I have this image of a club symbol from an old deck of cards:

Raw image

I wish to vectorise it so I can use it without having to deal with a lossy rasterised version. Unfortunately I'm a bit of a newbie at using Illustrator, so I'm not sure how best to proceed with this. Ideally I'd want to have this symbol be symmetrical as well, along the vertical axis.

This is my result from using the Image Trace functionality:

Image trace on raw image

It's not bad, but it's also a bit wonky and weird and most importantly, not symmetrical and I don't think manually futzing with the anchor points will get me to that point. What's the recommended way to do this process (that I can also apply to the 3 other rough pixelated symbols I want to vectorise)?

  • 1
    Cut it in half and mirror the other side.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 7 at 7:09

1 Answer 1


Draw it. Have a higher resolution photo to get easily the right proportions. I do not have your cards, so I used your own tracing attempt as my reference.

Lock the image to prevent moving it accidentally. Draw a square and 2 symmetry axles to the assumed midpoint. Hold shift when you draw the square and the axles.

enter image description here

Ensure that the square is really a square and the symmetry axles have snapped exactly to the midpoint of the square. Lock the square and the axles.

Draw with the pen 2 edge curves. Do not use more than 3 anchors per a curve to make them smooth. Start from the cusps of the square and end them to the symmetry axles. Adjust the handles of the endpoint anchors to perfectly horizontal and vertical (hold shift). Ensure that the starting and ending points snap!

enter image description here

Use Object > Transform > Reflect and Rotate to make enough copies for the full symbol. It's done in the left in the next image:

enter image description here

In the middle: Move the curves so that the endpoints snap

In the right: Select all, join the curves (=press Ctrl+J), remove the stroke, insert black fill color.

  • Thanks for these detailed steps! I did run across one issue; I have the separate paths all drawn, but for some reason I can't get the anchor points to snap together to form the complete shape. If I drag an anchor independently it will obey 'Snap to Point', but then I'm deforming the path I made... Commented Jun 7 at 20:58
  • 1
    @IronWaffleMan Deselect all. Select one curve with the normal selection tool. Hold Ctrl (to get temporarily the direct selection tool) and drag the endpoint that you wish to snap. The whole curve follows and the endpoint snaps if you have Smart Guides and Snap to Point both ON. Commented Jun 7 at 21:03
  • That did the trick for me, and now I have the shape I want... awesome answer, thanks again! Commented Jun 7 at 21:13

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