How to Draw Shapes with the iBooks Author Pen Tool

By Galen Gruman

iBooks Author provides many predefined shapes that you can use in your ebook, but if those shapes don’t suit you, you can draw your own with the Pen tool. Although Bézier-style pen tools are common in illustration applications, most people don’t use such apps and so are unfamiliar with its drawing method. It’s a bit odd to use the first few times when you want to draw curved lines because it doesn’t work the way you might expect. Follow these steps:

1Choose the Pen tool from the Shape icon menu.

Alternatively, you can choose it from the Insert→Shape submenu.

2Click in your document where you want to set the starting point.

iBooks Author provides 15 predefined shapes, plus the Pen tool that you can use to draw your own lines and shapes, using a method called Bézier.

3Click the second point, but don’t release the pointer.

A Bézier pen tool is the standard pen tool in almost every illustration application and is widely used in many other programs’ drawing functions.

4Drag the pointer.

The control handle appears.

5Rotate and adjust the length of the control handle.

This changes the line segment’s curve direction and pitch. Experiment until you get the line the way you want it.

6Release the pointer to create the curve.

If you don’t do the click-and-hold routine, you get a straight line when you click the subsequent location. Of course, you can mix curved and straight segments in the same shape.

7Click and hold the next point, adjusting its curve the same way.

You can edit a curve at any time by clicking one of its points and then dragging the control handle that appears.

8When you’re done, double-click the starting point to create a closed shape.

Alternatively, press Esc to create an open shape, with the last point created becoming the endpoint.