How To Mirror In Illustrator

One of the ways that artists make their creations in Illustrator look and remain consistent is through the use of symmetry. You will often see designs that have a basic symmetrical pattern, as though the two sides will mirror each other. How do you achieve this outcome?

As humans, it is hard for us to create perfect symmetry in a drawing. However, that can be made easy when you are using the Reflect and Live Mirror features in Photoshop. This way, you can get an identical copy of your work to the other side. 

If you are struggling to keep your illustrations on the Adobe Illustrator program consistent, try out these features today! In no time, you will be able to create perfect mirrors that just have a distinct mirror look that gives your work a very uniform look.

Using the Reflect Tool On Photoshop

One of the easiest ways to get started with mirroring on Illustrator is to use the Reflect Tool that is built into the system. To achieve this effect, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Open up Adobe Illustrator on your computer.
  2. Open the image or create one half of your illustration.
  3. In the Layers tab on your software, select and duplicate the layer.
  4. Select one of the layers, and then click on the Reflect Tool. 
  5. Alternatively, from the Object menu, choose transform, and then Reflect.
  6. In the dialog box that opens up, choose Horizontal or Vertical Mirroring.
  7. Click OK to apply the effect onto the layer. 

As you can see, now you will have two images completely mirroring each other. This will help to create symmetry in your work on either the X or Y axis. If you want to see the reflect tool in action, you can also take a look at this tutorial:

This tutorial also shows you how to incorporate symmetry while drawing on Illustrator, which we will cover in the next section of this tutorial.

Using The Symmetry Tool While Drawing

Another way that you can achieve the same symmetrical look you are going for is to use the Symmetry feature available in the software. This will create segments across your canvas and help you replicate your work across those segments. So let’s take a look at how this feature can work one Adobe Illustrator:

  1. Launch Adobe Illustrator and create a new document.
  2. Now, use the Rectangle tool to create a rectangle bigger than your artboard.
  3. Switch on the Ruler Tool on your document.
  4. Create a horizontal and vertical guide intersecting at the document’s center.
  5. Create any path on one office of the artboard.
  6. Now, select the layer in the layers panel.
  7. Click on the Effect menu, and then choose the option Distort & Transform.
  8. From the next menu, choose the option ‘Transform…’
  9. A dialog box will open up. Choose the axis and the number of copies. 
  10. You can preview what this will look like in the dialog box. Click OK when you’re done.
  11. Now, you can use the available drawing tools to create your illustration.

This is a great way to create a symmetrical image. However, there are some limitations. For one, the pathway that crosses the axis cannot connect with the copy of its path. Another issue that you should consider is that you are limited to the rectangle over the artboard. 

While live symmetry is currently a limited feature in Adobe Illustrator, there are third-p[arty plugins that you can try using that may offer a similar path but with far more options. It is up to you to decide what is the better choice for you as you create a symmetrical drawing.

The best course of action is to create a rectangle bigger than the artboard, so you have more area to play with. You can also create a design that carefully avoids crossing over the axis lines so there are no disruptions. 

At the end of the day, there are still enough options where you can use this tool to make beautiful and fascinating illustrations. 

Final Thoughts

Symmetry is one of the best ways to bring balance and consistency into your Adobe Illustrator projects. With just a few steps, you can create symmetry and make your designs and illustrations stand out!