Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC
Illustration by John Hersey

Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC

with Deke McClelland

Video: Drawing multiple lines at a time

In this movie, we're going to draw these multiline flourishes

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Watch the Online Video Course Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC
1h 52m Appropriate for all Apr 02, 2014

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Illustrator CC does something that few updates to the program have done: It promises to change the fundamental way that you draw. Yes, there was the Pen tool in Illustrator 1, Pathfinder operations in Illustrator 5, and dynamic effects in Illustrator 9. But Illustrator CC changes the entire nature of the game. Deke's not exaggerating; the things he's about to show you are that big. Learn about the "new" Pencil tool, on-the-fly corner rounding, and freeform curve bending. 3 features in 3 short chapters that will change the way you see Illustrator. Then Deke shows how to combine them all in a real-world Illustrator project that proves his thesis: drawing has never been faster, better, or easier than this.

Topics include:
  • Drawing effortless arcs, paths, and lines with the Pen tool
  • Selectively and dynamically rounding corners
  • Drawing complex shapes with round corners
  • Bending segments with the Pen tool
  • Beveling and enhancing artwork
  • Drawing multiple lines at the same time
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Drawing multiple lines at a time

In this movie, we're going to draw these multiline flourishes that you see on all of the right-hand terminals. So, upright, downright and over here in the bar, as well. And, we're going to do so by taking advantage not only of the new round corner function, but we'll also assign some variable widths, a dynamic effect, and a blend. So I'll go ahead and switch over to my artwork in progress and I'll zoom on in as well. And I want this first line to take up about half of this first arc right here.

So I'll press the P key to switch to the pen tool. And I'll click right about there. And then I'll click here in order to add another corner point. And I'll click up here as well. Now I want the stroke to be white and the fill to be none. So I'll press the V key to switch to the black arrow tool. I'll select the entire path outline by clicking on it. And I will change the fill to none up here in the control panel. And I'll change the stroke to white. And I also want the initial line weight to be 0.5 points. And, I'll go ahead and click on the word Stroke and change both the cap and the join to round.

So, you want to select these two central icons right there. Alright, now I'm going to zoom on in by Ctrl + Space bar or Cmd + Space bar dragging. And I'll press the A key to get my Wide Arrow tool. And I can see my little round corner control there. At which point, I'll go ahead and drag as far as I can down left, as you see me doing here, which doesn't really give me as much rounding as I might like. But, it's a good start. Alright, now I'll go ahead and zoom on in. So that I can see then I've got extra end points. Down right and up left, so I'll go ahead and select this little extra end point right there, and press the backspace key or the delete key on the Mac, to get rid of it.

And then, I'll scroll up left until I can find that top left endpoint, and I'll select it and press the backspace key or the delete key on a Mac to get rid of it as well. Alright, now, press control Y and command Y on the Mac to switch to the outline mode. And I'll marquee this segment to select it independently of its anchor points. And now I'll press Control Y or Command Y on a Mac to switch back to the preview mode. And the reason I had to switch back and forth is because, otherwise, it would have been quite hard to select the segment independently. And now, I'll just go ahead and drag it down left in order to reduce its curvature just a little bit.

All right, now I'll Alter Option click on the path in order to select the entire thing, and I'll go ahead and move it up and to the right just a little, and next I'll select the Width tool, which is located immediately below the Scale tool. Here inside the tool box, and it allows you to create variable width strokes inside of Illustrator. Pretty new tool, but not new to Illustrator CC, anyway, I'll go ahead and select it. And then, I'm just going to double-click on this end point right here, the bottom right end point. In order to bring up the width point edit dialogue box and I'm going to change the total width value to four points and press the tab key and we end up with this effect here.

Now I'll go ahead and click okay, in order to accept that change. Alright, how I want to replicate this guy a few times. So I'll press the V key to switch to my black arrow tool, just so I don't run the risk of introducing any more width points. Because if you leave the width point tool selected, it can be quite confusing if you try to drag the path around for example. And in my case I might just press the up arrow key in order to nudge it upward one point. And then I'll go up to the effect menu, choose distort and transform, and choose the transform command. And, first thing you want to do is turn on the Preview check box, and then I'll just go ahead and reduce the horizontal value.

By pressing the down arrow key. And that nudges the path over to the left, at least it makes it appear as if it's nudging it to the left, and then I'll press the up arrow key a few times for the vertical move value, to nudge the path down. And then, I want to nudge up this copies value right here, by pressing the up arrow key, and in the end I wanted a total of four copies. Now as you can see, things are a fair mess, this isn't exactly what I want, but this is how you get started with this sort of effect and so now I'll go ahead and highlight the vertical move value again.

