January 23, 2012

I Miss FreeHand

I miss Macromedia FreeHand's freehand tool. When Adobe bought Macromedia, I wish they'd incorporated it into Illustrator. Instead, all I've got is Illustrator's lousy pencil and its dumb brushes.

You see, if you're drawing in Illustrator and you start drawing a new line too close to where you stopped the previous one, the software deletes the old line and replaces it with the new one. I don't know why somebody thought this was a useful feature. Perhaps Adobe's programmers thought that everyone likes to draw in one, long, unbroken stroke?

The only way to stop Illustrator from deleting the line you just drew is to deselect it. In older versions of Illustrator, this was Cmd + D. Annoying, but not too much trouble. However, in CS3, they've changed the keyboard shortcut for deselect to Shift + Cmd + A, a whole new "three-finger salute." At least I can change it back in the preferences, but it's still annoying.

In FreeHand, I could just draw, with a tool that responded to the pressure of my pen. Look at the difference. Here's some doodles I drew in FreeHand:

And here's one I drew in Illustrator, with a pencil and a brush line:

See how one-dimensional the brush looks? I miss FreeHand.


  1. Hi Susanna,
    I stumbled across your xlent comparison of Illustrator and FreeHand pens and I just finished a couple months working strictly in Illustrator and couldn't believe how backwards everything is. I got through the job and the client was happy but it took hours to do what would have been minutes in FreeHand. And besides using the clumsy tools, another big reasons is this crazy searching for palettes and tools that are hidden like an easter egg hunt; Or as someone once told me, "a thousands little islands that aren't linked by any rational thinking."

    FreeHand has character, style, and ease and I sure don't buy the old line; if I simply learn illustrator then I'll love it. I did and I don't...

    — Maeric9

    1. Maeric, I agree. I wish Adobe had used the FreeHand technology they bought to improve Illustrator! If you haven't read the post after this one, though, do: it has some tips about how to fix a few of Illustrator's more annoying problems.

  2. Dear Susanna it's 2019, your post is from 2012 and is STILL very accurate. XD I'm going though a rage moment with illustrator right now. On that would NEVER happen with Freehand. I sound like an old woman but I miss Freehand. A lot!

  3. Can't you just use your brushes from Photoshop though?