How to Make Abstract Geometric Shapes in Adobe Illustrator

There are different ways to create shapes in Adobe Illustrator. The magic thing is that you can turn a basic shape like a square or circle into something completely different, for example, abstract shapes or even create geometric patterns.

For example, if you want to make a line art effect, the best tool to use is the Blend tool. You can create some really cool abstract visuals. And if you want to make a geometric pattern to print on products, then combining or cutting shapes would be a good way to go.   

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use different tools to create abstract or geometric shapes in Adobe Illustrator. 

Note: All screenshots from this tutorial are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC Mac version. Windows or other versions can look different.

Method 1: Combine or Cut Shapes

You can use this method to create geometric patterns in Adobe Illustrator. All you need to do is create the shape, then either use the step and repeat feature or make it a pattern. 

For example, I’m going to show you how to make a triangle pattern in three easy steps. You can also use the most basic Rectangle Tool.

Step 1: Create a triangle. There are different ways to make a triangle. For example, I’ll use the Polygon tool to make one. In this case, choose the Polygon Tool from the toolbar, click on the artboard, and change the number of Sides to 3.  

Once you click OK, you’ll get a triangle.

Now depending on the style of geometric/abstract patterns you want to make, you can get creative with your Step 2, and there’s no right or wrong way. 

Here’s what I’m going to do.

Step 2: Duplicate the triangle, flip it vertically, select and drag it next to the original triangle. 

Depending on the pattern, you can keep them separately or join them together.

Step 3: Select the two triangles, duplicate both, and arrange the position as you like. You can use the step and repeat keyboard shortcut Command + D to quickly make more copies. 

Here’s what I got. 

You can also move around the triangles to make a more abstract effect. 

The last step is to add colors and finish up the artwork.

Step 4: There are different ways to add colors, you can either use the Live Paint Bucket (if you want to quickly color the areas) or select the object and fill it in colors one by one. 

There you go! You can use this abstract geometric pattern on your product or any other artwork. 

Method 2: Using the Blend Tool

The Blend Tool is great for creating geometric/abstract lines. Follow the steps below to see how it works.

Step 1: Create a shape. For example, let’s use the Ellipse Tool to make a perfect circle.

Step 2: Duplicate the circle, make the duplicated circle smaller, and align it to the center within the big circle.

Step 3: Go to the overhead menu and choose Object > Blend Options

Change the Spacing to Specific Steps and input the value. The higher the value, the more lines it will create. For example, here I put 10

If you’re not familiar with the Blend Tool, check out my Blend Tool tutorial where I explain how to use it in detail.

Click OK.

Step 4: Select both circles, go back to the Object > Blend menu again, and choose Make.

You’ll get a circle like this. 

You can use the Direct Selection Tool to edit the anchor points to make the shape more abstract. 

You can use the same steps to create different abstract shapes.

Method 3: Distort & Transform

This is probably the easiest way to create unique and funky geometric shapes in Adobe Illustrator. Believe it or not, you can turn a circle or square into different shapes using the Distort & Transform feature. And one of my favorite tools to distort shapes is the Pucker & Bloat tool. 

I’ll show you a couple of examples in the steps below. 

Step 1: Select the Rectangle Tool (keyboard shortcut M) from the toolbar, hold the Shift key, click and drag on the artboard to draw a square. 

Add a fill color to the square so that you can see the effects better later on.

Step 2: Select the square and go to the overhead menu Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat.

Once you choose the tool, simply move the slider left or right to create different abstract shapes. Make sure to check the Preview option so that you can see what you’re making. 

When you move the slider right towards the Bloat tool, you’ll create an “inflated” or “swollen” effect. On the other hand, the Pucker tool creates a “pinched” effect because it pulls the edge of the shape toward the center. 

This is probably the easiest tool to use, and you can make so many shapes out of a basic shape.  

Final Thoughts

Depending on the style you want and what you use it for, you can use different methods to create geometric or abstract shapes in Adobe Illustrator. The Blend Tool is great for creating abstract lines, Distort & Transform is good for making funky shapes, or you can simply use the traditional way to put shapes together and make a pattern. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *