I've been trying to draw a beehive graphic in illustrator. My approach has been to draw an ellipse in yellow and change it's perspective. Then on top of that adding a copy of that ellipse, resize it slightly, make it black and place it over the first yellow ellipse so it forms a banana like shape. I do this slowly getting smaller all the way up to the top, alternating yellow and black where I finish with a full ellipse. This approach has been working and the result I get is good but I've found it hard to make the beehive a uniform shape all the way up....simply adjusting the size of the ellipses by hand means that I end up with uneven gaps of black between the banana like sections and slightly uneven banana sections.

Any ideas on how I can draw this with more accuracy? I'm very new to graphic design.

I've attached an image that was taken with a mobile phone of the screen. I drew the image at home and took a picture for a friend. I'm now away from my computer so don't have access to the original image - hopefully this will give you an idea of the problem though.

http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/1984/hiuve.jpgenter image description here

  • 1
    It looks pretty good to me. What are you drawing this for? A logo? I checked for beehive illustrations and couldn't find one I was convinced of. Perhaps if you feel you hit a wall you can try going in a different direction, like a honeycomb... But I kind of look the irregular shape.
    – Yisela
    Sep 6, 2012 at 21:02
  • I like the pixelated look you got from photographing the screen :)
    – noio
    Sep 16, 2012 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


For the basic shape you could try this:

  • Create the top ellipse, and the black "shadow" ellipse under it
  • Select both, and Group them (Ctrl-G)
  • Make sure the ellipse group is still selected
  • Go to menu Effect -> Distort & Transform -> Transform
  • Select Preview on, set Copies to 5, add proper amounts of Vertical Move, and Horizontal & Vertical Scale.

This produces a stacked pyramid of ellipses, which still needs some little tweaking to make it a bit more rounded. At this point you can still adjust the original ellipse pair, and changes will be repeated on the clones.

To edit the individual ellipse groups, and add roundness:

  • Select the ellipse group, go to menu Object -> Expand Appearance makes all the groups editable
  • Double-click the group to go to Isolation mode
  • Click the desired ellipse pair to edit it. By Alt-dragging the handles you can keep the symmetry intact. I widened the middle pairs with the side handle, while keeping Alt pressed.
  • You can get back to normal editing mode by double-clicking outside the drawing area.

Crude black and yellow beehive

This is a quick one, it could be better, but it's just for demonstration. :-)

  • Thanks so much for the excellent reply. I've got to the point when I've expanded appearance and clicked to go in to isolation mode. I've then clicked an ellipse pair to edit it....however when I alt drag on a handle all it does is move...not resize? Any ideas why this would be?
    – elduderino
    Sep 7, 2012 at 9:00
  • Actually holding alt, clicking and dragging creates copies of the layers
    – elduderino
    Sep 7, 2012 at 9:10
  • I've acually found a method that I've got good results with. Use an ellipse with a 2px black border and then create copies of these and use the transform method described by @Hrulga
    – elduderino
    Sep 7, 2012 at 14:04
  • On the alt-dragging creating copies, did you drag them by the little square resize handles that are placed on the rectangle edge surrounding the object? If you miss those, it'll clone the object. If they weren't there, then you'd have to click the object again to go to editing mode.
    – Hrulga
    Sep 7, 2012 at 16:07

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