Line Variation in Illustrator | Tutorial

Line Variation in Illustrator Tutorial

In a previous Design Tip of the Week, we mentioned the increasing trend of icons and simplistic, geometric illustration. While their minimal, clean aesthetic is perfect for some situations, there are other times when an illustration needs to have more personality and be more dynamic. Line variation can add that extra flavor.

Line Variation Example-01

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how I personally add line variation in Illustrator (there are, however, many different approaches and methods). Let’s begin!

Line_Variation_Tutorial_Article_Image_1

We’re going to use this guy for our first example. (He may look familiar, but he is in fact a different blob-person than the one I previously introduced in an other tutorial.)

Line_Variation_Tutorial_Article_Image_2

Take a look at the Stroke Panel, you’ll notice that the (line) profile is uniform – consistent all the way through. (Also the line weight is 3 pt. – this will come into play later.) We want to change that. After all, our friend here has some lovely curves that need to be accentuated. With a monotonous line weight, no wonder his expression is rather plain.

Line_Variation_Tutorial_Article_Image_3

Illustrator offers an array of line treatments.

Line Profiles-01

We’re going to select one that has more variety.

Alright! Now we have something going on. However, I am not so sure if I want the line to be as thin as it is where it tapers.

Line_Variation_Tutorial_Article_Image_5

This is a crucial part in fixing line weights that are too thin. You’ll want to…

1. Click on the original line
2. Copy it
3. Paste IN PLACE (Shift+Command+V or Shif+Ctrl+V).
4. Set the newly pasted line weight to a lower value (than your original, dynamic line). Our original line was at 3 pt., so I’ll make this one’s line weight set to 1.5 pt.
5. Change its Profile to Uniform

Line_Variation_Tutorial_Article_Image_6

Ta-da! Just by those simple changes, our blob friend now has more personality. He even now has a charming mustache!

Now let’s take a look at an example that is a more complex illustration. And what better imagery than a pig with a jet booster strapped to its back!

Jet_Booster_Pig_Comparison-03

Jet_Booster_Pig_Detail

As you can see, the illustration on the right has more complexity and character with its linework than the version on the left. The varying thick-to-thin lines play off the curves of the rounded forms and the angular lines of the more streamlined shapes.

Now give it a shot! Go transform those boring vectors into lively illustrations! In addition to this one, we have TONS of tutorials on illustration in the Arsenal. Check ’em out and start creating masterpieces!

Thanks for reading!

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With hundreds of posts in our archives sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. Our Start Here page is a great place to get started. This page holds 7 quick guides to becoming the creative you’ve always dreamed you’d be. You’ve landed on one of these lists so let’s get started, shall we? Read on to learn how you can:

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1. From Sketch to Vector Illustration
2. Aged Type Effect in Photoshop (w/Ps Action)
3. Intricate Patterns in Illustrator
4. Vintage Typography Tutorial
5. Create 3D objects in Cinema 4D from vector art
6. Tutorial: How to Design and Print Custom Silk Screen Die-Cut Stickers
7. Collaboration! Two samurai (artists) are more powerful than one.
8. Easy to accomplish VSCO Cam effect in Photoshop
9. Screen-Printed Movie Poster Tutorial by Pale Horse
10. Go Media’s Rapid Fire Illustration Technique
11. Thick Line Art: Creating Iconic Vector Art
12. The Lost and Taken Poster: A case study and texturing tutorial
13. Illustration Tutorial: “The Man Who Knew It All”Technical Process & Design Philosophy
14. Typography Tutorial: The Soul in the Machine – Adding Glitch Techniques to Your Work
15. Easy to Accomplish VSCO Effect in Photoshop
16. Distressing Techniques in Adobe Illustrator
17. How to Set Up Your Wacom for Awesome Results
18. Comic Book Style Graphic Design
19. Create a Dream Design with 3D Typography
20. Gigposter Design: The New Sex
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22. How to Create Explosive Typographic Effects in Cinema 4D