Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Fancy Shape for Nicky's Wedding (Curves and Points)

Today is International Women's Day

I recently bought a Mac and am kinda looking for the easy way out without spending hours trying to 'play and learn.' I am trying to create my wedding invitations using Pages. I have a shape that I would like to use I am not sure if I just need to practice more but I am having an issue trying to make it one flowing line from using the 'trace paper technique'.
Any advice would be great. Thanks!  

- Nicky

Here is the basic shape with editing points showing:

First, create a rough outline of the shape with the Draw Tool in the Shapes menu. Under the Format menu, choose Format>Shape>Make Editable and then Format>Shape>Smooth Path. Red dots (editing points) show where you click with the little pen of the Draw Tool.

Second, you need to change the middle points at the top, bottom, left ahd right from curving points to angled. Double click on each of those red editing points – and they change from curve to angle, they become pointed, like arrows. Read more on how this works here.

Next, adjust the curves by moving the editing points and dragging 'propeller' handles that appear when you click on an editing point. Editing points can be moved by dragging or with the keyboard arrows.

Then, in Graphics Inspector change colour of the shape, thickness of its outline (frame), add shadow and try different colours, offset and blur for the shape to give it a more 3D look.

Time-wise, work up to this point should take 15-30 minutes, 
it's not hard and becomes easier with practice.

When you are satisfied, you can duplicate the shape (Command+D). In Metrics Inspector check 'Constrain Proportions' box and make the second shape (duplicate) smaller. Then move it over the first one – and you'll have a shape with double frame. You can change the colour of the shape, thickness and colour of the frame to achieve a more striking look. 

By default Pages have 'Alignment Guides' (Snap to Grid) function activated. When you move the second shape it will 'snap' to align itself with the first one which makes your job easier.

Group the two shapes under Arrange menu, so you can move them as one object.

Next, you can add a message inside the shape. Click on 'Text Box' in the tool bar and type the message.

Now, you can draw a shape like this yourself, or you can recreate it from an example somewhere else, using what I call 'tracing paper' technique.

Nicky wanted to recreate the shape from a commercial web-site, a business which makes a living by selling creative designs.  Using someone else's idea for yor own original design is perfectly legitimate while just copy-pasting is not.

And have a very happy wedding, Nicky, best wishes!

Nicky commented on this post, showing how 'tracing paper' technique can be used to draw cartoon-like images in Pages.

Read more in my new book 'iWork for Mas OSX Cookbook' (2012). Follow me on Twitter at iworkinpages, like my page I Work in Pages on Facebook and add me to your circles on Google+.


  1. I cannot tell you how grateful I am! THANK YOU! I have used your site more than once to try and learn what I'm doing with my Mac and I am very appreciative of your help!

  2. Anonymous3:53 pm

    what is the name of that shape?

    1. I am not sure there is one. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.


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