Making a Spiral Page Layout in Adobe Illustrator

An unconventional layout such as Kristy worked on for page 09 of Infinite Spiral might seem intimidating to some artists.  However, by using a few of Illustrator's tools, creating a spiral layout like the thumbnail below is a much simpler task than you'd think.

Let's walk through the process. Make sure you've opened Illustrator and created a new document. Kristy set the document to 300DPI, CMYK, and 11x17inches (for a 50% reduction for print). These settings make sure you have a print sized document.

Step One: Select your Spiral Tool

Step Two:  Create a Spiral by Clicking and Dragging.

You should be able to rotate and size as desired while creating your spiral.

Step Three:  Center and Rotate

Using the arrow tool, you can center and rotate the spiral until it looks like your thumbnail or vision for the page.

Step Four:  Change Your Line Width to Taste

Adjust the line width so that the lines are as wide as you want the panel gutter or space between panels to be.  This is important, or you will eventually have no space between your panels.

Step Five: Select the Arc Tool

This is under the same Menu as the Spiral Tool in your Toolbar.

Step Six:  Click and Pull out Arcs As Desired

They should be the same line width as the spiral.  If not, adjust as necessary by selecting them.

Step Seven:  Create Enough Arcs to Outline the Panels in Your Thumbnail

Make sure the lines overlap each other so we can use our friendly Pathfinder tool in a few steps.

Step Eight:  Select ALL then go to Object>Path>Outline Stroke.

This will turn your lines into a shape.

Step Nine:  Customize Your Outlines and Unite Your Shapes

At this point you should be able to add black outlines if you so desire.  (You don't have to do this, but I do to make sure the Outline Strokes worked and that the shapes still overlap).

Select ALL again and then open the Pathfinder Tool (it is also under Window), and use the UNITE tool (the two boxes merging).

You should now have an awesome shape that looks a bit like a chambered nautilus.  

Step Ten:  Create a rectangle the size of your page

You use the rectangle tool for this.

Step Eleven:  Send that rectangle to the BACK! 

You can do this by going to Object>Arrange>Send to Back.

Step Twelve:  Once again, Select ALL.

Step Thirteen:  Use the Pathfinder Minus Front Tool

Be sure to select the Minus Front Tool (to the right of the Unite Tool) in order cut the spiral from your rectangle. This will create neat panels with consistent space between.

Step Fourteen:  Clean Up Your Panels

Now you just have to clean up your end points and adjust linewidths to your desired panel border weight.

And Now Your Final Product

After that you should have a panel layout similar to page 09 of Infinite Spiral!  Happy Cartooning!