Design insights & tutorials.

How to Draw Your Own Vector Wings

Turquoise Flag-Tip

Ok, I lied. We’re not entering the Food Service industry. But a tutorial on how to make some chicken wings would be pretty cool, none the less. This tutorial is all about how to make those really cool hyper detailed wings that all those bro-dawg brands are rocking.

First things first, we’re gonna need to find a reference photo of a feather. After some searching on the information superhighway, I found one that I liked. The reason I chose it is because it had good curvature and a good amount of disheveled strands. Check it out below.

So I placed it into a new Illustrator file (by going to File > Place). Once in there, like a lot of the other tutorials on here that require tracing from a photo reference – I’ll be turning down the opacity of the image and locking it’s sub-layer.

So we’re gonna start tracing the feather out. We don’t need the plume on it, just the feathery part. I put enough crazy ridges and stray strands to keep it as a good base. I didn’t go too hyper on the first one because we’ll be duplicating the base shape and adding further detail to prevent the feathers from being so repetitive. We can’t have a boring wing, you know?

So I duplicated the feather base once and dragged it off to the side. I made a couple of my own tapered brushes for the detail. If you’re unfamiliar with making tapered brushes, we have more than a couple tutorials that touch on how to achieve this effect. It’s a whole tutorial in itself, so like last time, I’m omitting it from this one too. I added a ton of detailed strands all around both base shapes. I expanded the appearance on the brush strokes, deleted the invisible stroke marks (by making a transparent box, using the magic wand to select all the invisible lines, and hit the delete key) then added the shape of the details and the corresponding base feather together with the pathfinder. And we’ve got two feathers.

Now I start building the wing. The curvature comes into play here, because it’s what is going to give our wing a legit look. I duplicated each feather, and switched off each style to keep it different, while decreasing the size little by little. I know I reached a good stopping point when the detail in the wing begins to get lossy with the naked eye.

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Now we need to add the secondary part of the wing. I duplicated the wing we have so far and added it with the pathfinder. I turned down the opacity (locking it’s sub-layer is up to you, but not necessary) and got to work with the additional part. I added the detail strands much like I did in the feather. I also added some more smaller feathers to give it some more character and kill off a little of the negative space.

Now I repeated the expanding of the brush strokes, deleted stray transparent lines, and merged the wing all together with the pathfinder tool. We have a wing! Now let’s duplicate it and mirror it like it’s shown below.

So let’s align this bad boy properly, and group it together.

You’re now equipped with a pretty nice set of wings to put behind your logo or graphic. I used a skull here from the Arsenal, well, because I can… and there you have it.

Now I’m gonna go look up some Hot Wing recipes and throw down in the kitchen. Adios!

-Dave

The feather used as the photo reference was aquired by using Google’s image search, from the website Owl Prowl. Just giving them credit where it’s due.

About the Author, Dave

Dave is Go Media's hell raising wild child. Illustration and petrified whale bone are the two things this guy lives for... next to barbacoa tacos and fried plantains. When he's not gently tapping and stroking the surface of his wacom with his stylus... he's relaxing to some contemporary jazz. More than likely illustrating some vomiting skulls in fitted caps, half-naked zombie women with dookie rope chains, or demon toddlers chugging tequila on their big wheels.
Discover More by Dave

Discussion

We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • xonnie

    Amazing, as always…

    About the tapered brushes, I couldn’t find the tutorials about it, can anybody help me please?

  • nobahdi

    Awesome wings, and you make it look so easy.

  • nobahdi

    Awesome wings, and you make it look so easy.

  • AndrU

    Man!, you are amazing!, i love it.

    Salute,

  • AndrU

    Man!, you are amazing!, i love it.

    Salute,

  • FuKt

    wow man!!! this was exactly what i was looking for! im just getting into designing my own vector graphics to make some tees…

    thnx for the simple yet informative tutorial!!!

  • FuKt

    wow man!!! this was exactly what i was looking for! im just getting into designing my own vector graphics to make some tees…

    thnx for the simple yet informative tutorial!!!

  • http://www.gomedia.us adam

    Hey Dave, great tutorial. I think you made an awesome feather that is in Vector Pack 7 – Ornate. I might try it out using your method here.

