What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create fancy, decorated arrows.
We will use basic shapes and then apply Warp, Roughen, and Zig-Zag
effects. You will also learn how to create different feathers from basic
shapes.

Before we begin, you can check out Envato Market for more
inspiration. I promise that you’ll find so many beautiful decorative
arrows made by many talented illustrators.

And now—let’s get started with our tutorial!

## 1. Create the First Arrow

### Step 1

Let’s start out by creating our first arrow from a regular rectangle. Take
the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a long rectangle. The fill color you
can see in the image below.

Since we want to create colorful, ornamental
arrows which we see on Pinterest rather than those that we see in Game
of Thrones, we will decorate our arrows. So let’s make a copy of the
light brown rectangle that we just created in front (Control-C,
Control-F
), make it shorter, and change the fill color to blue.

Holding
the Alt and Shift keys on your keyboard, move the blue rectangle to the
left and you will see that you now have two blue rectangles. Change the
fill color of the newly created rectangle to yellow. Again, holding the
Alt and Shift keys, create a copy of the yellow rectangle and change the
fill color to red.

You should now have four different colored rectangles. We just created the wooden shaft of the arrow.

### Step 2

Let’s move on to the tip of the arrow, known as the arrowhead.

Start with the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw an ellipse. Then hit the
Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and click on the right anchor
point—you’ll end up with a sharp point. Using the Direct Selection Tool
(A)
, select the top and bottom anchor points and move them to the left
by pressing the left arrow keys on your keyboard. Add a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) with the same fill color, and your arrowhead is done.

Place the arrowhead on the shaft.

### Step 3

time ago, someone asked me to create a tutorial on drawing feathers.

Draw an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L). While keeping it selected,
go to Effect > Warp > Arc and apply the options you see below.
Expand the shape (Object > Expand Appearance). For the stem of the
feather, we will use a copy of this shape. Just make the copy darker and
narrower. Place the stem in front of the first ellipse and centered in the middle.

### Step 4

Hold your horses—our feather is not done yet. Let’s add some details.
Take the Polygon Tool and click on your artboard. In the new dialogue
window, enter 3 Sides with any Radius and press OK. Rotate the triangle
to the right.

A little trick: if you want to rotate a shape exactly 90
degrees
, select the shape, hit the Shift key and start rotating. You’ll
notice that you are rotating exactly in 45 or 90 degree increments.

Make the rotated triangle very narrow, and then apply the warp options. Go to go
to Effect > Warp > Flag. Enter the options shown below. We will
call it “a flag shape”. Save a copy of this flag shape for later.

### Step 5

Make a few copies of the flag shape and place them on the feather shape.
First, place them on the left side. Then make a reflection of them by
right-clicking the mouse, Transform > Reflect. Check Vertical, Angle
90 degrees
in the dialogue window and click Copy. Place them on
the right side of the feather.

When you are satisfied with the result,
select all these little flag shapes along with the feather, but not the
stem. Go to the Pathfinder panel and press the Minus Front button. Now,
select the stem and put it in the front (Control-X, Control-F).

### Step 6

Place the feather on the arrow and warp it: go to Effect > Warp >
Arc
. Expand the feather (Object > Expand Appearance).

### Step 7

Now we will create another feather. Instead of a feather with a narrow top and wide
bottom, we will make one with a wide top and narrow bottom. Take the stem from the previous feather and recolor it blue
(see fill color below). Then add a light blue ellipse in the back.

Using
the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left and right Anchor Points
of the light blue ellipse and move them up. Remember the flag shapes?
Bring those and place them on it. Select all the flag shapes along with
light blue ellipse and press Minus Front in Pathfinder. Be sure to put
the stem in front (Control-X, Control-F).

Place the feather close to the previous feather that we created before.

### Step 8

To finish off our arrow, we will decorate it with a wavy green branch.
Delete the fill color and set the stroke color as shown below. Take the
Line Segment Tool ()
and draw a line over the shaft. Adjust the stroke
Weight on the Stroke panel as you want. While keeping it, selected go to
Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag… and enter the
options you see in the image below.

### Step 9

Now, choose the previous stroke color as the fill color and draw an
ellipse. Take the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and click on the
left and right anchor points to make them sharp. This will be our leaf.

### Step 10

Create a bunch of the leaves and place them on the wavy branch. Our first arrow is done!

## 2. Create the Second Arrow

### Step 1

The shaft of the second arrow will be the same fill color as the first one.
Draw a tiny dark gray rectangle on the right side of the arrow. While
holding down the Alt and Shift keys, move it to the left. Keep pressing
Control-D
, and a copy of this tiny rectangle will move further. Change
the fill color of every second tiny rectangle to light gray.

A quick side note: All the decorations that I’m adding are just examples—feel free to decorate these arrows to your taste!

### Step 2

Now the arrowhead. Let’s first place a gray rectangle on the left side
of the arrow shaft. Then draw a little square. While holding down the
Shift key, rotate it 45 degrees. Take the Direct Selection Tool (A)
and move the left anchor point of the square to the left. Can you see

### Step 3

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create three identical tiny rounded
rectangles as marked with the black arrow.

Remember the violet feather
that we created for the first arrow? Make a copy of it, and change the fill
color to yellow—we’ll use it for the second arrow. To make it little bit
different, create a horizontal reflection of this yellow feather:
right-click
> Transform > Reflect and check Horizontal,
Angle 0 degrees
and press OK. Place it as shown below, but remember to
place it behind those three tiny rounded rectangles.

