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llustrator Wrinkle Tool Tutorial For Intense Distortion Of Paths Beginner's Guide

By Andrew Buckle, Video Tutorial Creator / Designer

Updated : 2021


Wrinkle tool / brush in Adobe Illustrator and learn how to use it tutorial to deform paths.


wrinkle tool in Adobe Illustrator how to use learn tutorialThe 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.

  1. Go to the width tool in Adobe Illustrator toolbar

  2. Select the wrinkle tool in that group (should be at the bottom of the tool 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

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 Adobe Illustrator 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 Adobe 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 Adobe Illustrator.


Wrinkle tool options - access them by double clicking the wrinkle tool icon

wrinkle tool for Adobe 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

Adding a little randomness with the wrinkle tool to any paths in Adobe Illustrator

wrinkle tool for Adobe Illustrator and vertical only

There is a lot of randomness with the wrinkle tool in Adobe 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 Adobe Illustrator

  3. Double click wrinkle tool in Adobe 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 - you can apply some extreme wrinkling or distortion or just very little

wrinkle tool and vertical

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.

  1. double click wrinkle tool in toolbar

  2. set width and height to 500px

  3. set intensity to 100%

  4. set detail high to add more points or low to have less points

  5. set complexity higher for more points (or lower for less)

  6. set vertical to 100%

  7. click OK

  8. apply wrinkle tool in Adobe Illustrator to a path

Open Paths

You can use the Wrinkle tool with open paths as well as closed paths. Just select an open path or create one with the curvature tool and then apply the wrinkle tool to that and you will end up with an intense wrinkled or crinkled line depending on the settings.



Generate lots of points but no wrinkle in Adobe Illustrator and those points can then be used with other tools in Adobe Illustrator to create amazing designs in seconds

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 Adobe 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 with the wrinkle tool - create different and unique designs by setting them on or off

Another great feature of the wrinkle setting in Adobe 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.

  1. To affect just the anchor points (and not the tangents)

  2. double click the wrinkle tool

  3. set the brush affects anchor points to ON

  4. brush affects tangents "in"and "out" to OFF

  5. click OK

  6. apply wrinkle


Wrinkle tool at an angle using the angle settings and horizontal - create intense cutting wrinkle designs in Adobe Illustrator

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