Category Archives: Strokes

Stylish Rope Tutorial

Today I’ll show you how to make a stylized rope using Illustrator.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator
  • Ellipse Tool
  • Pathfinder/Shape-Builder
  • Rotate Tool


1. A. Use the Ellipse Tool to draw a circle (by holding shift).

B. Draw a three circles vertically so they fit in the original circle. Thus each small circle has 33.333% the size of original circle.

C. Use the Shape-Builder Tool/Pathfinder to cut out a C-shape from all the combined shapes.

D. Copy and reflect the shape towards the other shape. Move the shapes as shown below.

2. A. Move several copies (of how many you want) down if such a way the C-Shapes will form an S shape. Lower the opacities of the shapes could help precisely move the C-shapes. Make a copy of some of the shapes for later.

B. Use the Shape-Builder tool to combine shapes into a rope-like structure as pictured below.

3. A. Move over two C-shapes to form an S-shape. Draw some black-filled circles inside the shapes’ “hollow” centers as shown below.

B. Copy a circle over the left circle as show.

C. Select the circle’s left anchor-point and delete it.

D. Select the semi-circle and click Shift+X to quickly switch the stroke and fills of the object so that the black fill will turn into a black stroke.

4. A. Click R to bring up the Rotate Tool. Hold option/alt and select the Rotation Point to be at the center of the left black-filled circle. Make the angle 10° or somewhat close.

B. Click OK then press Cmd/Ctrl+D to transform again. Rotate the black-stroke object several times but stop till one copy is between the two black circles such that it touches both of them. Then rotate about the center of the other circle and make the angle -10° or so.

C. Rotate several times again and stop when the black-stroke object stops intersecting  the S-shape object.

D. Delete the unnecessary parts (circles and s-shape) and group all the black-stroke objects together.

5. A. Copy over all the different parts that comprise the rope structure as pictured below.

B. Copy over and line up the black-stroke group under one other shape and select them both then right click and choose Make Clipping Mask.

C. Continue this clipping mask process for the other rope parts.

D. You should four separate clipped rope parts as seen below.

6. A. Add a black stroke to the rope structure.

B. Move over the clipped objects over to the rope structure. If their behind it (make sure it’s still selected), right-click and choose Arrange>Bring to Front.

C. Continue to move over the clipped objects and rotate/reflect if necessary.

D. When your pieces are all in the right places, make a final color change if needed.


T-Shirts Time

As I’ve been tasked with redesigning buttons/brochures, I have also been tasked to redesign the AVID 2011 T-shirts. Since the AVID team voted for a certain T-shirt design, I’ve been told to illustrate the design onto a computer version. I started this project today and this is its progress so far.

Look out for a tutorial tomorrow.

Olive Branch Tutorial

Today I will show you how to make a simple Olive Branch Symbol. As I mentioned before, there are different ways to recreate a symbol but I’ll teach my own method first.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator CS5
  • Transform Tool
  • Anchor Points
  • Strokes Profile


1. A. Make a new document and make a circle using the Ellipse Tool with a black stroke or with any color you want.

B. Make the stroke thicker if needed and choose Width Profile 1 (looks like a doulbe-covnex lens shape) from the default profiles.

NOTE: If you’re using different versions of Illustrator, use a long, thin triangle artbrush on a semi-circle.

2. A. Use the pen-tool to add two anchor-points on two sides (near the topmost anchor-point) of the circle (see picture for help).

B. Use the white arrow tool to select the topmost anchor-point and delete it. Your object should look like what you see below.

3. A. Draw somewhere else and away from the “stalk”.  Use the Ellipse Tool to draw a circle with some color fill and no stroke.

B. Use the white arrow to select the topmost anchor-point and move it up some significant distance.

4. A. When your selection is perfected, move up the texture layer above your working photograph layer. You will still see the dashed outline on top of all the layers.

B. With the anchor-point selected, click the button (that looks like a square with straight lines sticking out from its right and bottom side). This will convert the selected anchor-point to a “corner.”

5. With the leaf perfected, move it on the bottom of our “stalk.” Make sure to rotate it so it looks like it sticking out of the stalk. Copy this leaf onto the opposite side so it’s equidistant from the center of the stalk.

6. A. With one leaf selected, go to Effect>Distort and Transform>Transform… .

B. A window should show up. Input values and click preview to see what you’re doing. Adjust the scale (vertical and horizontal) so it’s less than 100%. Adjust the movement with a negative vertical value and a positive horizontal value. Adjust the rotation (positive value) as well. I recommend having 9 copies. Fine-tune the value to get an effect like you see below.

C. Transform the leaf on the other side as well. Switch the positive to negatives or vice versa if needed.

7. A. Go to Object>Expand appearance to expand all the leaves into individual objects.

B. You should see all the leaves having a blue outlining which indicates an editable object.

8. A. Add the same leaf shape above the original bottom leaf and rotate it so it looks like it sticks out of the stalk as well. Copy the leaf on the other side so it’s equidistant from the center of the stalk like last time.

B. Add a transformation effect to it as well. Adjust the values as needed.

C. Add a transformation effect to the other side as well. Adjust the values as needed.

D. Expand the appearance for these two transformations as well.

9. Finally add the same leaf shape to tips of the stalk shape. Add some color to it if you want.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.

Making a Simple Baseball Icon Tutorial

This tutorial will show you how to make a Baseball icon which will resemble the one I used for my January calendar.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator
  • Strokes
  • Brushes
  • Slight experience w/ Illustrator


1. A. Draw a circle with a white/gray fill. B. Draw curved secants on both sides of this circle.

2. A. Draw a shape such as an askew triangle (see picture below) and give a red fill (this will become our thread). B. Select this object, then go to Brush tab (click F5 to bring up the Brush Window) and click on the “New ___” symbol to create a new brush (see picture below). A window will pop up, choose the scatter brush option. C. A new window will pop up. For right now, just click OK.

3. A. Now select both of your curved paths. B. Then click on your new brush and you will get something as you would see below.

4. A. Go to the Brush window/tab and double-click your brush or click the Brush Settings button next to the new brush button. B. Now a window will pop up (that you’ve already seen). Click preview to see what you’re doing and adjust the spacing, size, and rotation to your choosing but be sure to make the rotation relative to path. Then click OK.

5. A. Select the two paths and group them together. B. Draw a circle of the same size as our original and move it to the front. Then select that circle and the paths, then right-click and choose Create Clipping Mask.

6 A. Select both the circle and the clipped paths and add a Drop Shadow by going to Effect>Stylize>Drop Shadow. B. Adjust numbers to your choosing. C. If you’ve followed the steps right, you should’ve got something close to this.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial.

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