Swirls in Illustrator

   ●   Introductory Illustrator tutorial ~

Learn About:

Custom BrushesPen ToolSymbols Effects

  •   This tutorial is part of the Picture Perfect, Monster Mesh, CD Cover, Shadow Life and other Projects. ~

  •   This tutorial is part of a series:

  •   50-swirls-ai.htm   •   51-swooshes-ai.htm  

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 Shadow Life Project open that ...



●   OR, if you are working on the
CD Cover Project open that or
begin your tutorial on this:



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

Step #2: Create a New Layer ~

Make a New Layer, lock your other layers, and drag the new layer below the your main important objects …

Step #3: Draw a Line ~

Get the Pen Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (p) …

pen tool

… turn your Fill color OFF by clicking on the little none

… then draw a wavy line on your artboard.

Step #4: Deselect ~

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

… and click somewhere on the artboard …





That's one way DeSelect an item in Illustrator!


Step #5: Fill Color On again ~

Set both your Fill Color and Stroke Color to black …

Step #6: Draw a Triangle ~

Draw a long, thin triangle shape like this:



Make sure you CLOSE THE SHAPE by ending where you began.



You know you're about to close the shape when your Pen Tool icon looks like this:


<= This is the Closed Shape icon …


Step #7: Create a New Brush ~

Open the Brushes palette by clicking on the icon brushes icon or go to: Window > Brushes.

Using the Selection Tool selection-tool-small.png drag the triangle you made into the Brush palette.

In the second window of options keep all the defaults except change the colorization method from the dropdown menu to Tints.

Tints is important if you want to change the color of the brush later.

Step #8: Apply the Brush to the Line ~

With the twirl selected, click the new brush you made:

Then your can get rid of the original triangle.

Step #9: Add a Spiral ~

Grab the Spiral Tool which is behind the Line Segment Tool …

… click anywhere on the artboard to bring up the Spiral tool options.

Step #10: Rotate the Spiral ~

Get the Free Transform Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (e) …

… rotate and size the spiral into place.

Step #11: Draw another Branch ~

Draw another branch coming of the vine.

Go to: Window > Stroke and shrink the size of the line to make it look more realistic.

Step #12: Open and Save these New Brushes ~ ~

Now that you know how difficult it is to make good brushes, open this file and in Illustrator and click the Brushes palette …

… click on the Brush Libraries Menu

… and save the Brushes as your name or whatever.

Step #13: Go Back to your Project ~

Now go back to your project, click on the Brush Libraries Menu, go down to User Defined - and open the custom symbols you created.

Step #14: Apply the Brush ~

Draw a shape with the Pencil Tool, and with the shape selected, click a brush to apply it to the stroke.

Step #15: Stroke Weight ~

Then lower the stroke weight …

Step #16: Blending Mode ~

Click Transparency or go to: Window > Transparency

… and change the Blending Mode until you get something you like.

Also, experiment with lowering the Transparency (if necessary …)

Find your colors, click it and it shows up as either your stroke or fill color:

Add some color into your design.

green vines

Step #17: Duplicate your swirls ~

Make a copy of the your swirls and, using the free transform tool, rotate and place in the lower right portion of the canvas.

Last Step: Save and Attach ~

Save your work as -]

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: .