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Tools & Tips

Quick Tip: How to Create an Abstract Curly Banner

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Follow this quick tip and learn how to create an abstract curly banner. We will use multiple appearances and many Art brushes along with the Transform effect. Also, if you like curls this is good opportunity to practice drawing so let's begin!


Step 1

First open a new web document. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a 220 x 220 px circle then Copy and Paste it in front because you will need it later. Hide the copy for now. Next, take the Scissors Tool (C) and click on the two anchor points indicated to cut the shape. Delete the shorter path.


Step 2

Stroke the path obtained with an Art brush called Quick Brush 1 that you can find in the Brush Libraries menu under Artistic > Artistic_Paintbrush. You can select any stroke color.


Step 3

Having the same path selected, go to the Appearance Panel and from the fly-out menu choose Add New Stroke. Change the stroke color to differentiate them and increase the Stroke weight to 2 pt. This time use an Art brush called Marker-Rough, which can be found under Artistic > Artistic_Ink.

We don't want that the two brushes to be overlapped therefore having the red stroke selected in the Appearance Panel, go to Effect menu > Distort&Transform and apply the Transform effect. As a result the brush will rotate minus 20 degrees.

Here is the Transform Effect window:


Step 4

Choose again Add New Stroke from the fly-out menu and change the color. Drag this attribute between the two existing strokes then use another Art brush called Dry Brush 6. You can find it under Artistic > Artistic_Paintbrush. Next, having this green stroke selected in the Appearance Panel, go to Effect menu > Distort&Transform and apply again the Transform effect. This time rotate the brush 20 degrees.


Step 5

Add another stroke as you did before, change the color and drag it above the first brush stroke (purple). Use the Dry Ink 2 art brush that you can find in the Artistic_Ink category. Increase the Stroke weight to 2 pt. Now, having this black stroke selected, go to Effect menu > Warp and apply the Shell Upper effect. As a result the top part of the brush will be wider.

Here is the Warp Options window. A 7 % Bend value is enough.


Step 6

Add one more stroke (the last one) and this time use the Fire Ash brush, which can be found under Artistic > Artistic_Ink. Drag this attribute under the first stroke (purple) and change the Stroke weight to 0.5 pt. Now, go to the Appearance Panel and double click on this blue stroke to open the Stroke Options window. Here check the Flip Along option.

Ultimately, having this last stroke selected in the Appearance Panel, go to Effect menu > Distort&Transform and apply again the Transform effect. Rotate the brush minus 35 degrees.


Step 7

The path is ready and before you continue make sure that all the appearances are in the correct order, as shown below. If yes, go to the Object menu and select Expand Appearance then Ungroup. Now, select each brush (the resulting groups) and replace the five colors used with the green shades indicated.


Step 8

Next unhide the copy of the circle made at the first step, which should be behind all the green groups. Select white as the fill color then go to Effect menu > Stylize and apply the Drop Shadow effect.


Step 9

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a flat oval having the dimensions shown. Select using the Direct Selection Tool (A) only the right and the left points and click the Convert Selected Anchor Points to Corner option. Drag the resulting shape into the Brushes Panel and choose New Art Brush.


Step 10

Now, take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a path like the one below and stroke it using the brush saved at the previous step. Change the Stroke weight to 0.75 pt then from the Object menu select Expand Appearance and Ungroup twice. Fill the resulting shape with white then go to Effect menu > Stylize and apply the Drop Shadow effect. Change the Bending mode for the white fill to Multiply (not for the shadow!) to make it transparent. We don't have to see the white fill but only the shadow. This shape should be behind all the green groups but in front of the white circle.


Step 11

Now, draw using the Pen Tool (P) the path you see below. Stroke it using the same brush and change the Stroke weight to 0.25 pt. When you are done, select from the Object menu Expand Appearance and Ungroup twice. Fill the resulting shape with the green color indicated then go to Effect menu > Blur and apply a 2 px Gaussian Blur. Change the Blending mode to Overlay.


Step 12

It's time for the curls. Take the Pen Tool (P) and start drawing the paths as in the image below then stroke them using an Art brush called Tapered Stroke that you can find in the Artistic_Ink category. Continue to draw more curls and select different stroke weights as indicated. Send all the curls in back.

Next draw the blue curls shown below also using the Pen Tool (P). All three have a 0.25 pt Stroke and the brush I've used this time is Tapered-Round. You can find it in the Artistic_Ink category.

Continue with the red curls and use again Tapered-Round to stroke them then set the weight values as indicated. Having one of the three red curls selected, go to the Appearance Panel and double click on the brush stroke applied to open the Stroke Options window. Here check the Flip Along option. Do the same thing for the other two red curls.


Step 13

Now that all the curls are ready, select them all and choose Expand Appearance then Ungroup twice from the Object menu. To color them follow the numbers indicated next to each curl and use the gradients shown in the right side. Adjust the angles if needed.


Step 14

At this step select all the curls, group them and send them in back. Go to Effect menu > Stylize and apply the Drop Shadow effect using the settings shown.


Step 15

The curly banner is ready and you can type any text. The font I've used is called Rodi de Asis and can be found here.

At this point you can use the green banner made to create others by changing only the colors. First replace the shades of green (the ones shown at step 7) with the pink shades indicated. Then follow again the numbers indicated next to the curls and replace the gradients with the ones shown. Finally, change the fill color of the shape obtained at step 11 with light pink. The pink curly banner is ready.

Here is another example. Use again a copy of the green banner and simply change the colors and the gradients as shown in the next image. Of course you can choose any colors you want.


Final Image

We came to the end and this is the final image, I hope you have enjoyed this tut.
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