How to draw ocean waves with a pen tool in illustrator

Written by daniel ketchum
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If you are using Adobe Illustrator to create graphics for an document that is in some way related to the ocean, such as a sign for a swimwear store or a surf board shop, you will want to add imagery that matches the ocean theme. One thing you might choose to add are ocean waves. You might think this would be difficult, but Illustrator makes it easy.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Start Illustrator. Select "File" from the menu and choose "New." In the dialogue that opens, enter the size you want for the graphic and click "OK."

  2. 2

    Select the "Pen" tool from the toolbar and in the options at the top set it to a dark blue. Clicking on the canvas, use it to define the shape of a wave, dragging as you add each point to adjust the curve of the line.

  3. 3

    Select the "Spiral" tool from the toolbar. Draw a spiral at the create of the wave to serve as foam. Change the "Fill" colour to an off-white or cream and the "Stroke" colour to a light blue. Save your work.

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