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How to Create a 3D Marker in Illustrator

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There are many ways to create a marker in Adobe Illustrator, but this might be one of the quickest. It only takes three paths, some text for the imprint and a 3D effect to create a semi-realistic and freely rotatable marker. So let’s get started!

Final Image Preview

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Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS3
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Estimated Completion Time: 30 minutes

Below is the final image we will be working towards.


Step 1

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the following path. You will need it for the marker itself as well as for its cap. Set the Width to approximately 5 mm and the Height to approximately 12 mm.

Step 2

Use the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) to round the two corners as seen below.

Step 3

Duplicate your path (drag it to the side while pressing the Alt key). Then use the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two lower Anchor Points of the duplicated path and stretch the shape to a Length of approximately 70 mm.

Step 4

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the tip of the marker. The Height is approximately 20 mm. Select both elements of the marker and group them (Command + G).

Step 5

Select the cap (the first path), place it next to the tip of the marker and flip it horizontally (Object > Transform > Mirror).

Step 6

Select the Add Anchor Points Tool (+) and add two new Anchor Points to the path: one at the left side and one at the top. Then use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move the upper-left Anchor Point as seen below.

Step 7

Remove all outlines and fill the shaft of your marker with a light gray (K=10) and the tip and cap with red.

Step 8

Use a black and bold Sans-serif font for the text of the imprint. You could even add additional elements like a barcode if you want. Placing it vertically and adjusting its size at this stage is useful.

Step 9

Group (Command + G) all elements of the imprint and drag and drop it into the Symbols Palette to create a new symbol.

Step 10

Select the cap of your marker and revolve it (Effects > 3D > Revolve). Activate the preview and rotate it.

Step 11

Now select your marker and revolve it too (Effects > 3D > Revolve). After you rotated the marker press the Map Art Button. This will open a new window.

Activate the preview and click through the surfaces. Once the red grid of the desired surface is shown, select the imprint symbol from the left drop-down menu. Click the OK buttons to close the windows again.

Step 12

Once the marker is finished, select the Brush Tool (B) and draw a red line. Place it behind the marker (Object > Arrange > Send to Back) and open the Brushes Palette (Window > Brushes). Click on the icon for a New Brush and create a Calligraphic Brush. You can experiment with the settings, but I recommend choosing an almost round brush with little random values.

Step 13

If you want to put the cap on the marker, just replace it in the 2D view. Make sure to leave a small gap between the marker and its cap and group all three parts of the marker (shaft, tip and cap) before applying the 3D effect.


The final image is below and have fun creating your own markers.


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