Drawing the Base Shapes
How to Draw a Cog or Gear in Adobe Illustrator CC
Drawing the Base Shape
At first glance, a gear or a cog may seem like a pretty complex share to draw. How do you get those curved lines on the inside, while maintaining the straight lines on the outside? Fortunately, there is a little trick that will get you a pixel perfect cog icon drawing in the matter of minutes with Adobe Illustrator CC.
The technique used in this lesson was used in the development of the HippIcons open-source icon font.
- Create an artboard that is 64 x 64 pixels.
- Draw a rectangle that is 12 x 60 pixels.
- Copy this shape three times, giving you a total of 4 rectangles.
Four Base Rectangles
Draw an Asterisk Shape by Rotating the Rectangles
Now we just need to do some rotating to get an asterisk shape. Use object >> transform >> rotate to rotate shapes by a specific amount.
- Rotate the first rectangle 90 degrees.
- Rotate the second rectangle 45 degrees.
- Rotate the third rectangle –45 degrees.
- Align all shapes to the center of the artboard.
- Merge all shapes being going to pathfinder >> shape modes >> unite (see photo)
Notice that we created a compound shape in this step. Compound shapes in Adobe Illustrator are very versatile because you do not lose original underlying shape, unlike the combining paths. I highly recommend learning more about combining shapes if you’re just starting to learn illustrator.
Our Combined Asterisk Shape
Drawing the Gear’s Curves
At this point, it almost looks like a gear, but we need to fine tune the curves. This part will require your creative judgement on how much curvy-ness you want the gear to have.
- Select the shape, hold command + shift, then click on every inner point on the of the shape. (See animated GIF below).
- Drag the mouse to adjust the shape of the curve.
- Optional. Repeat this process for the outside points to add a slight roundness to the shape.
Animated Gif to Show the Gear Curves
Punching a Hole in the Middle of the Shape
The final step for creating a completely uniform shape is to punch a hole in the middle.
- Draw a circle that is 24 x 24 pixels and center it to the artboard.
- Click pathfinder >> shape mode >> minus front
Congrats! You have successfully crated a gear icon in a matter of minutes. If you enjoyed this lesson, please consider unlocking my lesson for $5 bucks to get the adobe illustrator demo files.
Adobe Illustrator File (.ai format) used to draw this Gear
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Final Gear or Cog Shape
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