Keyboard attached.
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 the iPad.
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.
With the pencil tool, you can create a hand-drawn look that is still a 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 the iPad.
Vector Crop Tool
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 you’re attached to a keyboard the shortcut (B) will work with this tool.
The Fill tool gives you the ability to add gradients in real-time. It uses the keyboard shortcut (G) which will work on the iPad.
This tool allows you to apply and edit transparencies to both vector art and text. With this tool, the keyboard shortcut does not work on an iPad.
Place Image Tool
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 eyedropper with the color picker not out on the toolbar. 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.
There are two types of text tools one is artistic text and the other is frame text. With text, you can type on a page 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.
As I have said before thank you so much for reading 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 💚
UPDATE: March 19, 2020, as of the launch of Affinity Designer 1.8 you can now have and edit your 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 is 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).