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Illustrator Wrinkle tool tutorial

wrinkle tool in Illustrator

Wrinkle tool / brush in Illustrator and how to use it tutorial in CC 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc to deform paths The Illustrator wrinkle tool / brush is a powerful tool to manipulate and warp and deform Illustrator paths. The wrinkle tool can be found in the width tool section of the Illustrator toolbar. The wrinkle tool has a number of options to control the wrinkling effect such as modifying the wrinkle width / height / angle / horizontal wrinkle etc. The wrinkle tool in Illustrator CC CS6 CS5 etc can be used to manipulae closed paths, open paths, strokes, lines, type and paths. Double click the Illustrator wrinkle tool icon to see the options / settings available. To use the tool, simply apply over the paths. You can apply subtle wrinkle effects to the Illustrator paths. You can wrinkle the paths in a certain direction / angle in Illustrator. You can also use the wrinkle tool to create lots of points but no wrinkling. You can apply it multiple times. You can combine the tools effects with other deform of paths. The tutorial shows a number of features how to use the wrinkle tool and how to access the tool and how to use it to create unusual path deformations. The tutorial shows the different settings available for the wrinkle tool in Illustrator.

  1. Go to the width tool in Illustrator toolbar

  2. Select the wrinkle tool in that group

  3. Select a path in artboard (can be used with paths, closed and open, strokes, lines, type and much more).

  4. You can double click the wrinkle tool icon in the toolbar to display the options to be applied to the selected path.

  5. Apply the wrinkle tool to the selected path

Wrinkle tool options

wrinkle tool for Illustrator options

There are a lot of options to take in with the wrinkle tool such as

  1. width

  2. height

  3. angle

  4. intensity

  5. pressure

  6. horizontal wrinkle

  7. vertical wrinkle

  8. complexity

  9. detail

  10. brush affects anchor

  11. brush affects anchor in tangent

  12. brush affects anchor out tangent


Randomness with the wrinkle tool

wrinkle tool for Illustrator and vertical only

There is a lot of randomness with the wrinkle tool in Illustrator so if the setting is set to 100% you probably won't get 100% but perhaps something close (be nice if it was more like the brush tools with a range of settings and not just a setting


On the right, most of the settings have been set to emphasis vertical so you can see no wrinkling on the horizontal.


Anyway, just select the paths and then apply the wrinkle tool to the paths (or path) and the wrinkles will be added but the key thing to remember is that in many cases, a lot of points will be added especially if you set the complexity (great for a scribble like effect with the wrinkle tool especially mixed with angle) and also detail (great for just adding a lot of points especially to a localized area if you set the wrinkle settings low or zero and set a small brush size for the localized area (or the entire set of paths if you have a large brush size for the wrinkle tool)


To apply a vector wrinkle effect

  1. Select a path

  2. Go to the wrinkle tool in Illustrator

  3. Double click wrinkle tool in Illustrator for the options

  4. Set horizontal to 0%

  5. Set vertical to 100%

  6. complexity to 1

  7. detail to 2

  8. In and out tangent handles to ON

  9. Intensity 100%

  10. OK

  11. Apply wrinkle tool to path


Intensity of the wrinkle tool

Anyway, the wrinkle tool allows for you to add the effect either vertically or horizontal or a little in one direction and a lot in another (again, this is random for creating some interesting curved and wrinkled designs - odd that there appears to be no corner and smooth feature with this tool). You can also control the overall intensity of the brush effect via the size as well as intensity, for serious settings set it to 100% (but sadly no more, what is it with Illustrator that the settings rarely can go to 1000%) and if you wish to create only a subtle change with perhaps multiple re-applies then use a low setting of intensity and wrinkle option vertical and horizontal.


Generate lots of points but no wrinkle in Illustrator

If you want to use it just for adding points then set the wrinkle to 0 and set the complexity and detail to a little higher (5 and 2 etc to add a lot of points and complexity). The wrinkle tool does need the settings to be all set correctly for it to work so you may find that if you have no horizontal setting and all the lines are vertical then nothing much will happen.


The image shows a lot of points (but no wrinkling) and they have been then moved using the direct selection tool by selecting the individual points and then dragging them


  1. Select a path

  2. double click the wrinkle tool in Illustrator toolbar

  3. Horizontal to 0%

  4. Vertical to 0%

  5. Complexity to 5

  6. set all anchor to ON and tangents to OFF

  7. OK

  8. Apply wrinkle tool to segments


You will now see a number of points have been added but no wrinkle effect. To move the points, use direct selection tool


  1. De-select path

  2. Select anchor points using direct selection tool

  3. Move the points


Anchors and tangents

Another great feature of the wrinkle setting in Illustrator is that you can modify the anchor and tangent or anchor or tangent and so you can keep the lines or paths in the same place but the shape will radically change but all the anchors will be stuck in the same location. Likewise, the tangent can be set to off and the anchors can be made to move.


Wrinkle tool at an angle

wrinkle tool illustrator angle

You can also use the wrinkle tool / wrinkle brush setting 'angle' to change the angle of the anchors etc as well as the tangents (depending on the settings) to create lines going off approximately in 60 degrees or 30 degrees etc depending on the setting. Sometimes randomness in the angle kicks in and sometimes not. Again, I would love to see randomness with a little more control to the range of randomness also as well settings to the negative as well as just positive.


The wrinkle tool can modify Illustrator paths (closed or open) in many extreme ways to create some truly unusual shapes even from a basic path such as a circle or square and can also be used to wrinkle converted type as well as expanded symbols. It is much like the tweak filter but it comes with many additional features and it can be used like a transform tool as well. A very useful feature tucked away in the width tool section of the toolbar


The image on the right used the angle set to 60 degrees and horizontal set to 100% and vertical 0% and brush affects anchor points only - the wrinkle then generates an intense angled brush work with a basic path (in this case, a square)


  1. Create a path

  2. Go to the Illustrator wrinkle tool

  3. Double click

  4. Set the horizontal to 100% and vertical to 0%

  5. Set angle to 60

  6. Set anchor points ON only

  7. Set complexity to 10

  8. OK

  9. Hold over segments and keep holding for a while

  10. Move to another part of the path

Youtube tutorials on wrinkle tool in Illustrator

Illustrator wrinkle tool basics (youtube)

References and sources

1. Scale and shear and distort objects from Adobe



1. how to use the blob brush tool for amazing filled strokes

2. how to use the live line segment tool

3. Join tool in Illustrator for paths (as well as trimming)

4. Creating sphere designs using graphic styles

5. Using Illustrator brushes with type / text tutorial

6. Blend tool in Illustrator

7. Curvature tool in Illustrator for path / points manipulation