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During my life, I have felt an attraction towards Celtic culture and evidently its graphics designs have intrigued and fascinated me. Without fear of making a mistake, I think the Triquetra is one of the most recognized ones. Its definition in Wikipedia is:

Triquetra (/traɪˈkwɛtrə/; Latin tri- "three" and quetrus "cornered") originally meant "triangle" and was used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. It has come to refer exclusively to a particular more complicated shape formed of three vesicae piscis, sometimes with an added circle in or around it. Also known as a "trinity knot," the design is used as a religious symbol adapted from ancient Celtic images by Christianity. It is similar to Odin's symbol, the valknut.

Drawing this figure in Illustrator requires a certain level of skill, but with DynamicShapes, SubScribe and VectorScribe2 the task becomes easier.

You can download a 14 day trial of the plug-ins here:

Initial Guide

Using DynamicShapes, we draw a equilateral triangle with an external diameter of 2 inches.

The angle will be 0º, so it lays on one of its bases.


If you don’t have DynamicShapes you can download a demo versión for 14 days or use regular polygons in Illustrator.

We need to find the geometrical center of the figure. The correct form to do this is to draw a perpendicular line between every vertex of the figure and it’s opposite side. SubScribe allows us to do this in a blink of an eye. We use the “Line Perpendicular to Path” tool and draw a line from each vertex. (You can download SubScribe free at Astute Graphics website.)


Once we have located the geometrical center, we draw a circle that touches the center of each side of the triangle and that is inside itself. We click the “a” vertex, then we click and hold on “b” and move it without letting go towards point “c”. (See the Animation) We use Circle by 2 or 3 points tool (part of SubScribe).


For practical effects we convert this circle into a triangle. DynamicShapes makes the process easier: with the circle selected we chose “Convert to DynamicShape” in the options panel.


We convert the circle into a polygon by clicking on the panel and assign 3 sides on “Sides”


We select the objects and convert them into guides (View > Guides > Make Guides).


The structure we did before has as objective to establish the basic points for the Triquetra because we require 3 arcs that have a radius which should surpass 2 vertexes and the triangle intersections inside, with the bisectors of the external triangle.


Using “Arc by three points” of SubScribe we draw the necessary arcs, following this steps: click on point 1, click and hold on point 2, then locate the cursor on the intersection opposite to the side were we are working. (See figure).


We assign a thickness of 10 pts to each line and then we fuse the 3 arcs into a single figure using the command “Object > Path> Join”.



Once again with DynamicShapes we draw a circle with 2 inches of diameter, stroke 10 pts.


The next step is a little bit strange but it is vital when you need to simulate the intersection of the shapes. With the “Scissor” tool we cut the initial figure in the anchor points marked in the next figure:


Once we cut the figure we assign color that will help identify each different parts. In this case we use gray #999999 and orange # F7931E.


We convert the lines into shapes with the command “Object > Path> Outline Stroke”.


We assign a stroke color black of 2 pts to all the objects. (Note the central zone of the symbol).


We convert our figure into a “Line Paint Object”. (In my case I am using the tool “Live Paint Bucket”, but you can also activated in the menu “Object > Live Paint > Make”). This way we can paint the fills and the strokes of the object in an independent way. Live Paint converts the “paths” that intersect in independent zones to color.


To paint the fills we first double click over the tool “Live Paint Bucket” and in “Options”, we select only “Paint Fills”. We place the cursor over the areas we want to paint and when click on them it paints the color the cursor indicates.

You can navigate between colors in the “Swatches” panel using the right and left arrow keys to move between groups and the up and down arrow keys to change group. If you want to know more details about “Live Paint” I invite you to visit the “Never Stop Learning” site from our friend Sebastian Bleak here:



After painting the indicated areas (that simulate the interconnections of the shapes), it is time to “Fine Tune” the lines: once again we double click the tool “Live Paint”. This time we activate “Paint Strokes” (this way we make sure that only the strokes are being painted).


Start by painting with black with a thickness of 2 pts on the required areas. (Recommendation: See the image of the example so you do not skip any lines).


Next we Paint with “None” the lines that are not supposed to appear.



Even though it is a simple figure, when we apply “Outline Stroke” Illustrator adds unnecessary points that we remove with “Smart Remove Brush” (Part of VectorScribe)


As a final detail we can add a drop shadow effect with Stylism.


Stay tune for the next tutorial!