Skip to main content
Graphic DesignIllustrationIllustrator

How To Make A Swirl In Illustrator

By October 19, 2021No Comments

Arturth is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How To Make A Swirl In Illustrator

How To Make A Swirl In Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is an excellent piece of graphics software that can be used to create incredible designs, and edited images.

This is by no means a new piece of technology, in fact Illustrator was first released in 1987, so it is an absolute classic when it comes to image editing and graphics. 

But, even though it has been around for a long time, there is no denying that Illustrator can often be difficult to use and control.

It is not the most user-friendly of software, and it can take a little while to master this technology.

Even once you have learned how to do the basics, it can still be difficult to learn how to navigate the different features of this software.

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at how to make a swirl in Adobe Illustrator. So, if you want to find out how to do this, then keep on reading.

What Is A Swirl In Illustrator?

Now, before we go any further, you might be wondering what a ‘swirl’ is.

Unless you are completely familiar with Illustrator, then you might not know what this type of graphic is, so let’s take a look. 

As its name suggests, a swirl in Illustrator is a spiral shape that looks like a swirl that you would draw on a piece of paper.

Swirls differ in Illustrator because you have to use technology to create this, and because of this they are almost perfect once created. 

A swirl in Illustrator will start off narrow in width, and then become thicker as it curls around into a swirl.

Due to this, the swirls are incredibly aesthetically pleasing, and perfect to add to any design or graphic. But, why might you decide to create a swirl in illustrator? Let’s take a look.

Why Would You Create A Swirl In Illustrator?

You might be reading this and wondering why you would create a swirl in illustrator.

There are lots of different reasons why you might do this, as it will depend heavily on the reason you are using Illustrator. 

If you are using Illustrator, you might be doing so to create a poster or some similar style of graphic.

If this is the case, you might decide that you want to add swirls to your design to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

A swirl can transform a boring design into something that is truly beautiful to look at, so this is why you might do this. 

Alternatively, you could be using Illustrator to work on an art or graphics project.

In this situation, you might have to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and ability to create a swirl using Illustrator.

If this is the case, and you don’t actually know how to create a swirl in Illustrator, you are in the right place. So, let’s have a look at how to create a swirl in Illustrator.

How To Make A Swirl In Illustrator

So, with no further ado, let’s take a look at how to make a swirl in Illustrator.

Swirls are sometimes known by different names in this software, some people call them ‘swooshes’ because their design does look very similar to one of these objects. 

If you are using a ‘swirl’ in a poster, then you can actually buy this type of graphic, and because of this it is very difficult to find them available for free. Unless you make them yourself.

To do this, you should use Adobe Illustrator. But, where do you begin? Let’s dive right in. 

Create A Custom Brush

If you want to create a truly breathtaking swirl, then you first need to create a custom brush in Illustrator.

If you do not do this, then your swirl will likely be very thin and unimpressive, and this is because the brushes that are readily available on Illustrator are generally on the skinny side.

But, thankfully, you can create a much more dramatic brush yourself using Illustrator. 

To do this, select the ‘Ellipse’ tool, and create a circle on the art board. Then, drag the circle while holding down the ‘shift’ button to constrain the circle.

Then select the ‘direct selection tool’, and select the point on the right-hand side of the circle. You can then drag that side of the circle out so that the right-hand side of the circle now forms a point. 

When that is done, select the ‘convert anchor tool point’ and click on the anchor that you dragged to create a sharp angle.

Using the ‘selection tool’ enter the ‘brushes’ palette and click on the top right-hand arrow. Select the ‘new brush’ tab, and then ‘new art brush’, followed by ‘ok’.

Double check that your brush goes from left to right in terms of thickness, then click ‘ok’ once more, you now will have created a custom brush. 

Make A Swirl 

With your brush created, you can now create a swirl. Before you do this, ensure that your brush stroke is ‘black’ and your fill stroke is ‘none’.

Then click on the ‘spiral’ tool and click on the art board to bring up the ‘settings’. Adjust the settings so they now say as follows:

  • Radius – 50px
  • Decay – 80%
  • Segments – 4
  • Style – option 1 

Select ‘ok’ and your shape will be created. It will be very narrow and thin looking, so you then need to head to the ‘brushes’ section and select the custom brush you created earlier.

This will completely transform your swirl as the swirl will now be thick like the custom brush that you made earlier.

From there, you can simply adjust your stroke size and angle as you see fit. Play around with it and have some fun, because your swirl is complete! 

Summary

So, as you can see, creating a swirl in Illustrator isn’t as tricky as you might first expect. Yes, Illustrator can be quickly difficult to use at first.

But as soon as you know what you are doing, you will realize just how easy this software is to use. So, if you want to create a swirl in Adobe Illustrator, check out the guide above.

Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is ARTURTH's Chief Editor, Senior Graphic Designer, and artist from the Pacific Northwest.

More posts by Camden Taylor