There are several ways to create an arrow using Illustrator CS6. Here are five different methods that will give you a wide variety of arrows to choose from:
Using the Stroke Panel
Using the Stroke Panel
In Illustrator CS6, turning any line into an arrow with arrowheads and tails is easy.
Create any line (straight or curved) with two end points.
With the line selected, open the Stroke panel by choosing Window > Stroke.
Find the section titled “Arrowheads” and select your arrowhead and tail sections!
Below are some examples of arrows created using the Stroke panel:
To use the preset symbols in Illustrator CS6, open the Symbols panel by choosing Window > Symbols.
In the Symbols panel, open the fly-out menu, choose “Open Symbols Library” and open the Arrows Library.
From there, just drag and drop your arrows onto your artboard.
Here are some examples of Arrow Symbols:
Note: When you make edits to the symbol on your artboard it will apply the change to the symbol in the library. To prevent this, right-click on the symbol you dragged out and click “Break Link to Symbol” before making any alterations to it.
You can choose a typeface that contains special arrow characters. To see if a font contains arrow characters, choose Window > Type > Glyphs.
Select the font at the bottom of the panel and scroll through the glyphs (characters) to search for arrows.
Create a text box. Double-click the glyph you would like to use and it will appear in the text box.
To convert the arrow from live text into a graphic icon, select your text box and choose Type > Create Outlines. Converting live text to outlines is important if you would like to edit the text in the same way that you edit objects. For example, you may want to alter the edge of a text character but cannot do so if you don’t convert to outlines.
Here are some examples of arrow glyphs in the typeface Zapf Dingbats:
To use the arrow brushes, select Window > Brushes.
In the panel fly-out menu, choose Open Brush Library > Arrows.
There are three default arrow libraries in Illustrator CS6 (Special Arrows, Standard Arrows, Pattern Arrows). Open any of the libraries and select any arrow you desire.
Use the Paintbrush tool and paint your arrow onto the artboard. The arrow will follow the motion of your brush.
Here are some examples of arrow created using the Brush Tool:
Creating your own custom arrows using shapes is very easy with the help of the Pathfinder tool. Here’s a basic example using simple shapes.
Start by creating a rectangle and a triangle.
Position the two so that they overlap slightly and make an arrow shape.
Open the Pathfinder panel by choosing Window > Pathfinder. Select both shapes and choose Unite in the Pathfinder panel.
The two pieces have united to become one! This same process can be used with any number of shapes that you create, so get creative!
There you have it… five simple methods to give you a variety of arrows for any of your designing needs! If you’d like to learn more about creating Arrows and Arrowheads using Illustrator CS6, check out these great resources:
This wonderful illustration was created by Adobe intern Kendall Plant using Adobe Ideas and Adobe Illustrator. Learn how to create a sketch in Ideas, clean it up and add colors, then import it into Illustrator and refine it further. Check out the 3-part video series to master this illustration workflow.
Come to the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles next week and sign up for my session with Jaydeep Dutta. We’ll be showing our vision for the future of help and learning for Adobe products. Here’s the info:
Social Studies: Connecting Content and Community in the Cloud
Come see how a few simple UX design patterns can facilitate a shared, social learning experience that blurs the boundaries between inspiration and instruction, as well as between content and community. Three trends are currently sweeping digital media: Tablets are moving from content consumption to creation, social features are increasingly pervasive, and everything is shifting to the cloud. Join us to explore how this trifecta creates exciting opportunities for designers and developers, and to examine our own promising effort at taking advantage of these trends.
Many people who use Adobe’s products have a huge amount of experience and expertise to share. What’s really inspiring to me is to see a very cool image that someone created and then have them walk me through how they did a particular technique. Are you one of those people? If so, you might be interested in creating a tutorial using Adobe’s new Community Publishing System. Your tip or tutorial will end up on Adobe.com. Here’s what you do:
There is more than one way to create an arrow using Illustrator. First, you can always draw your own arrow with the pen tool. Or, you might want to use a pre-designed arrow by using the Add Arrowheads filter or a brush or symbol. And finally, you can use an arrow design that is part of a font. To learn how to make an arrow, here are some good resources for you. If you want arrow and arrowhead instructions for Illustrator CS6, see this blog post: Creating arrows and arrowheads in Illustrator CS6.
