I want to use the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator to make hair strands for a vexel portrait. I have to make hundreds of strands. The problem is that I would like to use the pen tool to make two anchor points (to make a strand of hair) without having to select the selection tool after each strand to make a new one.

Here's a video of what I am talking about: Vector/Vexel Hair Tutorial (Part 1)

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    Two quick suggestions - first, learning keyboard shortcuts helps massively. v and p are your friends in this case. Second - there may be easier ways to make loads of hairs. One untested suggestion off the top of my head: you could use techniques from here to make loads of copies (skip the first answer), use Object>Transform each with 'Random' ticked to shake them up, then bring them back down to a baseline with Window>align palette, make a pattern brush of them, and then apply that to a path you want the hair to follow. Aug 14, 2012 at 15:12

3 Answers 3


Your question is a bit confusing since you link to a video using Photoshop, not Illustrator.

However, to temporarily use the Selection tool in Illustrator just hold down the Command key on the Mac or Ctrl key on Windows.

So... Pen Tool, click, click, Command key-click, release Command key, click, click, Command-key-click, etc.

Another option is to use the Deselect All item. When you want to deselect a path simply hit Command/Ctrl+Shift+A.


Just press "P" after you create a strand and it'll allow you to make a new one. Click, click, P, click, click, P...one hand on the mouse and one hand on the P key makes it pretty efficient.


If you double click on the Pencil tool there is a checkmark box for "Keep selected", Uncheck it and it should solve your problem.

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