Swirly curls in Adobe Illustrator
2007 at 07.55 pm posted by Veerle Pieters
Let me start by wishing you all a very happy new year! May 2007 be a year full of inspiration and creativity! Today I’ve picked another topic from my list of requests that readers of my blog send in: swirly curls. Lets add some trendy elegance to your illustrations! Here we go…
Step 1 - Draw a spiral
Go to the Toolbox and hold down the mouse on the Line Tool so the other tools are revealed. Select the Spiral Tool. Now click and drag a line from the center point outwards. Instead of click dragging you can just click to get the Spiral Options box and enter the spiral radius, decay and spiral segments and click OK. I've used 80% of decay and 10 segments. If you click drag the spiral, remember that you can move the spiral while dragging if you hold down the spacebar. Give the spiral a stroke and no filling. Copy the spiral and paste it in front: go to the Edit menu and choose Paste in Front or hit command/control + f. Now select the Rotate Tool and click the center point of the spiral and drag the spiral to the right to rotate it a bit.
Step 2 - Transform the spiral into a nice curl
Select the Selection Tool (black arrow) or hold down the command/control key so you get the transform handles. Scale the spiral as shown in the image so you add thickness to the spiral from the center point out and you'll get a nice curl in the end. Select the center points of the 2 spirals. Use the Direct Selection Tool and drag a rectangle over the anchor points, make sure no other points of the spirals are selected. Go to Object > Path > Join (or hit command/control + j) to join both paths. Now do the same for the 2 ending points of the spirals.
Step 3 - Add a fill and put the curl in place
Click the double arrows right above the colors in the Toolbox to swap the stroke to a fill. Change the fill to your preferred color. Now drag the curl in place. Rotate the curl if needed so it forms a fluent line with the object you attach it too. You can select both and choose the Add to shape option in the Pathfinder palette if needed so they become 1 object.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Maybe this can be done in another way by using a special brush instead of copying the path, transform it and join the points, not sure. I haven't experimented with that. I just get perfect curls when I use this technique.
For those who missed the final result of this illustration, check it out & download a desktop ;)
Want to learn 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.