Site Drawings

To draw many shapes abut or overlap each other in the same layer, for example, many mudbricks or stone are over each other. To give the impression that they are over each other, you do as following:

  • Figure out which over which.
  • Draw first the lower stone then the higher to the top, make the limit of stone under the stone above.

If you have for an example a layer of plaster over a layer of mudbrick, but in the same time part of the plaster goes into the mudbrick.

In Adobe Illustrator, either mudbrick over the plaster Or vice versa, but not in between.

If you have just one or two plaster areas, in this case, you might draw the limit of the plaster – which goes into the mudbrick- with the same limit of mudbrick, it gives an impression that plaster goes into the mudbrick.

Dash line:

Once you mark Dashed line, it gives the default value in Dash square of 12 pt,

Dash Gab Dash Gab Dash Gab

Dotted line:

Dash Gab Dash Gab Dash Gab

  Note: 1pt of the dash (represent the dot) should be the same value as the stroke weight, to give the shape of the dot.

e.g., If the stroke weight is 2 pt, the dot should be giving value 2 pt.


Dash Gab Dash Gab Dash Gab
12pt 6pt 1pt 6pt    

Note: normaly the Gab’s value should be the half of the Dash’s Value.  


Dash Gab Dash Gab Dash Gab
12pt 6pt 1pt 6pt 1 6


Dash Gab Dash Gab Dash Gab
12pt 6pt 12pt 6pt 1 6

Fill the shapes:

To fill the shapes with solid colors, use “Fill” tool from Tools Panel.

About using “Fill” and “Stoke” tools see:

To fill the shapes with special conventions e.g., damage, stones, mudbrick, sand ….. .

Adobe Illustrator has some swatches which are very useful to cover such those conventions.

About using “swatches” See:

Useful swatches for stones and mudbrick conventions:

  • Active “Swatches” Tool, Windows > Swatches
  • Go to “Open Swatches Library”> Gradiniats> stone and brick

Useful swatches for damage and other features:

  • Active “Swatches” Tool, Windows > Swatches
  • Go to “Open Swatches Library”> Pattrens> Basic Graphics >
    • Basic Graphics_Dotes
    • Or Basic Graphics_Lines
    • Or Basic Graphics_Textures

You can use whatever you see it covers your need.

Also there an option to create your own swatches and patterns:

About creating new swatches see:

Special swatches:

In plan drawings, you may need to use some conventions, such as slop area, step slop, and bedrock. All of them is just a repeated shape, so instead draw one by one, you may create a new brush with all repeated conventions.

Steep Slope convention :

Open Brushes panel: Window > Brushes Draw small triangle  – the side you are going to use in the drawing art board- with black fill. Hold it and drag into the Brushes panel.A new brush text box will be open.

In which you adjust step slop appearance, Mark preview box.Size: to control its size.Spacing: to control the spaces between the shapes.Scatter: to control its positions from the line, normally adjust it until aligning the base with the drawn line.Rotation: to control its orientation, normally leave its value as it is (0).Rotation relative to in this option you control the rotation of the shapes, there are two options, either with the Page or the Path, normally you choose the path.Then click OK.“Brush Change Alert” window will show up, then click “Apply to Strokes”.

  • From it, active “Scatter Brush”, then OK.
  • “Scatter Brush options” window will be open, should contain the triangle’s shape.
  • In the name of the brush write (Steep Slope), the OK. Now you should see the triangle shape in the Brushes panel, and if you appoint it with the mouse, should its name (Steep Slope) will show up.
  • Close it for now.
  • Now draw a simple line by using “pencil tool”, and let it active.
  • One click on the triangle shape in the Brushes panel. You will see the line you drew transferred to repeated triangles shape.
  • Double click on the triangle shape in the Brushes panel, “scatter Bruch Options” will show up.

Slope convention :

Open Bruches panel:

Window > Brushes

  • In the artboard, draw one slop convention shape as following:
    • Draw triangle – the same line step slope shape-.
    • From the upper corner, draw a straight line by using “Line Segment Tool” from Tools Panel.
  • Follow the same steps of the “Steep slope” but change the name to “Slope”.

You may when you aply this convention to the line or the shape you drawed, it’s applied to the obeset direction, in this case delete this line or shape and draw it again but in the other direction:

Anyway you may draw short line in the begging and aply that convention, and see the result, if it’sn’t the needed shape, then draw it in the other direction.

Those steps will result slope convention with same long slopping, but it is not always be like that, where some times long slopping sometimes short.

So to do that, do as following:

  • After you draw the needed shape of the slopping, draw another shape with stroke: None and white fill (or the same color of the backgraund of the slopping’s convention). As to cover the unneeded strokes .

One click out of the shape you see the right shape of the slopping shape.

