How to Create Line Drawings in Adobe Illustrator

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In Brief...

There are many tools in Illustrator. This post will look at the line tools including Line Segment, Arc, Spiral, Rectangle Grid, and Polar Grid.

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Instructions

  1. To bring out the entire tool group, go to the Tool Bar, click and hold on the Line Segment Tool, then click the tool tear-off.
    Line Tools
  2. The Line Segment Tool is used to create straight lines. Holding down Shift while dragging constrains the plane to 0°, 90°, or 45°. When using Shift as a keystroke modifier, always release the mouse first, otherwise the line will snap to the cursor location.
    Line Segment Tool
  3. The Arc Tool creates only curved lines. Holding down Shift will constrain the line to a quarter-turn of a perfect circle. The direction of curve can be inversed while dragging by pressing the letter "f" before releasing the mouse.
    Arc Tool
  4. The Spiral Tool is great for creating quick decorative elements it's helpful to understand Illustrator parses a spiral. Select the Spiral Tool, then click and release anywhere on the artboard to open the tool options.
    Spiral Tool Options
  5. You might think the Radius is obvious, but it’s not. In most tools the radius is the measurement from the center point of an object to any of its sides. With the Spiral Tool, it’s the center point of the first, largest quarter-round, or segment.
    Spiral Radius
  6. Decay is the percentage that Illustrator will use to multiply each successive segment by the previous, or next largest segment. If you set the Decay to 100%, the spiral will look like a circle because all the spiral segments would be lying on top of each other. The the closer the Decay value is to 100%, the more wraps in the spiral. A very low Decay rate, and the spiral will look like a curved line.
    Spiral Decay
  7. Segments are the number of quarter-turns in the spiral. Here's a 10-segment 80% decay spiral next to 20-segment one.
    Spiral Segments
  8. The Rectangle Grid Tool does exactly what it sounds like. Click and release on the page to open the options where you can control the number of grid divisions.
    Recangle Grid Options
  9. if you want uneven divisions in the grid, the Skew option will incrementally decrease the width or height of the dividers.
    Rectangle Grid Options
  10. The Polar Grid Tool is similar to the Rectangle Grid Tool, but creates an elliptical grid.
    Polar Grid Options
  11. Use the Skew option to adjust the increments of the grid lines.
    Polar Grid Options

Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.

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