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How to create a stylised butterfly and recycle your existing artwork using Illustrator and MirrorMe

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Illustrator Tips / Tool/ Comments: 0

You’ve probably noticed that symmetry is all around us, in our homes and in nature itself. When designing you often need to create symmetrical shapes to either draw real life objects or when being creative, such as in pattern work.

Final image

The butterfly is a good example of a symmetrical shape and has been chosen for the logo of the new Adobe Illustrator plug-in from Astute Graphics. The MirrorMe plug-in is designed to create reflections in your vector artwork by using either one axis or multiple (up to 72) axes. In this tutorial we’ll take a look at the process of creating a stylised butterfly and also recycling existing designs, such as backgrounds, seamless patterns and pattern brushes out of its elements. Many pieces of artwork that you’ve already created in the past can now be transformed into a set of new designs in just moments.

It’s very simple to do and I’ll show you just how simple!

Step 1

First I created a pencil sketch of a half butterfly, then scanned it and pasted it into a new document of Adobe Illustrator (File > Place …).

A butterfly has only one axis of symmetry and of course you can create vector objects and then mirror them using the Reflect Tool (O), but that doesn’t allow you to see the whole shape of the butterfly when creating it. This means that you can’t properly check to see the interaction of all the objects in the final artwork. This method becomes a process of trial and error and can be both time consuming and frustrating. A far easier and effective way to do this is to use the MirrorMe plug-in where you can immediately create two halves of the butterfly by using the "mirror”, here’s how…

Lock the layer with a sketch, then create a new layer in the Layers panel.

Now take the MirrorMe Tool and click at the point where the axis of symmetry will go. An annotation system will then appear. You can easily control the position of the symmetry axis and its angle by moving the center and rotating the axis with MirrorMe. Access to additional parameters of this tool can be reached in its panel (Window > MirrorMe > MirrorMe panel).

You can read full version of this tutorial on

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