    @Xonnie:In Illustrator, hold the rectangle shape tool until it folds out to the other options. Choose the polygon tool but instead of dragging a shape, just click the artobard. Choose 3 when the option for the number of sides appears. You should have a perfect triangle. Now transform the triangle so it is skinny, and drag it into the brushes panel. Choose “new art brush” and you’re done.

  • http://www.gomedia.us adam

    Hey Dave, great tutorial. I think you made an awesome feather that is in Vector Pack 7 – Ornate. I might try it out using your method here.

    @Xonnie:In Illustrator, hold the rectangle shape tool until it folds out to the other options. Choose the polygon tool but instead of dragging a shape, just click the artobard. Choose 3 when the option for the number of sides appears. You should have a perfect triangle. Now transform the triangle so it is skinny, and drag it into the brushes panel. Choose “new art brush” and you’re done.

  • Dehy

    dave i love you.

  • Dehy

    dave i love you.

  • http://www.alinestudio.com JeffreyEric

    dave… you are on DRUGS! (which probably explains the amazing work) HAHA! – love the feathers -

  • http://www.alinestudio.com JeffreyEric

    dave… you are on DRUGS! (which probably explains the amazing work) HAHA! – love the feathers -

  • http://www.gomedia.us Dave

    @JeffreyEric

    ShhhhhhhhH!!! Go Media’s gonna fire me now. Dammit! Haha.

    I’m not on drugs… I just sold my soul to the devil when I was 3 years old to be decent at something. I didn’t care what… whether it was basketball, art, arson, or underwater basket weaving. Luckily the Devil’s not that bad of a guy and he zapped some skill into my life and here I am.

    But seriously, thanks guys. There’s some more tutorials in the works that I think you all will find reaaaalllly useful. Some that I’m pretty excited about. Take care folks.

    -Dave

  • http://www.gomedia.us Dave

    @JeffreyEric

    ShhhhhhhhH!!! Go Media’s gonna fire me now. Dammit! Haha.

    I’m not on drugs… I just sold my soul to the devil when I was 3 years old to be decent at something. I didn’t care what… whether it was basketball, art, arson, or underwater basket weaving. Luckily the Devil’s not that bad of a guy and he zapped some skill into my life and here I am.

    But seriously, thanks guys. There’s some more tutorials in the works that I think you all will find reaaaalllly useful. Some that I’m pretty excited about. Take care folks.

    -Dave

  • http://www.gomedia.us Dave

    @xonnie:

    Adam’s right. It’s fairly simple. I also tried looking for those tutorials and I’m not sure where they went either???

  • http://www.gomedia.us Dave

    @xonnie:

    Adam’s right. It’s fairly simple. I also tried looking for those tutorials and I’m not sure where they went either???

  • http://www.afruit.com A.Fruit

    This is kinda off-topic, but is that “1″ supposed to be in the title graphic? Or did your hand slip of the shift button in the excitement?

  • http://www.afruit.com A.Fruit

    This is kinda off-topic, but is that “1″ supposed to be in the title graphic? Or did your hand slip of the shift button in the excitement?

  • xonnie

    Amazing, as always…

    About the tapered brushes, I couldn’t find the tutorials about it, can anybody help me please?

  • http://www.colorburned.com Grant Friedman

    Great tutorial! You might have also used the transform effect (Effects > Distort and Transform > Transform) to duplicate, scale and add curvature to the wings.

  • http://www.colorburned.com Grant Friedman

    Great tutorial! You might have also used the transform effect (Effects > Distort and Transform > Transform) to duplicate, scale and add curvature to the wings.

  • http://www.robotmojo.com JoMo

    Great stuff. It’s so often i come here and slap myself on the forehead while screaming (in a blood-curdling, terrified, scream): “OF COURSE!” I think a lot of these tutorials also kind of display a lot of your tight source materials. I mean, those paths are super tight and intricate, and I almost wouldn’t even think to put that much detail into that original feather unless saw beforehand, what you’d wind up turning it into. Sicknasty.

    Also, why does everyone always reference underwater basket-weaving as such a joke? If someone gave you a basket and said “here, i wove those underwater,” you would stand silent for like 3 seconds and say “wait… seriously?” Well you would. I would say “get out of my house.”

