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Adobe Illustrator

Written by awakening

Part One

Hello everyone!

This tutorial is going to cover how you might go about using Illustrator to create some Circular Gallifreyan.  This isn’t the only way one might go about doing it, but it is a way that I’ve found to be easy enough and quite fun

The great thing about using Adobe Illustrator is that it’s a vector art program, meaning that once you’ve drawn your word or sentence in Circular, you can blow it up or shrink it to whatever size you want, and you won’t lose any detail.  It won’t pixelate.

This tutorial is the Illustrator equivalent of Rihays’ Paint.NET one.  We’ll be learning how to write the same thing:

"My name is [Insert Name Here]”.

I’m going to assume basic computer knowledge, but still teach in a simple way.

Getting Started

So, first things first, open up Illustrator, and create a new document.  I pop into the Web Profile in the New Document view, and grab a nice big 1280x800.  Again, as it is vector art, it probably doesn’t matter what size, but I just use this as it’s a nice big web banner size and easy to work with.  It’s familiar to me.

Hit OK to create your document.

Once the document is created, we can get started straight away.  I encourage opening up the Layers so that we can see what’s going on over there.  Hit F7 to bring that up, or click Window>Layers.  This is so that we can have a good naming structure in place so that we can clearly see what each shape is, without getting confused.

Let’s create our first word.  The first word will be "odadi”.

NOTE: This tutorial will not be covering how to understand and actually translate the Gallifreyan, simply how to write it in Illustrator with Circular.  There are plenty of resources for the former on the site.

So, grab the Ellipse tool by hitting (L) on the keyboard, and then drag out a circle on the canvas, while holding Shift to make sure that the proportions are correct.  You can make it around 170px in width and height (if your canvas is 1280x800), but again, just a rough recommendation.  Hit (V) to go back to Selection and make sure your circle is selected.

We’re now going to name our Layer.  Whatever you name it is up to you, but make sure you name it something meaningful so you can quickly understand it.  I named it odadi.

Next, we want to make sure our circle is empty.  With the circle still selected, go to the top of your viewport and find the Stroke and Fill options.

Set your stroke weight to 2 pt, make sure your Stroke itself is black and that your fill is nothing (this will simply have a red line through it.  It’ll look like this.

All of our circles and letters will have a black stroke and empty fill.  We will be manipulating the Stroke weight however.

Now that the weight of our first circle is set, let’s zoom up on it and begin adding the letters.

Ctrl,+ to zoom in, Ctrl,- to zoom out.

Our first letter is O, so add the circle, by again selecting the Ellipse tool and dragging a circle.  Keep in mind to hold shift when looking for a perfect circle to maintain the proportions.

Now we’ll want to add two dots inside the circle.  We do this the same way; add a circle inside the circle we’ve just created.  Now, remember how we set the fill to nothing and the stroke to black just above?  Do that again, but flip it, so that there is no stroke, but there is a solid black fill.

Select the dot, Ctrl,C and then Ctrl,V to Copy/Paste the Dot.  Move them both into place.  You can use the arrow keys to move the dots more finely.

It should now look a bit like this.

Make sure to keep naming all of your layers.  I’ve named my dots inside the circle "Dot” and the circle representing my first letter, O aptly "O”.  The outer circle representing the whole word is "wordcircle”.

Next letter.  D.  This is a little more involved.  Grab the ellipse tool again and create an ellipse on the side, this time without holding shift.

It looks a bit odd, but what we have to do next is erase the rest of the ellipse, the bits we don’t need.

I have found the easiest and cleanest way to do this in Illustrator is to use the Scissors tool.  First of all, use the Selection tool (V) to grab the circle you want to chop first.  I’m going to chop the elongated ellipse first.  Select it, then hit (C) to grab the Scissors tool.

With the Scissor tool, we click any point we want to cut.  In this case, we want to click on two points, where the circles intersect.  When you hover over the circle, Illustrator should tell you when you’re on the exact intersection.  Click to create a cut.  Do the same for the other intersection.

Now we have two separate paths.

Hit the (V) key and select the outer part of the circle, the part we want to remove.  Then press Delete.  You’re left with this.

Now select the bigger circle, and chop at the intersection again.  Delete the part you don’t want to get this.

Great!  Now select the dots and copy/paste them into place to create the dots for the "D”.

So far our word looks like this:

Next we have to create "a”.  It’s very easy, create another circle or just copy and paste your other little circle and place/scale it how you want it.  It must sit outside the word circle.

Easy.  Except, this letter is meant to have lines on it, right?  Never mind, we’ll come back to that once we’ve finished the sentence.  It’ll be easier that way.

