Abstract Background in Illustrator

    ●   Create an abstract background for your composition using this simple technique.

Learn About:

Polygon ToolSpiral ToolBrushes Effects

  •   This tutorial is part of the CD Cover and Picture Perfect Projects.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.


Step #1: Open your Project in Illustrator ~

Open YOUR PROJECT in Illustrator

    ●   If you are working on the
CD Cover Project open that ...

    ●   OR, if you are working on the
Picture Perfect Project
open that ...




   ●   OR, if you are working on
Shadow Life Project open that ...

… (Remember: all these tutorials are intended to be
applied to YOUR PROJECT) …



Step #2: New Layer ~

Make a New Layer, and lock lock your other layers.

Drag the New Layer behind your object.

Step #3: Polygon Tool ~

Get the Polygon Tool which is behind the Rectangle Tool …

… click inside the document itself to bring up the dialog box.

Set the sides to 3 and leave the Radius whatever …

Step #4: Transform Copy of Object ~

Then, with your line selected, go to: Object > Transform > Reflect

… then choose Horizontal and hit Copy.

Copy makes a duplicate of the original line like this:

Step #5: Move the Triangle ~

Move the top triangle down until it looks like a star …

Step #6: Combine the Shapes ~

Select both objects and open Pathfinder by going to: Window > Pathfinder

… and click Unite to combine the shapes.

Step #7: Remove Anchor Points ~

Get the Direct Selection Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (a) …

… and select one of the points shown below.

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With the anchor point selected, click "Remove selected anchor points" in the menu bar.

remove selected anchor points

Remove enough anchor points to create an arrow shape …

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Step #8: Colors ~

Set your Stroke to a color from your scheme and set your Fill to none none

stroke black fill none

Step #9: Brushes ~

Click Brushes


… and click the Brush Libraires Menu.

Try the Artistic Ink brush if you want, but choose any brush you like!

Apply the the Brushes to the stroke to create something interesting.

star shape

Step #10: Stroke Weight ~

Raise the Stroke Weight to a higher number - like 30

Stroke Weight

… and see what you get.

star shape stroke

Step #11: Spiral Tool ~

Now get the Spiral Tool spiral-tool-small-ai.png which is behind the Line Tool

… drag out a spiral …

… change the Stroke color, etc.

Step #12: Drop Shadow ~

With the object selected, go to: Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply it to the path.

Step #13: Continue ~

Using everything you've learned in this tutorial, continue creating different shapes, adding different brush strokes, using different colors, and different effects to create something unique … Do Something Unique!

Last Step: Save and Attach ~


Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects using the following naming convention:

  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.

  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.

Other Resources: http://www.bittbox.com/illustrator/easy-illustrator-trick-oversized-stroke