Cutting and joining is vitally important when you’re trying to build interesting artwork and there are a number of different ways and tools that we can use for this. We’re going to look now at some of the cutting tools first.The first tool is in with the Erase tool. It’s called the Scissor tool. This tool allows you cut a path by clicking on the path with a tool.

illustrator scissor tool

Click on the path to create a cut and then do the same on the other side of the shape. You can now use the selection tool to separate the 2 shapes. This tool then leaves you with an open path.

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Click path on one side then the other

Deselect and Reselect with Selection Tool

Deselect and Reselect with Selection Tool

open paths in illustrator

The next tool is the Knife tool. It cuts up objects in a more freehand manner. Just select the object, then starting outside the object, drag the tool across it finishing outside. Deselect the object, and using the Selection tool, select one of the shapes and drag.

knife tool

Knife tool

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Deselect and reselect using Selection tool

You can keep drawing to break up the shapes as many times as you like. 

break one shape into multiple shapes

Multiple lines

As before, deselect and select with the Selection tool to separate:

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Multiple lines separated

 If you want to create a straight line, then hold down the Alt key before you start to draw. Now once you’ve got your straight line going you can then hold down the Shift key to constrain the angle to horizontal, vertical or 45 degrees. It will just snap to these angles. 

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Straight lines selection

Finally, you can of course break up a line, but just selecting individual points with the direct selection tool and deleting them.

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Pen tool shape

Using backspace to delete selection

Using backspace to delete selection

Here I have selected the top point of the circle. Then hit delete.

delete anchor point on elipse

Top points of circle selected



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