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A perfect curve looks something like this image:

sample image of perfect curve

When I try to draw a similar curve shape in Illustrator, I couldn't get the above effect. It's just about 85% perfect. As you see closely, there are 'SHARP EDGES' along the object:

curve shape with SHARP EDGES

I'm sure there are AI experts here. How can I achieve the perfect curve using the pen tool? It would be great if you guys can share links of lessons to do it as well.

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If you can repost that second screenshot with the path selected so we can see the anchor points, that would probably isolate what the problem is. I'd draw that second shape using no more than... (counts) 6 anchor points, and use the width tool for width rather than a closed path. –  user568458 Jul 10 '13 at 17:54
    
I'd say 7 anchors on the second path for more control. :) Could do it with 6 though. And I'd bet I could point out where I'd add the extra anchor and you wouldn't. :) –  Scott Jul 10 '13 at 19:52
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2 Answers

You could simply use the Spiral Tool.....

spiral tool

spiral

when drawing with the Spiral Tool, tapping the up and down arrows on the keyboard will increase/decrease the amount of arcs as you drag, and holding down the Command/Ctrl key while you drag will allow you to adjust how tight the spiral is.

Then use the Width Tool to add some dimension to the path:

width

In the end the smoothness of curves is controlled by its relative handles. You always want symmetrical handles for a smooth curve. This prevents the little "hitches" that can occur otherwise. It simply takes practice.

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Also, use the least amount of anchor points as possible along the curve. Original image posted looked like a bunch of wrong dots in the wrong spot. –  dmanexe Jul 10 '13 at 17:22
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I'd like to note two things. First, you want to watch your width when you're dealing with shapes. Something that tapers and swells smoothly and consistently will look a lot better.

Also, I find when I'm trying to draw smooth curves that I draw them better if I set the curve handles in a way that they flow from one into the next. Let me illustrate with a picture:

Curve examples in Illustrator

The top curve demonstrates uneven width a bit dramatically. But look at the second image; I added dotted lines as imaginary extensions of the curve lines. You see how they gradually intersect? This isn't always possible depending on the shape you're trying to draw, but if you do it you're much more likely to get a curve that looks great. Compare that to some of the more irregular directions that the curves in the first image take.

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