Create Easy Heart Shapes in Illustrator

Need some heart shapes for Valentine's Day or some other project in general but don't know where to start? Follow this short tutorial for beginner's to see how easy these shapes are to make. Created in Illustrator CS6.

1. Create a pill shape

Fire up Illustrator and create a new document using points or pixels are the unit of measurement. Select the Rounded Rectangle tool (hidden beneath the Rectangle tool in the toolbar) and click once in the document to display the tool's settings. Enter the values shown and click OK.

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2. Apply color

Keep the shape selected and double-click on the Fill box at the base of the toolbar to bring up the Color Picker. In the RGB fields, enter the following values and click OK.

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If you have a stroke color on your shape, remove it by clicking on the Stroke box at the base of the toolbar. Once it overlaps the Fill box, click the None swatch to remove the color.

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3. Rotate the shape

Select the shape so that you can see the bounding box around it.

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Move the mouse cursor near a corner handle until you see a curved double-arrow cursor. Once you see it, press and hold down the Shift key and then click and hold down the mouse button as drag up. The Shift key will constrain rotations to 45 degree angles. Once you have the shape angled as shown below, release the mouse button then the Shift key.

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4. Reflect and copy

With the shape selected, click on Reflect tool in the toolbar. This tool is hidden behind the Rotate tool. You can also simply press the O key on your keyboard to summon the tool. Once you see it, double-click the tool in the toolbar to call up its settings.

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Select Horizontal (or Vertical) as the Axis option and click the Copy button. Here's the result.

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5. Divide the shapes

Select both shapes and click the Divide command on the Pathfinder panel (View > Pathfinder).

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This will divide the shapes into five individual shapes. I've moved the pieces apart for demonstration purposes only.

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6. Delete and unite

Ungroup the shapes via Object > Ungroup. Click an empty area (with the Selection tool) near the shapes to deselect them. Next, select the two lower shapes and delete them.

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Select the remaining three shapes and click the Unite command on the Pathfinder panel to fuse the shapes into one

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That's all there is to it. You've now created a heart shape. But wait, there's more!

7. Customizations

If you feel the dip at the top of the heart shape is too deep, step back to the end of Step 4. Move one of the shapes closer to the other. Hold down the Shift key and you click and drag the shape over. Holding the Shift key down while dragging will keep the shapes aligned.

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Once the shape is repositioned, follow Steps 5 and 6 again.

Heart Shapes

Now take your design further by creating a pattern. Scale the heart down with the Scale tool. Select the heart and double-click the Scale tool to bring up the options. I chose to scale down to 25%.

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Select the heart and, from the menu bar, go to Object > Pattern > Make. This places you in pattern making mode.

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Name your pattern and make adjustments to the pattern settings. Here's what I set my options to.

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Once you're happy with how things look, click Done at the top of your document. The pattern you made is now in the Swatches panel (View > Swatches).

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Create a shape, such as a circle or square and apply your pattern to it.

Heart Shapes Pattern

Don't worry about any thin lines you see running through your pattern shapes. If you save the file to a web format or print it out, these lines won't be visible.

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About the author

My name is Mike Hamm. I like robots. I'm a designer, author, teacher and illustrator. I currently work as a Senior Designer at Expedia. I'm co-author of Introduction to Web Design Using Dreamweaver and have contributed articles and artwork to Layers Magazine as well as several Illustrator WOW! books. I've also been teaching and developing Adobe Illustrator courses for Sessions College for Professional Design since 2003. You can view my never complete portfolio website: hammbience.com.

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