Swooshes in Illustrator

       ●   Create a Custom Brush and Apply it to a Shape.

Learn About:

Convert Anchor Point Tool Custom Brushes Pathfinder Tool

•   This tutorial is part of the Design Your Identity, Monster Mesh, CD Cover, Free Trade 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 ~

  Create a New Layer, lock your others.

Step #3: Draw a Circle ~

Get the Ellipse Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (L) …

… and create a circle on the artboard.





Hold down Shift while dragging to make a perfect circle.

Step #4: Change the Shape ~

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

… select the point on the right side of the circle and drag it out.

Step #5: Change the Shape ~

Select the Convert Anchor Point tool behind the Pen Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut: Shift (⇧) + C

… and use the handle bars to change the anchor points and make sharp corners.

Step #6: Create a New Brush ~

Open the Brushes Palette …

… and, 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 #7: Make a Swoosh ~

First, set your Stroke to black, and “none” for Fill

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

… and click once on the artboard to bring up the Spiral Tool Options.




Play with these settings all you want.

Click “OK” and create your shape, which might look something like this:

Step #8: Apply the Brush ~

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

Then your can get rid of the original brush.

Step #9: Size of Stroke ~

You can adjust your stroke size in the Stroke palette …

Step #10: Make Another Swirl ~

Use the Spiral tool to create a smaller swirl and apply the same custom brush stroke.

Step #11: Symbol Size ~

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

… and adjust the symbol size - if necessary.

Step #12: Reflect ~

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

… eflect your axis as Horizontal and click OK.

Overlap your 2 shapes the way you like them.

Step #13: Expand ~

Us then go to the “Object” menu and select “Expand" and/or Expand Appearance.”

This outlines the shapes but they still have an outline.

Step #14: Pathfinder ~

Go to: Window > Pathfinder and click Unite to combine the shapes. 


Here is the result: A single swoosh made from 2, with one path!

Step #15: Continue creating shapes ~

Once you create 1 swirl design, it’s easy to copy and overlap that same design by resizing, reflecting, or rotating, to create a more complex design derived from the original.

Step #16: Install Custom Brushes ~

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

… click on the Brush Libraries Menu

… and save the Brushes as your name or whatever.

Step #17: User Defined Brushes ~

Now you can use your symbols on other documents. Click on the Other Libraries again, go down to User Defined - and open the custom brushes you created.

Drag out a new brush onto the artboard, and combine it with the one you made.

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: