Abstract linear shapes in CorelDRAW
by Anna María López López
The powerful interactive tools in CorelDRAW® are the most notable strength of this vector illustration and design program.
The Blend Tool is one of these interactive tools that at first glance doesn't show its impressive versatility. However, once its potential is uncovered, it quickly becomes a favorite tool among CorelDRAW pro users. The Blend Tool always takes center stage in the courses I teach and the blending exercises are usually everyone's favorite ones.
This quick and easy tutorial is a clear example of the creative power of this tool. You will use only three CorelDRAW tools in order to complete it: the Freehand Tool, the Blend Tool, and the Shape Tool.
A blend is like a metamorphosis or morphing between two objects, so, in order to create a blend you will first need to create two objects. One will be the starting point and the second will become the end point of the blend.
In this exercise, we will use two simple lines drawn with the Freehand Tool.
In a CorelDRAW document, draw two lines such as the ones shown in the following illustration, and apply a different color to each one by left-clicking on the color of your choice in the color palette.
Select the central line and click the Blend Tool to activate it.
You will notice that the cursor has now become the interactive Blend Tool cursor. Click on the center line with the interactive cursor (1. Image below), drag it and release it over the second line (2). Upon releasing the button of your mouse, the Blend Tool will automatically create a metamorphosis between the two initial lines (3). This will result in an abstract shape as shown in the following image.
By default, the Blend Tool will create a blend group of 20 objects in addition to the starting and ending objects.
Finally, click on the Blend Group in order to change the color of the abstract shape and to obtain a multicolor effect. Click on the Clockwise blend icon in the property bar at the top and you will see how the color wheel changes direction creating an abstract shape with multiple gradient colors.
The following image shows the end result of this exercise: a linear composition comprised of multicolored lines, also known in graphic design terms as "gradient mesh".
You could finalize the exercise here, or continue improving the shape you've created.
The abstract shape or blend group isn't a conventional group of objects. Instead, the lines (that were initially the starting and ending objects), have a dynamic behavior and are known as control objects. If you choose a control object, you can make changes to it (position, size, color, stroke, etc.) and these changes will automatically update the blend group.
Give it a try with something simple, select the blend group again and in the top property bar increase the number of objects/steps in the blend, as shown in the following image (Blend Steps increased from 20 to 50).
The advantage of this type of blend is its interactive nature. If you want to continue creating abstract shapes, click on the starting control object (the central line) with the Shape Tool. The control handles of the curve will be activated. You can drag these control handles and see the different shapes that are generated automatically.
Remember that you can also use the Shape Tool to modify the curvature of the starting and ending objects by adding or removing nodes (straightening curved paths, etc). The changes applied to the starting and ending objects will update the entire blend, drastically expanding your creative possibilities.
Try this technique by experimenting with different types of lines as shown in the following image, and you will obtain varying results using the same technique and taking advantage of all the possibilities offered by the Blend Tool.