Next we add another D.  You remember how to do that, right?  Refer to just above if you’ve forgotten or need a refresher.

Our last letter is "i”, which is just represented by a small circle outside the word circle.  Copy and paste the circle we used for "a” and paste it.

First word done!  Except for the lines from the "a”, but we’ll come back to that.  Looks good, yeah?

Make sure you’re saving regularly!  You’d hate to lose all this hard work.

On to the next word, "ɪmɪl”!

Our Second Word

Now we need to start a whole new word circle, so create a new layer in the Layer view, making sure it isn’t a child of our parent "odadi” word layer.

Name it something meaningful.  I’ll just write "my”.

Now create your circle for the word.  This word is only 4 letters long, so it can be pretty small, probably about the same or a touch smaller than "odadi”.  I’ve drawn mine at 160x160 px.

Hide the odadi layer to make sure you don’t accidentally select anything there, and make sure your "my” layer is selected.  As this word is only four letters, we can easily have each letter spaced evenly around the circle, quartering it.

The first letter is ɪ. We created a letter similar to this in odadi, it was "o”.  Unhide odadi and copy/paste our circle with dots in it.  Now, this will have copy/pasted them into the odadi layer, so you need to find the 3 layers in that parent, and then drag them over to the "my” parent layer.

When selected, these layers should now appear red on the canvas.

Our 3rd letter in this word is also ɪ, so we can copy paste again from the "my” layer to the top of the word to end up with our letters already in place.  We’re now halfway done with this word.  Wasn’t that easy? :D

Our 2nd letter is "m”.  Easy enough, just drag out the circle, and as with the "a” from earlier, we’ll worry about the lines later.

Next is the "l”.  Using the same concepts as before, we need to create an indent into our word circle.  Drag out the ellipse and then use the Scissor tool to chop it.

However, what we have created is not the correct letter.

To do this, we need to duplicate the shape we have just created.  So select it, then in the layer view, drag the layer onto the little New Layer icon to duplicate it.

Then, select one of the layers, and move it to the right.  However, now there’ll be gaps where the path doesn’t meet, so using the Select tool, you can stretch it out so that it meets the circle.

You’ll end up with something like this:


That is part one of this tutorial completed.

What we have so far looks like this:

I hope you have learned a lot so far!  Make sure you save your work, take a nice healthy break, and come back for part two ready to complete our sentence!

See you then!

Part Two

Welcome back to part two of our tutorial about writing circular gallifreyan!  We’ve created just about half of our first sentence, more or less, and now it’s time to move on to the next word, the biggest word in the sentence.


First of all, let’s create a new layer, and name it something meaningful so we know that it’s for this particular word.  I’m calling it "name”.

Now, this word is big.  Much bigger than the other words we’ve dealt with, so we need to create a much bigger circle.  Hit (L) to do so, making sure to hold Shift so as to maintain the proportions.

Once this is done, hide the other two layers so they don’t get in the way.

The first letter is "z”.  We know how to create this as we’ve done it before many times using the Ellipse and Scissors tools – do so.

Again, this letter is meant to have a line through it – we’ll come back to that.

Unhide one of the other layers and copy/paste one of the small circles into the "name” layer to create a small circle for us to use for the next letter, then do the same again for the letter after that.  This is the glottal stop, and it will need to have a line all the way through the middle of it to show that it is a half pie letter.  I think in this case, we can do the line after as well.

Next is the "s”, same as "l” but with three lines instead of just the two.

Nice!  It’s looking good.  Next, do the same for the "l”.

Now you ought to have a pretty good feel for how to do the rest of the letters, so just using the Alphabet book, go through and do the rest until you have something that looks a bit like this:

Of course, we still need to add lines to all of our words.  However, next, we need to do our names.  Obviously I cannot tell you how to do your own name, so using the alphabet book go ahead and do yours.

Altogether, my words look like this:

Select them and drag them into position so that they are exactly where you want them.

After you’ve done that, we drag two big circles around the words.

Change their stroke weight so that they are a little thicker.  This is preference, I just like having the outer circles bigger. 

Now that we have done all that, it is time to add those lines we kept saying we’d come back to.

This shouldn’t take long – just go through word by word and add the lines to each letter, using the alphabet book as reference.

Do these with the Line Segment tool, by hitting (\) on the keyboard.  Click once at the start point then drag to the endpoint.  Easy enough.  It’ll end up looking somewhat like this:

So there you have it!

That reads "My name is Joshua” in English, obviously you’ve have to change the last word so that it is your name.  If you need any help, feel free to ask any of the friendly moderators, admin Rihays, or myself for some help.


Josh (awakening)

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