Deke’s Techniques: Creating a superhero shield in Adobe Illustrator

Published by | Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

In this week’s Deke’s Techniques tutorial, Deke will guide you through the process of making a shiny superhero shield in Adobe Illustrator, festooned with all the obligatory gloriousness such an object would need to ward off the most nefarious of villains. But before you can add all that freedom-loving, evil-thwarting sparkle, you’ll need to create the properly aligned shape of the shield first. This is one of those things that Illustrator makes slightly more complicated than you might expect. Never fear, you’ve got your Illustrator-superhero mentor Captain Deke at your side.

Like any good hero’s journey, this adventure begins with a quest for the elusive center of a standard American-shaped star. Unfortunately, Illustrator’s Find Center command doesn’t help because it only reveals the center of the star’s rectangular bounding box, which—due to the laws of geometry—isn’t the center of the actual star. Undaunted, you’ll have to deconstruct your star, find the center of its five inner points, and then combine that center with a copy of your original star (sound confusing? It’s not that bad—after turning Smart Guides on, Deke walks you through it step by step starting at 1:20 in the movie above). After you’ve overcome that challenge, your path to adding the concentric circles that round out the shape is clear.

Once you’ve got the shape, armed with the Flare tool and an emboss effect, you can make your shield properly reflect light (and repel evil villains).

Shiny superhero shield created in Adobe Illustrator.

With this technique under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to becoming your own Illustrator superhero.

Happy Fourth of July (a day early) to all our friends in the United States! Stay tuned as Deke will be back next week with another festive technique.


Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on
• All Illustrator courses on
• All courses by Deke McClelland on

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
• Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals
 Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials

Share this:Share on Facebook2Tweet about this on Twitter6Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0 - start learning today

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply