Deke’s Techniques: Drawing trendy swirls in Illustrator

Published by | Tuesday, August 30th, 2011


This week, Deke draws you into a swirling vortex of spirals, by showing you how to create custom curlicues in Adobe Illustrator. Although you can find swirly patterns everywhere these days from business cards to painted fingernails, the spiral is actually a classic enough form to have an Illustrator tool expressly named for it. By using a source image of carefully crafted embellishments as a guide, Deke shows you how to employ the spiral tool, and then customize your shape with a host of other Illustrator features. This week’s free movie will show you how Deke made this curly creation (in black, below):

As you’ve probably noticed, Deke likes to share his weekly techniques in under ten minutes. Ten minutes in Deke-time is usually around 11:30, but even with that grace period, this technique spins by very quickly. You may find that you’d like to have a little better grasp on paths, joins, and transformations in order to get your swirls in shape. If you’re a member of the lynda.com Online Training Library®, check out a couple of useful chapters from Deke’s Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals course; Chapter 4 will guide you through basic line art drawing and Chapter 7 will show you transformations and edits at a more relaxed pace.

And lynda.com members will be treated to two exclusive videos this week as well. In the first one, Deke creates the swirls by using Illustrator CS5′s wonderful new Variable Width tool. In the second movie, Deke will show you how he created another variation on ornamental objects.

Every week, there’s a new technique from Deke. (And sometimes, for members, there are three!)

Interested in more?
•The entire Deke’s Techniques  collection
• Courses on Illustrator in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

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2 Responses to “Deke’s Techniques: Drawing trendy swirls in Illustrator”

  1. Joel says:

    Hey Deke-
    Why wouldn’t you draw just one spiral, and use the (Shift+W) stroke width tool to get the variant thickness? It seems that would be the fastest/most efficient way to get the look you were going for?

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