How to create perfectly curved shapes in vector art?

One of my weak spots are the smooth and curved shapes. Normally, i use various tools to do that:

• Pen
• Oval with angulated corners, and processed with effect-warp or manually
• 3d revolve with some sphere or rectangle, and a custom symbol.

So, why can't I understand this kind of technique?

An example image of what I mean: (note: I don't want to reproduce this image, I just want pointers on how to achieve a similar style in vector curves.)

Is there someone that could help me? Thanks in advice.

• FlexArt, is that image your goal or is your test image? Oct 25, 2016 at 16:59
• @rafael it´s an image i took from internet, because it´s a good example of what i mean. Is there some workaround to do that kind of bend? Like, to make the circle in some way, and than drawing the wings, or it´s like a sort of symbol that you can use with 3d revolve? Oct 26, 2016 at 0:40
• I do not think its bent to shape. i think its just drawn that way. as the shapes on the bent side look like ellipses and the bend istelf is somewhat abrupt. See How are these swirly line frames made Oct 26, 2016 at 10:06

It's hard to give hard and fast rules or techniques, but here are a few tips:

• Construct your curves from actual circles or ovals if they seem they are parts of ovals or circles rather than trying to create them yourself. Draw an oval and extract the part you need. Fuse it to your own line work using `join`. It's very hard to draw an exact circle with the pen tool by hand, but it's easy with the `ellipse` tool.
• Use as little anchor points as possible. Remember that a regular ellipse is only four anchors, with their direction handles parallel to each other.
• Ensure that your curves are smooth by always keeping the direction handles in a 180° from each other. That way there is no 'budge' in your curve at the position of the anchor. Unless, of course, you need a point in the shape.
• Try to avoid 'overextending' an anchor's direction handles beyond the next's general direction: If you move anchor A's handle beyond the intersection of the two black lines, it will create a curve that seems forced.

I want to complete Vincent's answer.

Your image, as far as I see it can easily be made with two lines with art brush applied to each of them.

As you can see in my image below, both lines are made of only 3 anchor points. By making your own brush and some fine tuning, you can get to that result in no time.

Also, keep in mind that you can change the lenght of each of the two handles of one anchor point individually. This will come in handy.

• nice addition, +1. Are you sure you need the middle anchor in the green-stroked part? I'd try with only two anchors, even! :) Oct 26, 2016 at 10:59
• @Vincent The second one does work with only two, I even wrote it initially but I thought it would be easier for him to understand the concept of anchor points like this. Thank you
– Alin
Oct 26, 2016 at 11:03