Learn A Quick Way to Draw a Cog or Gear in Adobe Illustrator CC

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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.

  1. Create an artboard that is 64 x 64 pixels.
  2. Draw a rectangle that is 12 x 60 pixels.
  3. Copy this shape three times, giving you a total of 4 rectangles.

Four Base Rectangles

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You should have four rectangles, each measuring 12 x 60.

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.

  1. Rotate the first rectangle 90 degrees.
  2. Rotate the second rectangle 45 degrees.
  3. Rotate the third rectangle –45 degrees.
  4. Align all shapes to the center of the artboard.
  5. 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

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In this step, we combined the shapes using the unite command. This gives us one solid shape without out affecting the underlying objects.

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. 

  1. Select the shape, hold command + shift, then click on every inner point on the of the shape. (See animated GIF below).
  2. Drag the mouse to adjust the shape of the curve.
  3. Optional. Repeat this process for the outside points to add a slight roundness to the shape.

Animated Gif to Show the Gear Curves

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Notice how we can select all of the points at once to fine tune the curves of the gear to our exact preferences.

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.

  1. Draw a circle that is 24 x 24 pixels and center it to the artboard.
  2. 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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Nice work, your final gear shape is complete! Don't forget to download the raw AI file if you enjoyed this lesson.
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