Creating an inset stroked shape

Posted by on Oct 18, 2013 in Graphic Design, Illustrator | No Comments

Actually, an inset stroked shape with a repeating pattern rotated around a circle

I’m writing this as an aide to memory. Creating repeating shapes around a circle is one of those things that needs doing sometimes – and I always have that moment’s pause before I can recall the easy way to do it; so here goes.

Repeating rotated shapes around a circle

First of all, open up Illustrator and change the current colours to a black fill with a white border.
Next, create a circle (hold down the shift key). Make it around 230px diameter.
Now create another circle of around 45px diameter. Move that circle so that it sits right at the top of the larger circle.

stroked designs step 1

Make sure that the small circle is selected and activate the rotate tool (R).
Hold the alt key and click in the centre of the larger circle. The rotate dialog should appear.
If preview is selected, then your small circle will jump to the last applied rotation.

stroked designs step 2

Enter 36 degrees for the angle and select click the button. You should now have two small circles stuck to the border of your larger circle.
Now use the Object->Transform->Transform Again (cmd+D) function eight times to create a total of ten small circles; each rotated appropriately.

Side note: Of course, using the small circles means you wont see the rotation unless the object is selected. I wanted to include this as its a really useful technique but for the output of this piece I wanted plain old circle cut-outs.

stroked designs step 3

Cutting things out

Now we are going to cut out those shapes. Go back to the selection tool and select everything. Then pull up the “Pathfinder” tools (from the Window->Pathfinder) and click the button. You should now have a sort of rounded cog object.

stroked designs step 4

Stroking the shape

Copy this new cog object then select File->Paste In Front.
Next, we can add add some not-so-trendy skeuomorphic stitching.
Select Object->Path->Offset Path and put in “-8 px” for the offset.

Remove the fill for this object so just a white outline is left, then open the stroke panel. Enable “Dashed Line”, select the “Preserve exact dash and gap lengths” (so it looks more like stitching) and make the dash 4 pt for a nice tight stitch.

stroked designs step 5

That’s it

If you zoom in, you will see the strange new object “stitched” in place. Hopefully that will at least help me remember that cmd+D function!