Producing Wavy & Zig-Zag Patterns in Illustrator

How Adobe Illustrator can do the work for you

Probably the most intuitive way of drawing zig-zag lines on Illustrator would be to use the pen tool and draw each zig-zag by hand. The only problem with this method is that it’s tedious and is tricky to keep the results consistent. Wavy lines are even more tricky to draw consistently. However, Illustrator being the versatile tool that it is can perfectly draw these patterns for us and more.

So how do you go about producing a zig-zag in Illustrator? Well first, draw out a straight line by selecting the Line Segment Tool and dragging out a line horizontally on the canvas while holding shift and then release once it’s long enough for you. Now with the line still selected, go on the top menu Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag…


When the window pops up, make sure Preview is selected. If you play around with the options, you will see that Size controls the height of the zig-zags and Ridges per segment increases the number of zig-zags in that line length. Now in Points, if you select Smooth instead of Corner, you get a “wavy” pattern instead of a zig-zag one

You can also apply this effect to any shape you draw in Illustrator, which can lead to some cool effects:



So have fun experimenting with each shape and the Zig Zag tool!

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Want to learn more? Attend one of our Illustrator Training Courses.