  • http://www.robotmojo.com JoMo

    Great stuff. It’s so often i come here and slap myself on the forehead while screaming (in a blood-curdling, terrified, scream): “OF COURSE!” I think a lot of these tutorials also kind of display a lot of your tight source materials. I mean, those paths are super tight and intricate, and I almost wouldn’t even think to put that much detail into that original feather unless saw beforehand, what you’d wind up turning it into. Sicknasty.

    Also, why does everyone always reference underwater basket-weaving as such a joke? If someone gave you a basket and said “here, i wove those underwater,” you would stand silent for like 3 seconds and say “wait… seriously?” Well you would. I would say “get out of my house.”

  • Xonnie

    Thank you Adam :)

  • Xonnie

    Thank you Adam :)

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff Finley

    @Grant, yeah that’s a good tip.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff Finley

    @Grant, yeah that’s a good tip.

  • Michael_C

    Could you explain your invisible-line-deletion-technique please? Can’t quite work out what you meant by “…making a transparent box, using the magic wand to select all the invisible lines, and hit the delete key.”

    Thanks!

  • Michael_C

    Could you explain your invisible-line-deletion-technique please? Can’t quite work out what you meant by “…making a transparent box, using the magic wand to select all the invisible lines, and hit the delete key.”

    Thanks!

  • Michael_C

    Soory for the double post, just worked it out. Awesome tutorial!

  • Michael_C

    Soory for the double post, just worked it out. Awesome tutorial!

  • xonnie

    Michael_C

    make a random shape with no fill and no stroke…
    Then, just select it with the Magic Wand, it will select all “invisible” stuff on your workspace…
    Then just hit delete and voila… all the crap is gone :D

  • http://yewtah.com Brandon

    Love the site! How do you do the notify of follow up comments? Is it a plugin?
    Thanks

  • http://yewtah.com Brandon

    Love the site! How do you do the notify of follow up comments? Is it a plugin?
    Thanks

  • Ty (tzmedia)

    I’m subscribed to the RSS feeds around here.
    “Everyone loves to give away free vectors, but what about teaching a man to fish? Here’s how to create your own wings…”
    If you could teach a man how to create his own wings, couldn’t you teach him to fly instead of fish?
    Pass me some hot-damn hot sauce for the f*-ing wings then man!
    GoMedia’s one of my new faves. tnx

  • Ty (tzmedia)

    I’m subscribed to the RSS feeds around here.
    “Everyone loves to give away free vectors, but what about teaching a man to fish? Here’s how to create your own wings…”
    If you could teach a man how to create his own wings, couldn’t you teach him to fly instead of fish?
    Pass me some hot-damn hot sauce for the f*-ing wings then man!
    GoMedia’s one of my new faves. tnx

  • xonnie

    Michael_C

    make a random shape with no fill and no stroke…
    Then, just select it with the Magic Wand, it will select all “invisible” stuff on your workspace…
    Then just hit delete and voila… all the crap is gone :D

  • http://logobr.wordpress.com Daniel Campos

    This tutorial is great!!

  • http://logobr.wordpress.com Daniel Campos

    This tutorial is great!!

  • http://truthoncinema.com Dan

    @Brandon, it’s a plug in called Subscribe to Comments and here is the link to download it.

    http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/subscribe-to-comments/

    Hope it works out for you.

    Great tutorial Dave!

  • http://truthoncinema.com Dan

    @Brandon, it’s a plug in called Subscribe to Comments and here is the link to download it.

    http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/subscribe-to-comments/

    Hope it works out for you.

    Great tutorial Dave!

  • http://sabasdesign.com msabas

    Awesome, glad you guys made this tut. Thanks Dave

  • http://sabasdesign.com msabas

    Awesome, glad you guys made this tut. Thanks Dave

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  • http://www.wenrow.com wenrow

    你太强悍了,非常喜欢你的站。而且很喜欢你的做图,可惜是英文我看不懂哈哈。

  • http://www.wenrow.com wenrow

    你太强悍了,非常喜欢你的站。而且很喜欢你的做图,可惜是英文我看不懂哈哈。

  • http://yewtah.com Brandon

    Thanks Dan works great

  • http://yewtah.com Brandon

    Thanks Dan works great

  • http://monstersCUBE.com blank

    really nice tutorial ;)

  • http://monstersCUBE.com blank

    really nice tutorial ;)

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  • http://www.geoffmay.com Geoff May

    Great tutorial. I don’t use wings too often but this is still helpful to a lot of people.

