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How to Create Feathers in Illustrator

October 27, 2015
feathers in illustrator preview

Happy Tuesday! As we approach Thanksgiving month, I thought Katherine’s request for a tutorial on feathers in Illustrator was a great idea this week. Since no style was specified in her request, I decided to share how to replicate two styles I love – organic and geometric/iconic.Β We’ll go over a bunch of quick tips, like easily altering paths, applying clipping masks, expanding strokes and utilizing the pathfinder palette. At the end of this tutorial, you’ll have an organic and geometric/iconic style feather you’ll be able to apply any color or texture to, alter easily, and implement to any application in both CMYK and RGB. Read on to see how!

How to Create Feathers in Illustrator

The two textures used in the class come from this Watercolor Texture Kit (streaked texture #7, soft texture #13)


  • Reply Maribeth October 28, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    Another fun tutorial, thank you! I really enjoy all your tutorials, but what I especially like is that I learn a new trick with each one that I didn’t know before. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Jess S. October 28, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    hi teela, for the first feather how did you get the pencil tool to remove those sections you drew, and also the adding on? what pencil settings did you use? i’ve never seen the pencil tool used this way so i’m very curious… i tried it out and wasn’t able to get the same results as you did. thanks so much!

    • Reply Teela November 1, 2015 at 2:00 AM

      Hey Jess! No pencil settings πŸ™‚ In order for it to work, the base part of the feather has to be selected and the pencil has to start along a path and then hit the path again before you release – let me know if you’re still having trouble!

      • Reply Emmalilly June 14, 2016 at 4:17 PM

        I’m having trouble with that first feather too. Can’t seem to make the pencil tool work more than once. Any suggestions for a newbie?

        • Reply Teela June 15, 2016 at 2:41 PM

          Hey – if you double click on your pencil, this is what my pencil is set to: Hopefully that helps!

          • Gina December 14, 2016 at 5:05 PM

            I’m having the same problem but can’t fix it πŸ™ It works once, but after that, it won’t “cut away”.

          • Teela December 16, 2016 at 5:37 AM

            It could be that the feather became deselected after the first cut – it always has to be selected in order for the pencil to ‘cut’ parts away

  • Reply Tatiana October 29, 2015 at 3:42 AM

    Thank you, Teela! As always – extreamly useful. Always wanted to know how to draw feathers and you made my dream come true!

    • Reply Teela November 1, 2015 at 2:01 AM

      yay! Thanks for watching! πŸ˜€

  • Reply julia November 12, 2015 at 9:08 PM

    Thanks for this tutorial! Love it and learned a lot!

    • Reply Teela November 15, 2015 at 9:16 PM

      yay! happy to hear πŸ™‚

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