Creating Abstract Shapes in Adobe Illustrator CS4

Abstract shapes could be used in logos, artwork, wallpapers, etc. All it takes to create such abstract shapes is your creativity and knowledge about the different tools Illustrator has, using which you can achieve certain effects. Rest is absolutely easy.


Let us create this abstract shape following these steps:

1. Launch Adobe Illustrator.

NOTE: I am using Adobe Illustrator CS4. If you are not using the same version, some options may be different.

2. Create a new Print Document. (Since this is just an example, use the document default size)

3. Select the Ellipse tool from the Toolbox. If you can’t find it, it is right below the Rectangle Tool, just click on in and wait for second for the menu to open. Choose Ellipse Tool. Or just hit ‘L’ on the keyboard.

4. Make sure your fill color is black. To go to the default colors, hit ‘D’. The Default fill color will be white and stroke color would be black. Then click on the double-headed curved arrow (shown below) to swap the fill and stroke colors.


5. Now hold down Shift key and start drawing an Ellipse on your art board. This will help you draw a perfect round shape.

6. To make your Layers Palette visible, hit F7.

7. Select the layer and double click on it. Rename the layer as ‘Black Shape’ and hit OK.

8. To duplicate this layer, keep the layer selected and drag it to the bottom of the Layers panel on to the ‘Create New Layer’ icon and drop. Double click on this duplicate layer and rename it as ‘Blue Shape’.

9. Well we renamed the shape as Blue shape, yet it is black in color. So go to the Swatches panel. On the rightmost collapsed panels find an icon with grid of colors. Else go to Window menu > Swatches.

10. Choose a color and collapse the panel by clicking on the small double arrows on the top of the panel.

11. Now using the Selection Tool (black arrow tool) or click V and drag the blue shape and place it little apart from the black shape.


12. Having the black shape selected, go to Effect menu > Distort and Transform > Pucker & Bloat…


To get the above effect, move the slider to 100%. Make sure the preview option is selected.


You can use the handle and drag it up and down to get new cool shapes. Experiment with it.

Click OK.

13. Now select the blue shape, and again go to the Pucker & Bloat… tool. Now drag the handle on the left side to -100% to get the following shape.


14. Now with this shape selected, drag it onto the center of the black shape.

TIP: To place the shape at the exact center of the shape, drop it where the Smart Guide shows intersect (in green text). To turn the Smart Guides on/off – View menu > Smart Guides (Ctrl + U)

15. Now select the ‘Direct Selection Tool’ (white arrow tool) and click on the right most point of the blue shape. Then click and drag it little towards right to get the same effect I have got in the abstract shape.

Wasn’t that simple? You can create your own abstract shapes using the same method. So get creative.

Filed Under: Adobe Illustrator


About the Author: Minal is a freelance web and graphics designer. She specializes in designing Logos, Stationery, Graphics and Icons as well as website templates using graphical tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Expression Web. Twitter @saffronstroke

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