  • http://www.geoffmay.com Geoff May

    Great tutorial. I don’t use wings too often but this is still helpful to a lot of people.

  • Joe Baron

    This was a good tutorial. It’s good to gather tips from how other people work. When I draw mine, I have forget about artistic license and draw it so it looks realistic. Again good work.

  • Joe Baron

    This was a good tutorial. It’s good to gather tips from how other people work. When I draw mine, I have forget about artistic license and draw it so it looks realistic. Again good work.

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  • Eric Thayne

    Great tut! I’m gonna try this one for sure!

  • Eric Thayne

    Great tut! I’m gonna try this one for sure!

  • ChequeredManiac

    Really nice. They look so cool.

  • ChequeredManiac

    Really nice. They look so cool.

  • http://www.cgtrade.net imsraaia

    awesome…

  • http://www.cgtrade.net imsraaia

    awesome…

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  • Radz

    Awwwwwwesome… this is so damn amazing man thanx abunch!

  • Radz

    Awwwwwwesome… this is so damn amazing man thanx abunch!

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  • http://naldzgraphics.com NaldzGraphics

    cool tutorial:)maybe i should make some and make it a brush:)

  • http://naldzgraphics.com NaldzGraphics

    cool tutorial:)maybe i should make some and make it a brush:)

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  • Robby Conatser

    cool wings! wish i could draw :(

  • Robby Conatser

    cool wings! wish i could draw :(

  • http://www.gomedia.us Dave

    @ Robby:

    Drawing doesn’t have much to do with this tutorial. Just know where stuff goes, be observative of details… regardless of the medium, you’ll find a way to make it work for you.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Dave

    @ Robby:

    Drawing doesn’t have much to do with this tutorial. Just know where stuff goes, be observative of details… regardless of the medium, you’ll find a way to make it work for you.

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  • Hartman

    Not very inspiring

  • Hartman

    Not very inspiring

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  • http://www.identium.com Reklambyrå

    Thanks for this turtorial. Wingz can be useful and now i know how to create one.

  • http://www.identium.com Reklambyrå

    Thanks for this turtorial. Wingz can be useful and now i know how to create one.

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  • http://www.bestchoicehosting.net Hosting Reviews

    Very nicely done. And great choice in skulls
    <-

  • http://www.bestchoicehosting.net Hosting Reviews

    Very nicely done. And great choice in skulls
    <-

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  • http://www.pstutsblog.com Umar

    Awesome art style!

  • http://www.pstutsblog.com Umar

    Awesome art style!

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  • http://www.sivascity.com sivas resimleri

    very good. thanks

  • http://cherryloser.deviantart.com/ cherrydavinci

    “A great designer always puts great efforts.”
    dave really awesome :-)

  • eka

    keren booos..hahahaha..

  • Codii

    genius

    thankQ!

  • http://tuts.cgbaran.com/ CgBaran Tuts

    Nice tutorial thanks

  • Heeectooor

    By adding a skull you blew it. I like better the wings alone.

  • Heeectooor

    By adding a skull you blew it. I like better the wings alone.

  • DELY

    Thanks for the great tutorial!
    Could you tell me where to find the tutorial on how to make the brush that's been used?

  • http://www.clippingimages.com/ clipping path

    Well explained tutorial.Love the work. :)

  • Matt

    Thanks for this nice work!
    dizi izle

  • John

    Great post!
    dizi izle

  • Tutorials_99

    good work..
    i found fantastic site having higher page rank tutorials
    see below link
    http://www.tutorials99.com

  • http://www.photoshopclippingpath.us Photoshop Clipping Path

    gr8 job That bit was pretty impressive, thanks for posting.

  • http://www.printplace.com/printing/business-card-printing.aspx Business Cards

    Wings are a great print flyer design option for the right audience. Flyer printing is a great way to advertise for local band concerts or even a talent search. This kind of design would be just right for something like that. The wings could also be made white and used with a lighter theme as an alternative for a different audience.

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    It’s a interesting news, I like it.

  • Nitish

    worst tutorial for a newbie :