Deke’s Techniques: Drawing a heart in Illustrator

Published by | Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Draw a classic heart in Illustrator

Yes, you heard it right. This week, Deke’s Techniques gives a little love to that occasionally daunting yet imminently lovable drawing tool, Adobe Illustrator. Although many of you know author Deke McClelland as a Photoshop maestro, in today’s technique, Deke returns to one of his early digital loves and shows you how to draw a classic heart shape in Illustrator. If you’re Illustrator-phobic, as I have been known to be, let me assure you even I was able to draw this shape by following Deke’s clear instructions.

The steps are fairly simple, and employ only a few easy-to-use tools: the Arc tool, the Reflect tool, and the trusty black and white arrow tools (officially known as Selection tools). By adjusting curves drawn by the Arc tool, we safely avoid the far more complicated Pen tool. And, in the end, what could be more a more appropriate command for joining two halves of a heart than using the Join > Paths command in Illustrator CS5. Ah, vector love. So unpretentious, uncomplicated, and mathematically defined.


Of course, sometimes you want your declaration of love to be florid, eye-catching, and just this side of over-the-top. Or maybe just the other side of over-the-top. For subscribers to the lynda.com Online Training Library®, this week’s new exclusive video in the Deke’s Techniques course features that same heart shape taken to a glossy extreme in Photoshop:

And of course, lynda.com members can view the entire collection of Deke’s Techniques here. You’re bound to find something there to love that will make your creative day just a little easier, sweeter, or more exciting.

We’ll be back next week with another free technique from Deke, in which Deke goes 3D. See you (in your 3D glasses) next week!

Related links:
Deke’s Techniques
courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

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5 Responses to “Deke’s Techniques: Drawing a heart in Illustrator”

  1. Eric says:

    Using CS4 due to financial reasons. Trying to join the paths is not easy. I fluked the path join on half of the heart but find it impossible to fluke the join of the path for the hole heart.
    The message I get is
    to join, you must select two open endpints, If they are not on the same path, they cannot be on text paths nor inside graphs, and if both of them are grouped, they must be in the same group.

    Any clues

  2. Hi, @Eric! Yes, paths got much easier to join in CS5. But I’ve consulted Deke for a CS4-friendly alternative:

    –Get the white arrow (direct selection tool).

    –Marquee the overlapping points at which the tops of the heart halves meet up.

    –Press Ctrl+J (PC) or Cmd-J (Mac).

    –Now marquee the two overlapping points at the bottom of the heart.

    –Press Ctrl+J (PC) or Cmd-J (Mac) again.

    That should do it. –Deke

    • TCarroll says:

      I tried to do that and got the exact same message as Eric. However I can’t just select the top portion with that white tool… when I try the entire heart gets selected and I get that annoying error message. :( Please help! I need to learn this for my Basic Graphics Design class!

  3. Tam says:

    I would love to watch this tutorial, and not have to steal images, like the one below, from the internet. However, it appears the video is private, an ironic result of the title of this page, as well as an inconvenience.

    • No one *has* to steal – that’s a personal decision – all you have to do is ask. Some of our YouTube videos have been placed offline lately, so we’re happy to fix ‘em as I just did here, just let us know. Enjoy!

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