Did you know that those awesome giant lollipops that Cosmo Kramer was eating in the backwards episode of Seinfeld are real? And that they’re called whirly pops?
I was pretty young when I first saw that episode and I had no recollection of ever seeing those before. I called them The Kramer Lollipop. I’ve since remedied that sore spot in my childhood and attempted at least three of them. I can’t finish them and neither can my son. I’m not even a big fan of lollipops! Except visually- I think they’re so beautiful.
Rather than starting out summer with sugar comas and spending regrets I’ve been working hard in Illustrator. After a long day toiling away I laid crookedly across my bed and whirly pops came into my mind. Only instead of wanting one to eat, the entire process to draw them in illustrator flashed through my brain in an instant and I had to give it a shot. And it worked perfectly the first time! Do you know how rare?!
If you’d like to make your own, I’ll show you how : )
Part One: Creating Your Colorful Candy Brush
In a new file 360 px wide by 600 px high select the Rectangle Tool (image 1 below) and click inside your Artboard. In the popup dialog options set 50 px height and width for your rectangle. There are multiple options for the next step, but within my workflow the quickest way to accomplish it is to open the Appearance Panel (image 2 below). Create 5 copies and move them 60 px horizontally to the right.
From the top menu bar choose Object> Expand Appearance (image 1 below). Now select each square individually and change them to colors of your choosing.
Go back to your Rectangle tool and click inside your Artboard again. Create a new rectangle 360 px wide by 50 px high. Make this rectangle have a white fill and no stroke color. Right click on it and select Arrange> Send to Back. Drag it over so it aligns with the leftmost square. Select all of your rectangles/squares and click the Vertical Align Center option (image 3 below).
Keeping everything selected click Ctrl + G to group your shapes. Go to the top menu and use Object> Transform> Shear. 45 degrees horizontal (image 1 below). Ctrl + C and Ctrl + F to copy the group in front. Move the second group over and zoom in close to line them up just right. If you need to realign the tops, just use that Vertical Align Center button again! See images 2 and 3 below to see how I inched that gap closed at a ridiculously close zoom.
Using the Rectangle tool we’ll create another with the same dimensions as the last (image 1 below). With the new rectangle and the two groups selected align them vertically top, bottom, center- it shouldn’t matter, just pick one (image 2 below). Now with the new rectangle in the front go to the Pathfinder window (Windows> Pathfinder if it isn’t open) and select ‘Crop’ (image 3 below). As long as everything was arranged and aligned as in image 3, your results should look like image 4 below. Your brush is all designed!
Now drag and drop your rectangles into the Brushes window (Window> Brushes if it isn’t open). In the popup choose ‘New Pattern Brush’. That’s pretty much it! Your brush is made. Just click ok, defaults should be just fine. After this I double-clicked my working layer in the Layer’s window (Window> Layers) and simply named it Brush. I didn’t want to delete all of that work! I just lock it up and make it invisible.
Part Two: Creating Your Whirly Pop
Using your Polar Grid Tool (hiding behind the line segment tool), click inside your artboard. In the popup use the settings I’ve shown in image 2. Click OK and we’ll have five perfect circles. Give them a stroke color but no fill.
Use your Direct Selection tool to remove the right anchor point from your circles. You should now have 6 stacked C shapes.
Copy all these guys and paste in front. Keep them selected and use the bounding box, holding shift, to rotate them 180 degrees (image 1 below). Move them over until they line up with the edge of the first group but moved down by one circle’s width (image 2 below). Using your Direct Selection tool select the top tail and start following the spiral in, holding shift and adding each next segment to your selection until you get to the center of that spiral (image 4). Click delete. You should be left with just the opposite spiral. (image 5)
We’re almost to the fun part! Now we simply want to use our direct selection tool to join all of the segments making up our spiral. First, with all of them selected, press Ctrl+Shift+G to ungroup, then press Ctrl+G to group again. Check your Layers Window if you get an error. To join them they cannot be in different groups. Use the direct selection tool to drag around the areas where our line segments meet (image 1 below). Ctrl + J to join. Click OK in the popup. Follow your spiral around as before and each time you see that the path isn’t highlighted, drag around the end of your selected path and the next part that is not active. Join. You’ll end up with one path (image 2 below).
MAKE IT ALL COME TOGETHER! It’ll look like a lollipop!
With your path selected, click your brush in the Brushes Window (image 1 below). Zoom in close (image 2) and adjust your innermost anchor point until you have it whereabouts you want it. Depending on whether you used the top or bottom-starting spiral you may want to go into your brush’s settings (double click it in the Brushes window) and choose ‘Flip Along’. Try this if you find the center of your lollipop is overlapping the portion outside of it. This should send the inside end of your brush to the back of your spiral, hiding it from view.
Now we’ll add some depth.
Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F your lollipop. Open your Brushes drop down from the top and click ‘Remove Brush Stroke’. (Sometimes this is inactive/unclickable in the drop down. In this case please open the Brushes Window and use the same option at the bottom of that window.) Set your stroke weight to 50 px. Color to black. It should look like image 2 below. Now duplicate that path the same way, this time changing the stroke color to white and giving it a much lighter stroke, 8 px or so (image 3 below). Nudge it over a bit to create alternate light sources. I moved mine a bit to the right with my mouse arrow key. Select the black spiral and the white spiral. Alt + Ctrl + B. Boom! You should have what I have in image 4 below. If not go to Object> Blend> Make.
Play with blend modes to your heart’s content. Below I have Multiply at 100%. For the images in my header I used Multiply at lower opacities. Now we just need something to hold it up.
Using that rectangle tool one last time, create a long, skinny rectangle (light grey fill, no stroke) about 50% the width you think you’ll like for your lolly. Go to Effect> 3d > Revolve and use the settings shown in image 2 below. Click OK to apply. Right click on your stick and go to Arrange> Send To Bottom (image 3 below). Drag around all of your lollypop with the selection tool and drag and drop into the Symbols Window. Name it whatever you want and click OK. Now you can rotate and scale your whirly pop!
There are certainly other tutorials for this on the web, but I have not actually liked the results of any I’ve found. This method works very well for me and creates something a lot closer to what I’ve always wanted to make in Illustrator.
If you would like to add rounded ends to your candy stripe brush, start by creating a 50px x 50px ellipse using the first and last colors in your candy striping. Delete the side anchors for each depending on which end it will be on. Then, with your Brushes Window open, click your semi circles, hold the Alt key and drag your rounded end pieces (1 at a time) into the fourth and fifth squares for the brush you created. The left semi-circle should go in square 4, the right semi-circle in square 5. I didn’t like the round brush on the outside tip, and for the inside I found I still had to adjust the anchor point to get the gaps closed. I’m sure we could create the brush and then design an end piece that would exactly fit the empty space, but that seems like a lot of effort to achieve something we’ve already succeeded at : P
Have a terrific Tuesday!