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Creating & Applying Brushes to Artwork in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 28 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

Creating & Applying Brushes to Artwork in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 28 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

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Lesson Info

28. Creating & Applying Brushes to Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is Adobe Illustrator?


Explore the Interface


Create and Save New Documents


Zoom and Navigate


Working with Artboards


Introduction to Layers


Rulers and Guides


Shapes and Drawing


Aligning and Combining Shapes


Pen Tool


Manipulating Stroke and Fill


Creating and Editing with Color


Painting with Gradients


Getting Started with Patterns


Adding Text To Your Document


Formatting Text


Strokes and Variable Strokes in Adobe Illustrator


Rotating Objects in Adobe Illustrator


Effects and the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Adding Photo Images in Adobe Illustrator


Working with Linked Content in Adobe Illustrator


Packaging your Project for Handoff in Adobe Illustrator


Best Formats to Save Your Files


Select Like a Pro: Layers, Groups, & Other Unique Tools


Edit Paths Like a Pro in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Creating & Applying Brushes to Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Knife & Scissor Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Join Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Isolation Mode in Adobe® Illustrator®


Pen Tool Shortcuts in Adobe Illustrator


Other Drawing Tools & Methods in Adobe Illustrator


Transforming Techniques in Adobe Illustrator


Shortcut to Reflecting Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Get to Know Your Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Exploring Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Work Smarter with Graphic Styles in Adobe Illustrator


Color Inspiration in Adobe Illustrator


Type Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Masking Your Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Creative® Cloud® Libraries in Adobe® Illustrator®


Capture Artwork with Creative Cloud Apps & Adobe Illustrator


Tracing Raster Images in Adobe Illustrator


Blending Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Symbols in Adobe Illustrator


Using a Perspective Grid in Adobe Illustrator


Crash Recovery in Adobe Illustrator


GPU Performance in Adobe Illustrator


Curvature Tool in Adobe Illustrator


App Integration in Adobe Illustrator


Creative Cloud Libraries in Adobe Illustrator App


Shaper Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Smart Guides in Adobe Illustrator


Text Enhancements in Adobe Illustrator


SVG Export in Adobe Illustrator


Lesson Info

Creating & Applying Brushes to Artwork in Adobe Illustrator

Okay, so, now what we're gonna do is we're gonna talk a little bit about working with some other features out here. I wanna talk about, in particular, working with brushes. Brushes are something that I use, mine are a little more mechanical, but with brushes you can create artistic effects, do all kinds of things. It's like painting with a brush, okay. You can do calligraphy with it. You can paint, almost, water color effects, do different things like that. The thing that I wanna remind everybody is that when we do this, we're actually creating vector artwork. It's gonna look like it's paint, but it's actually paths we're creating. Okay, when we do this kind of thing. Make sure that your artboard is fit into the window and mine's got a little wonky. So, I'm gonna choose View, Fit Artboard in Window. And I'm gonna hide my Swatches panel for just one second. Come over here and come to the Blob Brush Tool. Come to the Blob Brush Tool and choose or select the Paintbrush Tool. You might sti...

