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Apr 07

Simple flower and decorative curl shape in Illustrator

2009 at 10.50 am posted by Veerle Pieters

In my previous post I showed you how you can create seamless pattern brushes in Illustrator . Today I talk about two very simple shapes I’ve used in the pattern examples: a simple flower shape and decorative curl. Some of you might find this a bit too basic, but I thought it might be useful for people who are just starting out with Illustrator.

Creation of a simple flower shape

Start with a vertical line

Draw a thick line with Round Cap

Select the Line tool and draw a thick vertical line (hold down Shift key) with Round Cap (select the Round Cap option in the Stroke palette).

Rotate and Transform again


Make sure Smart Guides are enabled (View > Smart Guides or Cmd/Ctrl + U). Select the Rotate tool and click precisely in the center point of the line holding down the Option/Alt key. You might first need to add a horizontal guide to define the vertical center of the line. I usually select the object, holding down the Cmd/Ctrl key so I see the bounding box. This way it shows me where the vertical center line is and I can place my horizontal guide exactly there. In the Rotate window enter a value of 60 degrees and click Copy.


You can also just estimate the center of the line and use the Align palette options right after you've created the 3 lines (see Cmd/Ctrl + D, the next step below). Simply select all 3 lines and choose the Vertical Align Center, and then Horizontal Align Center. Then Expand the strokes into fills (see next step).

Transform again, Expand and Unite

Transform again, Expand and Unite

Now hit Cmd/Ctrl + D to repeat this transformation to complete the shape. Go to Object > Expand. Make sure Fill and Stroke are checked and click OK. Now go to the Pathfinder palette and choose Unite (CS3/CS2 users: hold down the Alt/Option key while choosing this option).

Creation of a decorative curl shape

Draw 1 big circle and 1 small and align

Draw 1 big circle and 1 small and align

Select the Ellipse tool and draw 1 big circle (holding down Shift key while dragging) and 1 small. Give both circles a stroke and no fill. Select both circles and align themvertically center, and then align them horizontally right.

Duplicate drag the bigger circle horizontally

Duplicate drag the bigger circle horizontally

Deselect the smaller circle so only the big circle is selected (use Shift key to deselect). Make sure Smart Guides are enabled (View > Smart Guides or Cmd/Ctrl + U). Click the most left point of the circle and drag it to the right while holding down both Shift and Option/Alt key: shift to move perfectly horizontally, option/alt to duplicate the shape while dragging. Drag until you cross over the most left point of the smaller circle as shown in the image above. The smart guides should help and 'tell' you when you reach this point. Release the mouse and then the keys.

Delete unnecessary path segments

Delete unnecessary path segments

Select the Direct Selection tool (white arrow) and drag a selection around the 2 top most points of the 2 big circles, hit the delete key to delete these segments.

Delete unnecessary path segments

Now drag a selection around the bottom most point of the smaller circle. You can also just click the point (using the Direct Selection tool or white arrow). Hit the delete key again to delete the segment.

Delete unnecessary path segments

Now select the most left point (part of the bigger circle) and hit delete. Select the most right point and hit delete.

Convert to fill, add color and duplicate

Convert to fill, add color and duplicate

Select the 3 strokes that are left and go to Object > Expand to convert the stroke into fills. Make sure Fill and Stroke are checked and click OK. Select each fragment separately and give each a different color. Select all 3 shapes and group them: Object > Group or hit Cmd/Ctrl + G. Select the most left point of the object and drag the object to the right holding down the Shift + Option/Alt key while dragging to duplicate the shape until you cross over the most right point of the shape (as shown in the image above). Again, the Smart Guides should help showing you when you cross this point so make sure they are enabled (View > Smart Guides).

Want to learn more?

VECTORTUTS+ Vector Tutorials and More A good and not expensive source to learn more about Illustrator, Photoshop, or web design is by joining the Tuts+ sites. You get access to the source files for just $9 a month. So your ONE membership gives you access to members-only content for ALL the Plus sites. I've written a tutorial for the Vector Tuts section.




permalink this comment Björn Wed Apr 8, 2009 at 09.00 am

Merci Veerle!!!

Make it simple ;-)



permalink this comment els Thu Apr 9, 2009 at 12.38 am

Thank you Veerle.
Your illustrator tutorials are so classy, clear and crafty!
When are you going to write a series of ‘missing manuals’ for illustrator and photoshop?
I’ll buy them unseen.
: )




permalink this comment Vasili Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 03.59 pm

Another quick way of making the flower shape is by going Object > Transform > Rotate, then enter 60 for the degree measure and hit copy! :)



permalink this comment Cathal Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 08.00 pm

Hi Veerle. I’m sure you’ve been asked this many times, but have you ever considered putting a book together? I’d buy a copy!




permalink this comment davut Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 11.22 pm

thank you. it’s wonderful and useful



permalink this comment Sue Woolfe Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 11.42 pm

I love how you are always to the point and make it sound so simple to do!



permalink this comment Graham McBride Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 03.40 am

Wow its so easy for me now ... Thanks so much, like always great help.



permalink this comment Bakimli Kadin Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 03.54 pm

it’s very interesting and also useful.
Thank you:)
By the way,i like your blog:)



permalink this comment Craigs Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 04.27 am

I’m trying to learn the basics of Illustrator for a college course and your tutorial really helped me out. It’s better than my college textbook. Thanks!



permalink this comment Matt Clarke Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 01.48 pm

You make everything so simple, could sit next to your computer and watch you draw all day! Great website, thanks for all the content. Top Marks, Matt.



permalink this comment Christian Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 10.04 am

Very good Tutorial, thanks for sharing!



permalink this comment Zeb Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 01.34 pm

Interesting tutorial. You’ve made it look very easy. Thanks for posting it :)



permalink this comment dalia Sat May 2, 2009 at 08.09 pm

Nice and simple…. Never though of creating a flower like this.

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