These are the arrows you can use with the Symbol Tool. To get this palette, choose Window > Symbols to display the Symbols palette. Then from the Symbols palette pop up menu, choose Open Symbol Library > Arrows.
These are some of the arrows you can use with the Brush Tool. To get this palette, choose Window > Brushes to display the Brushes palette. Then from the Brushes palette pop up menu, choose Open Brush Library > Arrows and choose one of the three libraries of arrow brushes.
Use a font that contains arrow characters
To see if a font contains arrow characters, choose Window > Type > Glyphs. Select the font at the bottom of the palette and then scroll through the glyphs (characters) to search for arrows.
Because this is beta Help, some features of Help are not yet active, such as links to video tutorials and other Help documents. When CS4 ships, all features of Help will work properly. The quality of search results will improve as these new pages are crawled by Google – so click lots of links!
Here is more info about the new Adobe Community Help system—one of the best new features of CS4!
Are you new to the pen tool? Whether you use Photoshop or Illustrator, most of the basics are the same. Learn how to start using it with Matthew Richmond’s video Using the Pen Tool. Once you’ve seen that, try practicing with Veerle’s Illustrator Pen Tool Exercises. Remember, practice makes perfect! Be patient and persevere—you’ll master the pen tool before you know it!
My brother-in-law sent me an Illustrator file the other day with a plea to help him delete an object that he couldn’t figure out how to get rid of. It was visible, but he could not select it because it was stacked beneath other objects in the file. Every time he would click on it, the uppermost object would highlight. There are a couple of ways he could have gotten rid of the unwanted object.
First, look in the Layers palette. If you see the object there, you can select it by clicking the blank area to the right of the target circles. Clicking there selects all objects on that layer. This is a good way to select objects that are “buried” under other objects. Think of Illustrator files like piles of painted acetate or clear film. If you stack them on top of each other, even though you can see through parts of them, you may still have trouble grabbing the one on the bottom. Using the Layers palette can help with this problem. But if you have too many layers or objects, and you still cannot select that object, try my second method.
Clicking the Selection area in the Layers palette selects all objects on that layer.
The second method for selecting layered objects is to change the preview mode. Once you are viewing your image in Outline mode, you should be able to select that object. For a good explanation of the different previewing options, see this post on the DesignGeek E-Zine by Anne-Marie Concepcion. As I read her article, I was wishing it had illustrations, so I made some to accompany the text. The illustrations below go with the three different situations she describes. Enjoy!
Choose Window > New Window and display both side by side. Then choose View > Outline to view one window in Outline mode next to the one in Preview mode.
Choose Window > Navigator to display the Navigator palette. Enlarge the view in the palette by expanding the window size from the bottom right corner. Note that the red rectangle in the Navigator palette corresponds to the section of the illustration visible in the main window. Choose View > Outline to view the illustration in outline mode.
Display the Layers palette and Command-click (Mac OS) or Ctrl-click (Windows) the eye icon for the layer to toggle between Preview and Outline modes.
If you haven’t looked at the Gallery on the Adobe Design Center yet, you should check it out. It is full of great work by designers, photographers, illustrators, and animators. The latest entries are quite inspirational. Three talented women, from three different continents, show their stuff. Illustrator Anastasia Gubar, aka LimKis, is a young illustrator from Russia. Canadian Christiane Beauregarde is an illustrator and animator who has made the transition from traditional media to digital tools. Singapore-based designer and illustrator Lim Si Ping combines illustration, photography, and handwork to create her collage-style illustrations.
If you have a suggestion of an artist that belongs in the Adobe Design Center Gallery, you can add your suggestions to the Submit to Our Gallery page of this blog.
Have you used brushes yet in either Illustrator or Photoshop? You need to try this! They aren’t especially new, but they are very handy and can save you loads of time. I have collected up some tutorials for you to learn not only how to use brushes, but also where to get some really great brushes online. Most of them are free to download. I’m warning you, once you start using them, it can become highly addictive! Your spouse or partner may begin to call himself, “Photoshop Widower”, as the husband of a friend of mine recently signed his email.