Bedrock :

Open Bruches panel:

Window > Brushes

  • In the artboard, draw one ped rock convention shape as following:
    • Draw backslash  by using “Line Segment Tool” from Tools Panels.
  • Follow the same steps of the “Steep slope” but change the name to “bedrock”.


Sometimes not all the area are with the same slopping degree, in this case, you might add a new layer and draw shapes with “Pencil Tool” have an appearance of (Stroke: None and File: white) until you match the slopping lines with your actual drawing.

After you set each convention’s setting, you may need to save them as brushes, to do that, do as following:

  • In the Bruches Panel, delete all brushes except those you created:

Choose the brush.Click the recicle pen sign in the lower right corner > YesGo to “Save Brushes Library” in the upper right corner.Choose its name and location.Click Save.

You can do the same for the swathes as well, but not from “Bruches Panel” but from “Swatches Panel”, where you collect both the swatches you used from the Swatches Library and those you created in one swatches file

Cutted edges:

In plan drawings, sometimes feature was cut by one of the dashed line conventions, e.g., excavation limit, cut, … . in this case, if you made it as a closed polygon, the line in the dashed line will be sold line, which is not wanted. If it was drawn as an open polygon in the dashed line, the fill will not fit the whole area.

Do as following:

  • Cut the joined area with “scissors Tool” from Tools Panels.

Change the preformance of the cutted area in the joind area to dash line.

Create a scale:

In the beginning, it should standardize the scale design between the project’s owner and the Illustrator.

To draw Accurate scale, do as following:

Draw rectangular with “Rectangular Tool” from Tools Box, with an appearance of weight 1 cm high 0.2 cm from Transform Panel, fill: black, stroke: black.

Select that rectangular, then keep clicking of Alt bottom in the Keyboard with holding the mouse click then drag it. Make the mouse free. A copy of the rectangular shape will be done.

Repeat the last step three more times. You will have five rectangular shapes. Chose the second and fourth shapes by “Select Tool” and hold click shift Key in the Keyboard. Change the fill color from black to white. Make the edges of each two of the five shapes over each other. Note: to make sure that the edges are over each other, you have to zoom in until you see the edges clearly. Move left and right by using “Hand Tool” from Tools Box, to align the whole five shapes.

Select the whole five shapes. Open the Transform panel: Window > Transform > Align Then chose the “Vertical Align Center”. the whole five shapes will be in the same level. Now the five shapes should be at the same level and the edges of each two of them are over each other. While you are selecting all of them, right click on one of them and click “group”. To make them as one unit

From Tools box choose “Type Tool”. In the left area above the shapes, one click. Type 0 then click spaces until you reach the end of the shapes, then type 5 m (or the scale you are going to use).

Then select the text and the shapes by using “Select Tool” Right-click on one of them > group. Now you have a scale of five units, if you need a scale with ten units, you repeat the previous steps, but instead of drawing five shapes you draw ten shapes.

Once you finish the final shape of the scale, you may use it for several times, in this case you should save it as a symbol, as following:

  • Open Symbols Panel, Window > Symbols.
  • Hold the scale with “Selection Tool” and drag it into Symbols Panel.
  • Remove the other symbols, by doing the same steps of save swatches and burshes.
  • Save it as a symoles file with name of “Scale”.

Always measure the scale of the drawing with the largest possible known distance and then divide into units or match up the pre-fashioned scales (from the file). Do this because hand-drawn 1:10 or 1:20 scales can be off just a small amount that will multiply for the 5-m-long scale. So, measure out 5 meters (the width of a square or a profile, usually) and then size the scale accordingly (Copy and place the horizontal scale from the file and stretch it horizontally until its length matches the length of the profile or side of the square. For profiles, you will then match up the vertical elevation scales to the horizontal scale to make sure they are the same by rotating them and checking at a higher percentage of zoom).

Also, when creating the elevation scales for profiles, use the datum line provided by the artist and then place the elevation scale accordingly (use the rulers in Illustrator to measure out the distance between the tick marks).

North Arrow:

One of the needed items in the plans drawing is the North Arrow.

to draw it.

Draw a vertical line using either of three options:

By using “Line Segment Tool” from down to up with holding the shift key on the Keyboard.Open Arrows Panel, Window > Brushes > Open Brushes library > Arrows > Arrows Special (or _ Standard).Chose the arrow shape you like.Then one click.

after drawing the vertical line. Active Stroke Panel.From Arrowheads, choose the suitable head (to apply the start and end points) arrow shape you want.

  • you can draw your own design by using “Pen Tool” from Tools box.

After you finish drawing the vertical line through any of previos methods

  • Draw small horizontal stroke in the middle of the vertical line.
  • Choose both of them, right click, from the drop menu choose “Group”.

Map or plan legend:

Normally the legend is being in One layer, which is not Recommended.

It is better to make its text in the text layer.

Each conversation’s square should be put in its layer. So in case, you changed the convention’s appearance, you don’t need to change it in the legend because it’s in another layer.