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Illustrator 101 - The Blend Tool

The blend tool is a great way to build out shapes and design elements in Illustrator. Here's a quick overview of how it works and some techniques to apply.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Table of contents

What the blend tool does

The blend tool joins two or more different objects together. The way they are joined depends on the options that you select. Lets start with a simple example that has probably been seen before. Start by drawing a rectangle and then filling it with a gradient. Then draw two paths that overlap. Select these with the direct selection tool (shortcut V). Remember to hold down shift for multiple selections. Now the trickier bit. Select the blend tool (shortcut W). Once selected you need to select the start and end of the blend. So click on the end of the paths that you want to join. When you do this you will see the lines blend. See the video below for this in action.

Illustrator 101 - The Blend Tool from George Ornbo on Vimeo.

Once you have created your blend you can modify it by double clicking on the Blend Tool to bring up the options. In the video above I changed the steps from 20 to 10. Note with the Preview button checked you can see what it is going to look like before you click ok.

Not just for blending lines

The blend tool is not limited to lines. You can blend any object on the canvas. Try playing around with some shapes and creating blends. Heres a quick one that came out out of one turquoise and one grey brush stroke.

Electro with blends

In this example I’ve used some of Bittbox’s custom brushes. A very quick effect.

Bittbox Brushes

So get working with the blend tool and you even end up making something like this!

Have an update or suggestion for this article? You can edit it here and send me a pull request.


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