You know when you see someone else’s symmetrical, equal-distanced, perfectly lined design and you silently curse them to the eternal fires of hell for all eternity for being so damn great?
Yeah, I’ve been there too. Well, what would you say if I told you there was a way to create your own symmetrical, equal-distanced, perfectly lined design in UNDER 30 SECONDS?
KA-BLAM! Mind blown, right?
I’m going to let you in on a secret I discovered a few months ago – those of you who have known this for years, kindly f*%k off. There is a magical tool in Adobe Illustrator that takes a simple lined drawing and transforms it into a detailed, equidistant masterpiece. It’s real magic, I pinky swear.
The Blend Tool takes a simple shape made of singular lines and replicates them equidistantly from one another. You can choose how many replications of that singular line you want – the more lines you choose the more detailed the outcome will be. When working with vector objects, it also blends between two open paths to create a smooth transition between two objects, and lastly it combines various blends of colours to create pretty rad colour transitions. Basically, this tool has the potential to make some very cool shit.
Below is a step-by-step process of how this tool works with regards to repetitive linework. If you want to find a way to thank me I like whiskey.
Draw out your rough image using only lines, with a width of about 0.25mm of the pen nib. Make sure your illustration is 100% symmetrical (draw one side first, then copy and reflect it). Wherever you want there to be “shading/darkness”, overlap the lines. This will allow the lines to repeat on top of one another and therefore give the illusion of depth.
Select the entire illustration. Click Object > Blend > Blending Options. Click “OK” when the box appears.
Select the new illustration (it’ll have twice as many lines as the previous one) and repeat Step 2. Bear in mind that not all lines will appear selected. Where you see “Smooth Colour” in the box, change this to “Specified Steps”. To the right of this drop-down menu you will see a number (usually 8). Change this number to 20 (or any number you wish – the higher the number the more lines will appear in the illustration.)
Admire all your hard work and tell your friends you did it by hand.
Written by Jo Abendanon – Junior Designer