Tangent lines are easy to draw in Adobe Illustrator. In this quick tutorial we'll use an easy method for drawing perfect tangent lines every time.
In geometry, a tangent line (or simply tangent) to a plane curve at a given point is the straight line that "just touches" the curve. Tangent lines help give your icons and illustrations a symmetrical and modern look.
To begin, use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a circle. Constrain the proportions by holding down the Shift Key as you create the shape.
Next, with the Pen Tool (P), draw a long line. Hold down the Shift Key so the 2 points align vertically.
Select both shapes. From the Align Window, select Horizontal Align Left.
Still in the Align Window, select Vertical Align Center.
Your objects should look similar to this:
Select the line. Go to the Object Menu > Path > Add Anchor Points.
This will add one point in the center of your line:
Select both shapes. From the Tools Panel, select the Rotate Tool (R).
Rotate both shapes:
Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select one end of the line and delete it.
Now, let's delete a portion of the circle shape:
Select the overlapping anchor points and Join them: Object Menu > Path > Join.
Now your shape should look like this:
That's all there is to it. Now you've got a straight line that extends perfectly from the curve. This simple method will save you tons of time in the long run and really makes nice curved lines.
Using the shape we created above, select the Reflect Tool (R), and make a copy:
Select both shapes. From the Pathfinder Window, select Divide.
Delete the unwanted shapes until you see this:
Try using tangent lines in other icons:
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