For starters, my advice is to make a circle (use Ellipse tool+Shift combination). Select the circle using “Direct Selection tool”, four basic points and vector controllers (red extension lines).

image 1

Draw using “Pencil tool” and practice making various swirls.

image 2

Play with “Pencil Tool Preferences”, see how they affect the drawing.

image 3

Now, take it to the next step and make a simple “swirl” shape. Something like this:

image 4

Then make it’s inner (or outer) outline following the existing line. Connect outer and inner line in order to get closed shape: select two starting points and to Object -> Path -> Join. Do the same with two ending points. Reduce or add points using “Pen Tool” in order to fine tune the swirl shape.

image 5

Color the swirl and store it as a Brush or a Symbol. Make a small database of various shapes that will later be used for drawing Swirls Illustrations, like mine “Adobe Illustrator Swirls Symbols”.

image 6

Now, let’s make a little case study. To make a Swirl Illustrations that looks like the one in the header of graphics-illustrations blog, we need:

Determine the size and shape of the blank space. We will now use simple quadrant shape.

image 7

Create a new layer bellow. Use the simple artist brush symbol below the layer that contains the quadrant to create an “outline”

image 8

Again, create a new layer. Now add some ink splatters around, on that layer.

image 9

Add some swirls on the layer above the layer that contains ink splatters (but bellow the layer with the shape and layer with it’s outline)

image 10

Add some more swirls, and also add some swirls on the new layer on the top.

image 11

In the end, add some stars… and that’s it.

image 12

© Photographer: Bsilvia | Agency: Dreamstime.com

If you’re wondering how to colorize the symbols or even change their shapes: select all symbols and use the “Break Link to Symbol” – now you can manipulate shapes and colors until the dawn breaks or until you’re happy with the results – whatever comes first


How to Draw Swirls Illustrations in Adobe Illustrator