ll see the Paintbrush Tool out there. I don't know. There we go. Go ahead and select the Paintbrush Tool. Now, we're about to work with brushes. Brushes are, like I already said, they're kind of a way to be artistic, but you don't have to paint with them. You can take a brush and apply it to anything. I could apply it to a square that I created. I could apply a brush to that backpack. It doesn't really matter. Using the paintbrush, using a brush, kinda seems to fit, but you don't have to do this. Okay, you don't have to creates these this way. You'll see in a second what I mean. With the Paintbrush Tool selected, what we're gonna do first is we're gonna select a brush. Come over to the right, there's a couple places to find this, but one of the big places is the Brushes panel on the right hand side over here. So, click on the Brushes panel icon and you'll open it up. I'm gonna zoom in a bit. Now, the Brushes panel, if you wanna make it a little taller you can grab the bottom down here, little gripper. Pull it down. You're gonna see, this is actually kinda big, but-- You're gonna see that we have a lot of different types of brushes to work with. There are about, I think it's, let me just double check here real quick. One, two, three, four, five, yep. There are five different types of brushes we can create in Illustrator. We can create a calligraphy brush. We can create a scatter brush. We can create an art brush. We can create a pattern brush. And we can create a bristle brush, it's called. If you look right up at the top, these are calligraphy brushes. So it's like working with pan ink, that kind a thing, calligraphy, et cetera. As a matter of fact, why don't you choose 5 pt. Oval. Just click on the brush to select it. Come out here to your artwork, to the artboard a little bit. And just make a little path. Just draw a little swooshy swoo thing. And take a look, that's a brush that's painting, okay. Now, I tried this before. I was like, you know what, I'm gonna take my brush and I'm gonna fill in an area of color. Okay, brush, you're painting, right? So, what I could do, what you could do too, is if you come up to Stroke, the Stroke also effects the size of the brush that you're working on, okay. So, if I come up here to Stroke, what I can do is choose a Stroke, let's say maybe 10 pt or something like that. And If I go out here I can click and drag and you guys can see how it effects the actual path, alright. So, we've got that right there. Now, as I go out and I start to do this, watch up here for one second. I'm just gonna kinda paint in a little bit. I'm like, I'm painting, I'm painting, I'm painting. Okay, I'm gonna go to outline mode for just one second and show you what it's actually doing. They're paths. It's paths with a brush applied to them. So, just, we gotta keep that in mind, okay. Alright, so you can delete them just by hitting delete. You can do all kinds of things. Now, we have these calligraphy brushes we can work with, which are really great. You can also select a shape like a square or a circle and you could stroke it with a brush just by selecting a brush to apply it to it. You don't have to paint, like I said, with the paintbrush. We also have what are called art brushes. I love these things. If you look in the brushes panel you're gonna see this little sale banner. You're gonna see this little banner thing. You're gonna see this. You can take artwork that you draw or create or find and you can say let's make a brush out of it. Once you make a brush out of it it's called an artbrush. You can take that brush and you can actually, if you just watch for one second here, I can apply it to a path. Let me get rid of these. I can apply it to that path and it's gonna stretch it along the path to fit. There's some really cool things we can do with this. If you guys did draw something with the paintbrush you can go to the selection tool and select that path you created and just one of these other brushes to apply it. Take a look at what it does. So, we've got a lot of different types, okay. You're also gonna see the other kinda brush that I do wanna just mention. There's some weirdness here, but-- Do you see this little fan brush? And it says, like, 6.00. Does everybody see that one? Okay, this is called a bristle brush, if you every see a brush that has this little fan to the left there. Why don't you go on and click on it to apply it. You're gonna see that this is painting. Actually, a little bit more realistic painting, sort of like a watercolor. Okay, this is called a bristle brush. These were introduced lots of versions back. They added a bunch of different kinds of brushes. The last kind of brush we can work with, that I'm gonna mention, is a Pattern Brush. And these are my favorite. If you scroll all the way down in the Brushes panel you're gonna see the zipper down there. Why don't you go ahead and click on that. If you have a path selected click on that to apply it. And take a look. These are awesome. You can take artwork that you create and you can stretch it along and you can decide or determine what you wanna repeat, what's gonna be on the ends of the path, how it's gonna work. You can do everything you want with it. So what I did was I drew these little shapes and I just said hey let's make a pattern out of it, pattern brush. And it kinda did it for me, it's pretty cool. I know a lot of people that work in garment industries, fashion, all that kinda thing. When they're trying to mock up different things like store plaqueards and all that kinda thing, they'll create these types of things. Because if you wanna create a series of buttons, for instance, I'm not gonna draw every button by itself. So, we can create a pattern like this and simply draw a line and have the buttons show up on the line, or a zipper or anything we want. So, these are pretty great. We are actually gonna go and create that zipper brush. I'm gonna show you how this works. Take that path that you created and just go ahead and delete it. Get rid of it. Just hit delete. And what I wanna do is just create a straight line, okay. I'm gonna create a line straight across. Come over to the Line Segment Tool, over here, and go ahead and select it. What I want you to do is we're gonna create a straight line right down here towards the bottom. Press the shift key so we can draw a straight line. Click and drag and just make it about yea big. Now let go, let go of your mouse and then the shift key, don't forget. Just make it about this big. It doesn't matter, we can change the size. Alright, go ahead and deselect it, if you wouldn't mind. I'm gonna go to my selection tool. Now in order for us to make a brush if we