Butterfly illustrations can be used in wallpapers, logos, or even to incorporate nature into brochure design.

Make a Butterfly with Overlapping Wings in Illustrator

Butterfly illustrations can be used to create wallpapers, logo designs, or even to incorporate nature into a brochure printing design. The following tutorial will show you how to create a unique butterfly with folded wings.

Begin by opening a new document in Illustrator. Select the Pencil tool and draw a butterfly wing, as if seen with wings folded. Do not worry too much if you cannot get the shape just right. After drawing the wing, you can use the Direct Selection tool to drag the path around and perfect the wing.

Tools    Draw      

Now use the Color tool in your toolbar and select a fill color, using black for the outline.


Draw another wing with the Pencil tool again, or copy and paste your wing by hitting Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V. Before copying, you will need to select the wing first with the Selection tool (drag the Selection tool over the wing). Reshape using the Direct Selection tool if necessary and move it so that it slightly overlaps the first wing. To turn the wing, select it with the Selection tool and hover your mouse over one of the corners until a curved line with arrows at each end appears. Then click and drag until the wing is angled correctly. If desired, make this new wing a different color.


Change the opacity of the second wing so the first shows through slightly. To do this, go to Transparency on your tool panel on the right side of the screen (if not visible, go to Window>Transparency). Set the opacity to somewhere between 60 and 85%.



Using the Pencil tool again, draw the body of the butterfly, and move it into place with the Selection tool.


Select the Live Paint Bucket tool and click on the abdomen to create a live paint area.


Go to Gradients in the toolbar on the right side of the screen. Double-click on the right-hand slider box and choose a desired color. Then double-click on the left-hand slider box and choose a lighter color. Adjust the slider to change the look of the gradient.


Now select the Spiral tool (located within Line Segment tool; click, hold, and drag to select the Spiral tool).


Set the fill to black and outline to white then click anywhere on the screen. The Spiral Options Box should appear. Change the Radius to 10 pt. and hit OK. Do this a second time to create two spirals.


Select each spiral with the Selection tool, and turn and place them on the head of the butterfly to make the antennas.


Finally, use the Paintbrush tool to create patterns in the wings. After selecting the tool, change the color to No Fill and the outline to white or whichever color you'd like.

Paint      No Fill

Now open the Brushes palette on the right hand side of the screen (or go to Window>Brushes). Open the brushes option menu by clicking on the down arrow in the upper right hand corner of the palette. Go to Open Brush Library>Artistic>Calligraphic or another brush option you would like to use.

 Brush Options

Choose a brush stroke from the Calligraphic menu that appears and create patterns on your butterfly. Use several different shapes to create a one-of-a-kind look. If you don't like how one looks, simply hit Ctrl + Z to undo your last move.


Your butterfly is now finished. Have fun creating unique butterflies for your next poster or brochure printing project!


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