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