Swooshes in Illustrator
● Create a Custom Brush and Apply it to a Shape.
✓ Convert Anchor Point Tool✓ Custom Brushes✓ Pathfinder Tool
• This tutorial is part of a series:
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: cd-cover-template.ai...
… (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 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 - FIRST_NAME_LAST_NAME_PROJECT_NAME.ai]
✓ 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.