Affinity Designer: The Draw Persona Tools

Affinity Designer has many familiar and useful tools for graphic designers everywhere. Here is a list of the vector based tools that are available and a brief description of what they do.

Move Tool [V]

The Move Tool is used for moving, scaling and rotating vector shapes. Holding the Shift key while rotating a vector object will result in the object being rotated in 15º increments. If you hold the shift key while dragging an object, the movement will be restricted to straight lines along horizontal, vertical or 45º angles. During resizing of an object, hold the Shift key to scale an object without maintaining it’s original proportions. This allows you to squash or stretch an object.

Node Tool [A]

The behavior of the Node tool varies based on whether the object that you are editing is a line, shape or a shape that has been converted to curves. With the exception of lines you can scale, squash or stretch any closed shape by pulling on the blue dots around the bounding box that encloses the shape that you’ve selected. If you are editing some shapes, a red marker will appear that allows you to edit the key feature of that shape. For a rounded rectangle, you can push and pull the red marker diagonally to change the curve of the corners of the shape. For a triangle, you can shift the marker side to side to skew it’s overall shape. When editing curves or lines, the Node tool is used to either move the individual points, manipulate bezier handles or pull on the lines between nodes to affect the curve of the line.

Corner Tool [C]

The corner tool is used to edit the sharpness or roundness of most angles. This can be used on shapes, shapes converted to curves, closed shapes created with the pen tool or lines.

Pen Tool [P]

The Pen tool is used to create lines and bezier curves. You can click several points on the canvas to lay down a line with sharp angles or you can click on a new location, then drag to affect the curvature of that point before laying the next point elsewhere on the canvas.

Pencil Tool [N]

The pencil tool creates free hand lines. Dragging the mouse across the canvas while holding down the mouse button will result in a line that follows the path that you drew across the canvas. This tool is extremely useful when using a graphics tablet and stylus. You can also enable pressure sensitivity so that the thickness of the line varies based on hard you press on the stylus while drawing. The pencil tool will only lay down lines based on the stroke settings. Vector brushes must be applied after creating the line.

Vector Brush Tool [B]

The Vector brush allows you to select a vector brush style and then draw on the canvas in a similar fashion to the Pencil tool. Brushes can also vary in width based on pressure sensitivity if you are using a drawing tablet.


Gradient Tool [G]

The gradient tool is used to apply a color gradient to a shape, object or group of objects. When multiple objects are selected, the gradient transitions across the entire group of objects.

Transparency Tool [Y]

The transparency tool works in a similar way to the Gradient tool. An objects transparency is gradual from one end of the object to the other. Place Image Tool As the name implies, this tool allows you to select an image from your computer and place it on the canvas for inclusion in your artwork. Vector Crop Tool The crop tool allows you to quickly mask an shape, object or group of objects non-destructively. The mask can always be resized or the items inside repositioned to adjust what is visible inside the cropping frame and what is not. The cropping frame is always a rectangular shape.

Shape Tools:



The Shape tool is used to quickly create common shapes such as rectangles, ellipses and triangles. Some additional shapes are included such as hearts, speech bubbles and stars. Try editing these shapes with the node tool to adjust their features to your needs.

Art Text Tool [T]

The Art Text tool is used for adding text to your composition. Text can be typed in normally or applied to a path. Any shape can also be used as a text frame.

Pan Tool [H]

The pan tool is used to maneuver around the canvas. Switching to the Pan tool and grabbing the canvas by clicking and holding will allow you to pull the canvas in various directions so that you can see different areas of your work. You can also hold the space bar to temporarily switch to the Pan Tool. Releasing the spacebar will switch you back to the previously selected tool.

Zoom Tool [Z]

The Zoom tool will turn your cursor into a magnifying glass that allows you to pinpoint parts of your artwork to zoom in on and inspect. You can also press the Command key + plus key to zoom in or the Command key + minus key to zoom out without switching tools.