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Draw Symmetrical Image in Adobe Illustrator

draw symmetrical image in adobe illustrator

You may have noticed how symmetrical image are made with equal dimension on each side, only using pen tool? Your hand is not perfect to draw symmetrical image entirely on pen tool.

So here is the trick; first draw haft part of the image -> duplicate the image -> reflect any one image -> at last join both the image together.

To make it simple I’ve crafted some steps below.

Make symmetrical image

Reflecting an image

To draw a symmetrical image, first trace half part of any artwork you’ve created using pen tool. Here I’ve traced an artwork of a bat. First make transparency of your artwork low (about 50%) and lock it by pressing ctrl+2, so that your artwork will not move while tracing. Later to unlock your artwork press ctrl+alt+2. Make stroke size a little larger to make outline visible and do not use color at the beginning.

Before using pen tool start with a vertical ruler to symmetrically divide your art work. To enable ruler, go to ‘view’ -> ‘rulers’ -> ‘show ruler’. Ruler panel will appear and you can drag ruler from left side or top of the art board. Now start tracing from a vertical ruler (in the middle of artwork) towards the right hand side of artwork. At every anchor point in vertical ruler, always make sure if the handle is horizontally aligned. This will avoid creating sharp points when anchor point of original and reflected image meets together.

While drawing outline take care of the anchor point. Every anchor point must start and meet at the path or anchor point of another outline. This will create a compound (area completely surrounded by outlines) to make individual shapes using shape builder tool (which you will use after making symmetrical image).

After you have traced half of the image, select all outline with selection tool. Then hold alt, click and drag the selected image to create a copy. Reflect the copy image vertically by going to ‘object’ -> ‘transform’ -> ‘reflect’ on the top navigation bar.

Now bring the reflected image and join it’s anchor point with the anchor point of original image. By joining both the image you will get a symmetrical image as shown in the picture below.

drawing symmetrical image

Learn: How to use clipping mask in Adobe Illustrator

Coloring the image

Before coloring, you should add shape to each compound. You cannot directly add color to the shapes of symmetrical image you made because there is no specific closed compound. As I have mentioned above, shape builder tool will help in creating shapes inside a closed compound.

Now select all the outlines and start adding shapes (shapes you want to color specifically) with the shape builder tool.

adding shape using shape builder tool

In the above picture I’ve selected all the outlines and added shape to the body and hands (body and hands have open compound). Also add shapes to other compound (like: in wings, in legs, in tails etc.). Problem may occur… If any one anchor point is not connected to another anchor point or a path, shape builder tool will add shape to the compound you want to shape, also to the near open compound, and both compound will act as a single shape. So take care of anchor point while drawing outline.

After creating shapes for all the compound, now it’s time to add color to your symmetrically made image. Select shapes individually and add colors you like.

Drawing symmetrical bat image

This is the final result I got after coloring the shapes. Here, I kept stroke size to give cartoon effect and changed stroke color to grey at the darker area.

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