### Step 4

Let’s continue decorating. In the next few steps, we will make a green
branch. In a newly created green ellipse, move the left and right anchor
points up. That’s our simple leaf.

### Step 5

Set the stroke color to the same color and delete the fill color. Using
the Line Segment Tool (), draw a stalk. Place the previously created
leaf on top. Make a copy of this leaf, rotate it 45 degrees and place it as
shown in the third image below.

Holding together Shift (for moving
it straight) and Alt (for making a copy), move that leaf down a little bit. Keep pressing Control-D to repeat your last movement until you
finish filling in the stalk on the left side. Then select all the
leaves on the left side and make a vertical reflection: right-click > Transform > Reflect. In the new dialogue window, enter
Vertical, Angle 90 degrees and press Copy. Move it to the right. Our

### Step 6

Let’s show that the branch is flexible. Just go to Effect > Warp >
Arc
and enter the options you see below. Don’t forget to expand the
branch (Object > Expand Appearance). We are expanding the shapes all
the time because we want to rotate them without distorting.

Put the green branch close to the yellow feather.

### Step 7

Delete the fill color and set the stroke color. Go to the Stroke panel
and make the stroke Weight thick, and check Round Cap. Using the Line
Segment Tool ()
, draw a brown branch. To make it more realistic, go to
Effect > Distort and Transform > Roughen and enter the options
shown below. Expand the branch.

Place the branch between the green leaves and yellow feather.

### Step 8

Let’s create one more feather. Be sure to delete the stroke color and
set the fill color. Draw a dark gray ellipse and move up the left and
right anchor points. Add a stem (just take a copy from some previous
feather) and change its fill color.

Remember the flag shape? Take a copy
of it and place it on the stem as shown below. Make a few of them and then
reflect them on the other side as well.

### Step 9

The last detail we want to add is the stains. Draw a few light gray ellipses
and then apply a Roughen effect to them (Effect > Distort and
Transform > Roughen
). The options will depend on the size of your
stains.

Place this dark gray feather on the arrow.

## 3. Create the Third Arrow

### Step 1

So here is where it gets easy. I took the first arrow and changed the arrowhead—I created it from a triangle, using the Polygon Tool.

### Step 2

Now, let’s have a quick practice—create a pink feather just following the image shown below. Try it—don’t be afraid!

### Step 3

Place your beautiful feather on the arrow and warp it. Select the
feather, go to Effect > Warp > Arc and in the new window, move the
slider in the Bend section to your taste. When it looks good, click OK.
Expand the feather.

### Step 4

Let’s create a green ellipse. Make the top and bottom anchor points
sharp. Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag… and enter
in the new dialogue window the options you see below. Your options can be
different than mine—just try to find what suits you best.

Place this new leaf close to the pink feather.

### Step 5

Delete the fill color and set the stroke color as you see in the image
below. Draw three stalks using the Line Segment Tool (). Now—remember
our first arrow when you created sharp cornered leaves? Make three
copies of it, and place them on the stalk we just created.

Place it on the arrow.

### Step 6

Take the Spiral Tool and click on your artboard. A new dialogue window
will pop up; enter the options you see below. Then take the Direct
Selection Tool (A)
and move the handles of the anchor points to achieve
a shape that looks like this:

Make a copy of it and place both of these on the arrow.

### Step 7

Let’s create a flower, something like a ranunculus, a peony, or even a
rose—it all depends on the options you enter later.

First, draw a
circle and go to Effect > Distort and Transform > Roughen. Check
Points Smooth, and move the sliders in the Options section how you like.
After that, create a smaller and darker circle in the front, and again apply Roughen effect options to it. And then again a smaller and darker
circle and apply the Roughen effect. In the end, draw a few tiny circles inside the
flower, and it’s complete.

Place the flower on the third arrow.

### Step 8

Move up the left and right anchor points in the newly created blue
ellipse. Create a copy in back and make it darker. Rotate it slightly to
the left. Right-click the mouse and Transform > Reflect. In the new
window, enter Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, Copy. Then make a green Ellipse in the back and add a curve using the Arc Tool (no Fill color,
stroke color shown below). The blue flower is ready.

### Step 9

We want to add some leaves too. Remember the green branch we made for
the third arrow before? Take a copy of it, but let’s change the stalk:
instead of a straight one, make a stalk using the Arc Tool. Be sure to
check Round Cap on the Stroke panel.

### Step 10

Place the blue flower with the leaves on the third arrow closer to the
arrowhead. Then use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create three tiny
rounded rectangles, to show that the flower is fixed to the arrow.

## 4. Create the Background

### Step 1

Now that we have completed three decorative arrows, let’s arrange them as you want or place them like this:

### Step 2

Be sure to delete the fill color and set the stroke color to blue. With the Rectangle Tool, draw a thick stroked frame for your illustration.

### Step 3

Keep the frame selected and make a copy in front (Control-C, Control-F). Change the stroke color and now make the stroke weight thin.

### Step 4

Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag… and enter the
options you see in the image below or just make your own.

Voila!

## Fantastic, You’re Done!

Awesome work! Now you know how to create feathers, different branches, leaves, and flowers. You’ve learned how to make arrows with different arrowheads. After this tutorial you will be familiar with the Roughen and Zig-Zag effects, as well as the Warp effect and moving anchor points in basic shapes.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and got a lot more ideas to create thousands of arrows!