To make an insect symmetrical (the way Dr. Ashe likes them!) I use a
method comparable to the way tissue is traditionally used.
I decide where the center of my specimen is going to be and drag
a vertical guideline onto my drawing. I use the Scissor
Tool to cut all of the lines apart at that guideline (figure A).
• Select the lines on
one side of the guide and make them an alternate color.
• Select the other half of the drawing and make these lines a contrasting
color. • Make a new layer (with this second set of lines still selected). •
Move the selection to the new layer. •
Flip these lines along the axis of the guideline using the Reflect
Tool (figure B). •
Lock both this layer and the layer containing the other half of your
Create another layer. This is where to use a black line to draw
over your two superimposed halves, finding the mean (figure C).
• Hide the
two layers with the colored lines.
• Select the remaining (black) lines.
• Copy them.
• Paste in Front (command-F).
• Once more, reflect the lines horizontally using the guideline as
axis (figure D).
b c d
In a separate Illustrator file
I use my other sketches as templates for drawing the legs, antennae, and
I copy the resulting drawings into the file I’ve done for the
Making the original full-body template visible again, I size and arrange
these parts on one half of the body (figure E). Once I have them
placed just so, I copy and reflect them over to the other side (figure
I find it works best in Photoshop (the next step) to select all
the finished lines and make them about 0.35 points in thickness.
The line drawing is now ready to be opened in Photoshop for finishing.