Drawing with shapes in Adobe InDesign

Of course you can create all the vector artwork shown in the ad below with Illustrator or other graphics software, but you can also do it entirely in InDesign. Follow us and we’ll show you how to create vibrant flowers, a lava lamp and more for the perfect 60s ad.

  1. Bring InDesign back to the 1960s
  2. Text and layout
  3. Draw the first flower
  4. Draw a star with 5 points
  5. Turn star glasses into petals
  6. Give your flower a good plan
  7. Refine your flower
  8. Draw the second flower
  9. draw ball
  10. lamp drawing
  11. Drawing lava in a lamp
  12. Draw a simple map
  13. mounting illustration

Bring InDesign back to the 1960s

The main tools used to draw all these illustrations are:

  • Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon

  • Convert Direction Point Tool (in the Pen drop-down list)

  • Direct selection tool (white arrow in the toolbar)

  • boy Scout

To complete your artwork, also use the Fill/Stroke tools to color in your shapes and the Transform tools to scale and rotate.

Text and layout

This tutorial won’t cover the text portions of this ad, but here are a few things you might want to know if you’re trying to replicate some of the looks.


  • Title: Candy Round BTN

  • Store name (Bell Bottom Thrift) at Bell Bottom Laser (very convenient) and Calibria

  • Other copy: Berlin Sans FB

  • Card tags: Basic Sans SF

Text effects.

  • Bell Bottom has the basic Inner Bevel effect

  • There is a simple drop shadow effect at the beginning of the bird sale


  • All 3p margins (default in InDesign)

  • The layout uses the rule of thirds both vertically and horizontally.

  • The lava lamp takes up a vertical third.

  • Contact details and a map are in the lower horizontal third.

  • The store name is on the third intersection at the top right and around the visual center.

  • The commercial for “Early Bird Sales” is around the right lower third intersection.

Draw the first flower

Exploring stars in InDesign gives you more detail about converting polygons into star shapes and is useful if you’ve never worked with the Polygon/Star tool in InDesign.

For this example of our first flower, we’ll start with a star.

Draw a star with 5 points

  1. Select polygon tool from the Shape drop-down menu in the tools.

  2. Double click polygon tool to open the Polygon Options dialog box.

  3. Set polygon to 5 sides and 60% gear

  4. Press and hold key Shift draw a star.

Turn star glasses into petals

  1. Select Convert Direction Point Tool in the “Pen” drop-down list in your tools. Click on an existing anchor point. Hold down the mouse button. Handles appear for that anchor point. If you now drag the mouse, you can modify an already existing curve. If the handle is already visible, clicking and dragging the handle itself will also modify the existing curve.

  2. Use the InDesign Pen Tool and hold on the anchor point at the end of the top point of your star.

  3. Drag the cursor to the left and you will see your dot turn into a rounded petal.

  4. Repeat for the other four points on your star

  5. To align the petals after converting the 5 anchor points, use the tool Convert Direction Point or Direct selection (white arrow in the tools) to disable markers. each curve and drag them in or out until you like the look of your flower.

Give your flower a good plan

  • Make a copy of your flower and set it aside (for making a second flower)

  • Select the line color of your choice

  • Make the move thicker (5-10 points)

Refine your flower

  • Open panel to succeed F10

  • Change the Connection option to Round connection (it looks good in the inside corners)

Draw the second flower

Our second flower also started out as Polygon/Star, but we are going to save time by using a copy of our first flower.

  1. Start with the first flower † Take that copy you made of your first flower before adding the stroke. You may want to make one or two more copies in case you screw things up.
  2. Curve the inside corners. Use conversion towards point t on the five inner anchor points of your flower.
  3. Stretching Petals .Use tools Direct selection to push the outer anchor points away from the center, extending each of your petals.
  4. Refine your flower. Use the tool Direct selection to grab the handles of one of your curves to fatten the outer ends of your petals and make the inner parts of the petals thinner and get all the petals more or less the same size.
  5. Complete your flower. If you like the look of your flower, paint it however you like.

draw ball

You can make your balloon any shape you want and you can start with any shape. Here’s one way to do it.

  1. Create a first form. Draw a 6-sided polygon.
  2. Change the shape. Use the tool Convert Direction Point on some or all anchor points by dragging the polygon into any shape you want.
  3. Colored drop. Fill the drop with the color of your choice.

lamp drawing

Three shapes make up our lamp. We will add “lava” on the next page.

  1. Make a lamp shape. Draw a long 6-sided polygon.
  2. Replace bulb. With a tool Direct selection select the two middle anchor points and drag them down until your polygon looks like the shape in image #2.
  3. Add a cap shape. Draw a rectangle on top of the lamp for the shade.
  4. Change cover. Select the two bottom anchor points (one at a time) with the tool Direct selection and stretch them a bit until they look like picture #4.
  5. Add a basic shape. Draw another 6-sided polygon at the bottom of the lamp for the base, with the top edge directly on or below the center anchor points you moved in Step 2.
  6. Change base. Pull out the top and bottom anchors on one side of the base until they cover the lamp. Drag the center anchor inward as shown. Repeat on the other side of the polygon.
  7. Color the bulb. Fill the lamp, lid and base with the desired colours.

Drawing lava in a lamp

Add lava to your lava lamp with the tool Ellipse shape

  1. Drawing lava. Draw some random round/oval shapes with the Ellipse Shape Tool, overlapping a small and large pair in the center of the bulb.
  2. Make a double ball. Select two overlapping shapes and select Object > Navigator > Add to turn them into one shape.
  3. Fine tuning of the double ball. Use the tools Convert Direction Point and Direct selection to change the turns until you get what looks like a big ball. split into two parts.
  4. Color the lava. Fill in the lava shapes with the desired color.
  5. Move the lava. Select the lamp cover and base and bring them forward: Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift + Control +]) to cover the lava drops that overlap the lid and base.

Draw a simple map

We don’t need a complicated city map for our advertising. Something simple and stylized works great.

  1. Draw roads.

    1. Draw a long, thin rectangle to represent the road.

    2. Make multiple copies and use Transform > Rotate to organize them according to need.

    3. For the most part, you can skip the bends and small zigzags in the road. If there is a significant curve in the road, work the rectangle into a curve.

    4. Select all your roads then go to Object > Navigator > Add to turn them into one object.

  2. Confirm a card. Place a rectangle over the roads, covering only the part you want to use for your map.
  3. Make a map. Select roads and rectangle and go to Object > Pathfinder > Min Back

To complete your map, add a rectangle to represent your destination and highlight major roads.

mounting illustration

We don’t need to do much more with our lava lamp, drop and card than just put them in place. But our flowers require a few more manipulations.

  • Take each flower and make multiple copies.

  • Scale, rotate and change the fill/stroke colors as desired.

  • Choose two or three flower shapes and apply some feathers ( Object > Effects > Base Feathers

Groovy! Our 60s-style illustration is complete and you’ve done it all in Adobe InDesign. Just add text to complete our Bell Bottom Thrift ad.

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