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 Affinity Designer v2 it is expected that you are probably working on a vector illustration.

This article walks you through the general purposes of these tools. I have also drawn sketches of what the icons look like where possible for visual people like me.


Artboard Tool

Digital ink drawing of the document menu icon on Affinity designer v2
Document Menu

The Artboard tool allows you to add, move, and resize the artboards within a document. On iPad, the artboard is not immediately available on the display. You first need to open the document menu (icon seen here) to get to the Artboard tool.

Move Tool

Illustration of black arrow cursor with a white border this is the move tool looks like in affinity designer v2 for iPad

The move tool is designed to do just what it describes, move the selected object or layer around the artboard. You will not be able to adjust nodes or tweak the illustration at a more granular level; however, you will be able to rotate, move and resize the object. This tool is available in every persona for this reason and is represented as a cursor arrow.

Node Tool

Illustration of the Node icon in Affinity Designer v2 for iPad
Illustration of the Point Transform icon in Affinity Designer V2 for iPad
Point Transform

The node tool is what you would use when modifying previously drawn curves and shapes. When using this tool you have the option of the node tool which lets you adjust nodes and curves, or the point transform which from what I can tell rotates the entire shape around an anchor point. Keyboard shortcut [A] (if attached).

Contour Tool

illustration of a white dotted circle with a carrot in the upper tight corner with a periwinkle circle inside it. It is the Contour Tool icon in affinity designer 2

The Contour Tool is designed to extend a shape’s fill area either beyond the points or down within them by adjusting the radius of the shape. As you extend beyond or within, you’ll get rounded edges where relevant. This is a newer tool to the iPad version of the software, so I am not personally more familiar with it beyond that. You can also adjust the miter of the shape.

Corner Tool

Illustration of the corner tool in Affinity Designer v2 for 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.

Pen Tool

Illustration of the pen tool in affinity designer V2

This is an essential vector tool, allowing you to quickly create points and adjust nodes. It is the base of all vector designs. The keyboard shortcut [P] (if attached).

Pencil & Vector Brush Tool

Drawing of the pencil tool icon in affinity designer v2
Pencil tool
Drawing of the vector brush tool icon in affinity designer v2
Vector Brush tool

The Pencil and Vector Brush tools are part of the same tool set. So depending on which one you want to use they can both be found in the same spot, by toggling between which one you want to use.

The pencil tool gives you the ability to draw more naturally like you would on paper. Keyboard Shortcut [N] (if attached)

The Vector Brush tool “paints” by scaling a repeating pattern along your stroke line. You can change the look of that by using the brushes panel to choose a different brush. Keyboard Shortcut [B] (if attached)

Knife Tool

Illustration of what looks like an exacto knife with a brown handle. It is what the knife tool icon in affinity designer v2

The Knife tool is like having an exacto knife built into the screen. It is perfect for quickly removing parts of or creating a compound shape. The tool cuts through all selected layers, and you will have extra layers created from the shape you’ve cut away. I highly recommend you turn on the auto close and one of the stabilizers, personally I found it more helpful when using the knife tool. Keyboard Shortcut [k] (if attached)

Fill Tool

illustration of the fill tool icon in affinity designer v2

The Fill tool gives you the ability to add gradients in real-time. I love it for giving me greater control over the shadow and flow of color in an object. Keyboard Shortcut [G] (if attached)

Transparency Tool

Illustration of the transparency tool icon in affinity designer v2 on 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.

Vector Crop Tool

Digital drawing of the vector crop tool icon in affinity designer v2

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

Shape Tool

digital illustration of a white box, representing the shape tool icon in affinity designer v2

This tool is designed to help effortlessly add complicated shapes. It can be used to add a variety of shapes and the icon will adjust to the shape selected. (Shapes available: rectangle, rounded rectangle ellipse, square star, cog, diamond, arrow, heart, callout ellipse, callout rectangle, donut, polygon, triangle, tear, trapezoid, cloud, crescent, star, pie, double star, and segment). The keyboard shortcut will not work on the iPad.

Shape Builder Tool

Digital drawing of an overlapping green circle and square with white dotted line outlining both shapes.

The version two software has added a new button in the shape builder, and it is super useful when building complex shapes. Once you have made a few shapes you want to combine, highlight the selected shapes and select the shape builder tool. The shapes will highlight with an intersecting blue line, and up in the context toolbar you will have a few options about what to do with them. You can select the plus sign, which creates a shape from the section you tap. The minus sign will remove whatever you tap. And the third icon, which looks like a circle and square overlapping, will create a new shape from the tapped section. There are a few other ways to fine-tune the tool, but this is the basics of what it does. Keyboard Shortcut [S] (if attached)

Text Tools

Illustration of a white box with a blue square and a blue letter T, it is the frame text tool in affinity designer for ipad
Frame Text
drawing of the a blue box with a white A in the middle, it is the art text tool icon in Affinity Designer for ipad.
Art Text

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. As far as I can tell, the Art Text icon is the default. However, you can switch if you choose. The keyboard shortcut [T] (if attached)

Color Picker Tool

digital ink drawing of an eyedropper which is the icon for the color picker tool in Affinity Designer V2

As with most color pickers, it samples a color from the document and then adds that color to the fill or stroke in the color studio. On iPad, you can find the eyedropper with the color picker as well as on the toolbar. Keyboard Shortcut [I] (if attached)

Measure Tool

Drawing of a yellow ruler at a 45 degree angle. This is the icon for the measure tool in affinity designer V2
Measure Tool
Drawing of a real green ruler and a teal shaded square outlined by dashed burnt orange lines. Icon for the area tool in affinity designer V2
Area Tool

In Designer V2, they have added a Measure tool. When the ruler is selected, you can measure the size of any two points that have been placed on the screen. Tapping in any two places on the artboard gives you the length in inches. When the area icon is selected, you can select/deselect different sections of the shapes and graphics on the board to get the area of an object or multiple objects. Groups seem to have some effect on this when things are grouped however so keep that in mind when working. There is no keyboard shortcut (if attached)

Place Image Tool

Digital ink drawing of the document menu icon on Affinity designer v2
Document Menu

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. There is no icon for this in Affinity Designer V2, you will use the dropdown menu and find the text [Place…] to insert an image or file into your document.

I hope this post helps you break down all the tools available in the Design Persona of Affinity Designer V2 for iPad.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read 🖤. Till next time, Happy Designing 🖤!

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