A Quick Illustrator Wave

August 23, 2018

So, my buddy TJ (@tjrogers82) and I were talking about just how – surprisingly – difficult it is to create a smooth wave shape in Illustrator. He came up with this clever idea that I wanted to jot down somewhere in case it’s helpful to anyone else.

*Note: You will need to have Adobe Illustrator CC (version 17.1 or higher – January 2014)

New Doc

Open a new document in Adobe Illustrator that’s roughly twice as wide as it is tall. (You’ll be able to adjust your wave after the fact to the dimensions you really want it.)

The Grid

Turn on the grid in Illustrator. It’s in the “View” menu, close to the bottom.

You should end up with something like this.

Drawing the Basic Shape

There are a couple of ways to draw the basic shape we need, but we’re going to use the pen tool for this one, so grab that.

Once you have the pen tool, go ahead and draw something like a big “N” or what might look like a simple heartbeat wave. Something like this:

Round the Corners

This is where the magic happens. Grab the “Direct Selection” tool – it’s like a white arrow and should be near the top of the toolbar.

With that tool selected, drag around ALL of the points in your new shape to select them all. You’ll notice that, in the corners, there is a small dot floating inside the corner.

Grabbing any one of them will apply changes to all currently selected corners, so go ahead and grab that first one (shown above) and drag down as far as you can. This will smooth out the corner (and all other selected corners) until you have a nice wave!

That’s It!

That’s all there is to it! Hide that grid and tweak away!

Wanna chat about this article or any others? Feel free to DM me or mention me on Twitter @marcusdburnette to start a conversation!

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