Lets face it - tattoos can look really cool, but
only when designed properly and for the individual
displaying them. In this tutorial you will learn about the Pen Tool, pathfinders, and
transforming objects while making a fairly basic but
cool looking skull tattoo. Once that's done, all
that's left to do is add it to a photo of your arm
to make sure it looks good, and then go to the
tattoo artist to get it done for real. Simple!
Step 1: Create a new
document - it doesn't matter what size, because you
can resize vector graphics to any size you want
without losing quality. Then, using the Pen Tool, draw the shape
below (also known as a 'flair'), following all
Step 2: Select your flair,
and copy & paste a new copy in front (CTRL+C to
copy, then CTRL+F to paste in front). Then go to Object
> Transform > Reflect and select horizontal to
reflect the shape over the horizontal axis.
Step 3: With the Selection
Tool (black filled arrow) active, click to select your
copied object, move it to the left, then rotate the
top right corner down a little (when you hover near
the corner point, the cursor will change to the one
shown below - you can then click and drag to rotate
Step 4: Make a crescent shape
using the Pen Tool again.
Step 5: Select the two shapes
shown below, then click the Trim button in the
pathfinder window (to bring up the pathfinder
window, go to Window > Pathfinder). Trim will
cut the bottom object in to 2 pieces where it is
overlapped by the top object.
Step 6: Select the shape shown and
move it in front of the other shapes (right click
the shape once selected and choose Arrange > Bring
Step 7: Grab your Direct
Selection Tool (the white filled arrow) and use it
to select the shapes shown. Once selected, use the
Trim pathfinder again.
Using the Direct Selection Tool, select the shape
shown below and move it to the front.
Step 8: Now select all of
your shapes, and give them a 1pt white stroke.
Notice how the shapes are now intertwined?
Step 9: Your flair is now
complete, so its time for some skull making. You will be
drawing the right half of the skull, using the pen
tool once again. I'll do my best to explain. Start
at the bottom with a click, then click and drag each
point on your way to a skull shape. When you get to
the top, just click (no drag), then click the
starting point again to complete the 1/2 skull. The
left side does not have to be perfectly straight.
Step 10: Draw an eye socket
and a half nose with the Pen Tool, then fill them
with white. Zoom in for better control (CTRL+plus
Step 11: Here comes the fun
part - select everything, then copy and paste in
front (CTRL+C, CTRL+F). Then flip your copied
objects over the vertical axis (go to Object >
Transform > Reflect then choose Vertical). You
should now have this mess:
Step 12: Now simply move your
copied objects over to complete the other half.
Let's get rid of the line down the middle of the
skull. Select the right eye socket and right half of
the nose and bring them to the front (right click &
choose Arrange > Bring to Front from the context
menu that pops up).
Step 13: Finally, select the
two halves of the skull (not the eyes/nose) and
click the Add to Shape Layer button in the
The final result:
- Tutorial written by Slick Illustrator