And I'll press the up arrow key in order to raise it up to six points. And now click OK in order to accept that effect. And it looks like I've managed to nail this quite nicely. All right, now I'll go ahead and zoom out. By pressing Control minus, or Command minus on a Mac. And I want to create a copy of not only this segment and its effect down right. And so I need to flip this current path outline as well as duplicate it, so I'll go ahead and click and hold on the rotate tool and select the reflect tool from that fly out menu.

And I'll Alt click right about here, midway between these two terminals. So that's an Alt click on the PC, or Option click on a Mac. You want to go ahead and set the axis this time around to horizontal. And if you turn on the preview check box, you can see that that does, indeed, create a duplicate down right. At which point, you want to click on the copy button. So you're creating a copy of the original, as opposed to flipping, that original, of course. And now I'll press the V key to switch back to my black arrow tool, and I'll go ahead and drag this guy up to right about there, might work.

I don't know, I might nudge it up from the keyboard a little bit as well. Obviously, I need to modify my transform settings and you do that by switching over to the appearance panel once again. Which, as you may recall, you get by choosing appearance from the window menu. Then, I'll click on the word transform inside of that panel. And I'll turn on the preview check-box, and then I'll click inside the horizontal value. And I'll press the up arrow key in order to nudge that value upward. Until I end up with a horizontal value of four points.

Now I am seeing the stroke poke through a little bit and we'll take care of that in a minute. But first I want to nudge this angle value because notice that this particular terminal flares more than the other one. So I'll go ahead and click in the angle value and I'll press the down arrow key a couple of times. In order to reduce the angle value to negative two degrees, which produces this effect here. Which is a little bit too much, actually. So I'm going to try 1.7 degrees, well, that's actually too much as well, let's try negative 1.5 degrees, which I think looks a little bit better.

And now I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that effect. And just to make sure everything's aligned where it should be, I'll press the down arrow key and the right arrow key just to nudge those lines into a slightly better location. Alright, now to take care of the bar here, I'll go ahead and zoom in on it. And this time I'm going to grab my pen tool by pressing the p key and I'll click here and I'll shift click here. And then with the pen tool still selected I'll press the alt key or the option key on a MAC and drag that segment downward.

And then, I think this guy is a little bit too high, so I'll press the A key to switch to my white arrow tool, and I'll click on that anchor point, and I'll nudge it down like so, and I might go ahead and drag this segment up a tiny bit as well. Alright, this looks good, so I'll select the entire thing by Alt clicking or option clicking on it, with the white arrow tool, and I'll, once again, grab my width tool, which by the way has a keyboard shortcut of shift W, in case you feel like you might be using it a lot. And I need to make sure that the baseline weight is 0.5 points so I'll go ahead and enter that in the control panel.

I'll click an award stroke. I already have a round cap so that's good news. So I can just go ahead and hide that panel and then I'll double click on that right hand end point. And change the total width value to four points once again. And click okay in order to create that variable width stroke. Now I'll press the V key to switch to the black arrow tool. My entire path is selected as you can see, so I'll switch to the reflect tool which I can get by pressing the O key because, after all, O is the ultimate symmetrical character.

And now I'll Alt click right about there. That would be an Option click on a Mac in order to reflect that path. It's looking good when the axis is set to horizontal so I'll just click the Copy button and I'll nudge that guy up like so, and then, what you want to do is switch to your black arrow tool, which you can get by pressing the v key, Shift click on that top half. Go up to the object menu, choose blend and choose make. And that, in my case, gives me a ton of blended steps in between. That is not what I want at all.

So I'll go up to the object menu again, choose blend, and choose the blend options command. And notice that my specified steps value is 100. More likely, if you're working along with me your spacing value will be set to smooth color, and if you turn on the preview check box, that's probably just going to give you one step in between, but just to confirm, that's what we have. I'll switch back to specified steps and change my value to one, and then I'll click okay in order to accept that change, and we now have everything we need.

Or Cmd+0 on the Mac in order to zoom out from the illustration, and if at any time you feel like you want to make a modification notice I can press the A key to switch to my wide arrow tool. I can click on this anchor point right there and I can press the down arrow key to nudge it down, and then I could lift up. I could just drag up on that segment in order to reduce its curvature just a little bit. And because I'm creating these four copies, using a dynamic effect all of the copies update automatically. And that's how you create these multiline filligrees using a combination of round corners, variable width strokes, dynamic effects, and a blend.

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