Deke’s Techniques 071: Drawing a Halloween Scareflake

071 Drawing a Halloween scareflake

Welcome to Halloween! And today’s scary technique, in which I show you how to make that vector-based craft that’s sweeping the nation: Scareflakes! Here’s a detail:

Deke's Techniques: A Halloween scareflake in Adobe Illustrator

They’re like snowflakes, in that every one is beautiful and unique. But they scare the poop out of you! (Just look at the image above. Admit it, you’re pooping in fear!)

Here’s the official poop-free description from

This week, you not only get Deke’s free advice for making the world’s scariest snowflake in Illustrator. But you also get complimentary insight into Deke’s childhood and how he came to make the scary connection between Halloween and snowflakes. The beauty (so to speak) is that Illustrator’s dynamic Transform effect lets you work on one twelfth of your snowflake—creating the scariest, craziest, most intricate skeleton-ghost you can imagine—and have your work magically repeated eleven more times. The effect is this delightful, multi-seasonal creation:

A variety of scareflakes, made for Halloween in Adobe Illustrator

It takes some work to join, duplicate, and properly fill the path outlines. And, as usual, Deke walks you through his particular ghastly machinations step-by-step. You’ll see how to use a dynamic effect inside Illustrator (Transform) to create the proper combinations. You’ll even witness as Deke navigates the treacherous interworkings of groups, pathfinder operations, and joining.  This is the first snowflake, or “scareflake,” of the Halloween season. Brought to you by Deke and his sentimental association with his favorite holiday. Meanwhile, for members, there are two more exclusive movies in the Online Training Library this week. In the first, Deke shows you how to replicate your snowflake as “true clones,” so that you can make a bunch of copies. And in the second, Deke shows you how to import your creation into Photoshop as a smart object and give it a fiery background.

Fire and ice in this week’s holiday technique. Happy Haunting!

For you folks who are the least bit interested in what’s going on in the Online Training Library (and, honestly, I can’t blame you), here’s the final effect, rendered in Photoshop:

Deke's Techniques scareflakes in Photoshop

Next week? Zombies. Keep watching.

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