How to draw spirals

Today we’ll cover how to make nice, even spirals.

Illustrator does have a built-in spiral tool, but it only does the expanding snail-like type of spiral on the left. We want the evenly spaced Archimedes spiral on the right.

Spiral A

Step 1: Use the ellipse tool to draw two circles, centered inside each other. The small circle should be 5 pts wide, and the larger circle should be 75 pts wide.

Select both circles and make a blend (Object–>Blend–>Make). In the Blend Options, use Specified Steps: 6

 

Step 2: Expand the blend (Object–>Expand–>OK). This turns your blend into a group of editable circles. Ungroup the circles (Ctrl+Shift+G).

Use the Direct Selection tool to grab the anchor points down the center of the circles. Cut these anchor points. This splits the circles down the center as shown.

 

Step 3: Select the right half of the semicircles (here, the green ones) and move them down 5 pts.

Step 4: Use the Direct Selection tool to select the anchor points where the paths meet, and join the paths using Ctrl+J.

Done! This gives you a single path that stars and ends on the outside of the spiral, doubling over itself in the middle.

 

Spiral B: Two linked spirals

This is constructed very similarly to the spiral above.

Step 1: Draw two circles, centered on each other. The smaller circle is 10pts wide, the larger circle is 100pts wide.

Make a blend with the two circles. Specified Steps: 8.

Step 2: Cut the circles in half down the center, as you did above.

Step 3: Select the right half (grey) and move them down 5 pts.

Step 4: Connect the anchor points that are touching using Ctrl+J.

You can use this pair of spirals as is, or separate out a single spiral if you prefer.

Play around with both kinds of spirals. Try using different colors, line weights, and width profiles. Enjoy!

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