wanna make ourselves a pattern brush or an artbrush, either one of those two, we have to have something created. You have to have some artwork to use, okay. So, I've actually go this zipper artwork that we're gonna use. We need to open this file to get at it though. So let's go to File, Open and we're gonna open up the zipper parts. This little bit of artwork that we have here. So, come into the day two segmentary folder and you'll see, open that up. Alright, you might wanna fit that in the window if you can see the whole thing. Fit the artboard in the window. Now in here I've already created the brush and kinda set it up just so we can see it. What happens when you create brushes is they only live in that document that you're in at that moment, okay. We can move 'em to other documents, but it's a little harder. You're gonna see the pieces right down here for the zipper. What I wanna do is I wanna select these pieces and copy them into our document so we can use 'em. So, go ahead and drag across these pieces. Select them, go ahead and copy 'em. Go back over to the Backpack-start. We've got a lot of files open now, I know. Kinda gettin' hard to find. And why don't you just paste, go ahead and paste. I'm gonna tell you right now that when you paste in Illustrator like other programs it pastes in the center of the document window. So, if you decide that you wanted that zipper content to be pasted down here, for instance, you could use, maybe, the hand tool and if you put that towards the center of the document window and you paste, it will go down there. That's like one of the only ways I know how to do it. So, we got the shapes out there. Now we're gonna create a pattern. So, what I wanna do is this, we're gonna take each one of these and we're gonna use them as part of the pattern brush. So, why don't you do this. Take these little-- I know it's hard to see, I'm sorry, let me zoom in. You're gonna see these two little weird things here. These are the teeth of the zipper, okay. Why don't you select those? If you need to zoom in go ahead, but I'm gonna select those. Now when we create a pattern brush we wanna have some artwork selected. It's gonna say we're gonna make the pattern out of that. Okay, come over to the Brushes panel and then you're gonna see down at the bottom we can create a new brush by clicking on New Brush. So, with the artwork selected, click New Brush down there. Now it's gonna say what kind do you wanna make? And this is where we could go a little crazy. I just wanna simply say we're gonna make a Pattern Brush. So, we're gonna repeat this thing along a path or along a shape, along a stroke. Click okay, Pattern Brush. Now, this dialog box is a little bit of an animal. Okay, there's a lot going on. We're not gonna have to touch most of the stuff in here. I will be perfectly honest with you. It's very specific to things you wanna do. Look down here. Can you guys see the preview down here? I mean we're pretty much done. We've just created a run of zipper. All I wanna do right now is we're gonna go up to Name and call it like My Zipper, or something. That's like the lamest name ever, but you can call it that. Click okay. Take a look in your Brushes panel and you'll see that it's now there. And you'll notice that there are these little lines in there, depending on how you're looking at it. Each one of these represents part of the pattern, okay, or the brush. And I'll talk about that in a second. So, what I wanna do now is go ahead an select your path. Just click on your path up there and we're gonna apply that brush. So, come to the Brushes panel and just click on it and you should see it happen. We've got our pattern. I just, I mean, the thing I love about this is there are so many things you can do with it, so many things you can do with pattern brushes. I mean, I can't even tell ya, there have been so many times where I create something, even a matter of like three objects and I'll just make some kinda brush out of it really quickly. Cause you don't wanna have to create all these different objects out there and keep them in line and figure out the distance and all that kinda thing. There's a lot of ways we can work with these. Now if we had a path or a shape like this and let's suppose I went-- Just watch for a second. I went to my curvature tool here and I'm like oh, let's create a curve. It's gonna do exactly the same thing if I applied it. It's just gonna follow the curve for me. Now, what I wanna do is I wanna go in and we need to add the beginning and the end of the zipper. Okay, so we gotta have the little pull thing and then does anyone know what this thing's called? I'll just call it the end. Okay, that's the other end of the zipper. So, we're gonna use these two now. Now, we've already created the brush. To get these two in there we're actually gonna take those little shapes and we're gonna turn them into swatches. We're gonna save 'em as a little pattern swatch. It's kinda weird. It's really easy, it's harder than it sounds. So, do this for me, if you wanna create a pattern that has more than one artwork or piece of artwork in it you're gonna wind up saving some of the artwork as swatches. Just watch for one second, okay. I'm gonna select, let's say the zipper end here, the pull. And I'm gonna drag that end to the swatches and let go. I'm gonna do the same thing to the other end. Select it, drag it in. You guys, this is actually another way to make a pattern swatch. That's pretty easy. So, why don't you try that. So, go ahead and select this artwork, drag it right in there. If you drag it in to the middle of the colors it'll stick it in the middle. I'm trying to drag it towards the bottom of the colors. You'll see a little blue line show up and it'll show you where it's going. Alright, now once it gets in there we're gonna apply it to the actual brush. Hopefully everybody, you got those in there. Go back over to the Brushes panel, once you drag 'em in, and now we need to edit that pattern brush. So, come to that new, the My Zipper brush right there and double click on it. So, any brush you create, for the most part, you can come in here and double click to edit it. So, double click the brush and you should see the pattern brush options. I just did something that I told myself I would never do again in my life. I've done this a billion times. Move the dialogue out of the way, this big box out of the way, you can grab it by the title. Look at my zipper end out here. Because I still had the artwork selected by double clicking a pattern brush I applied it to the artwork that was there. That stinks, I do that all the time, anyway. Should be a rookie mistake, but I do it every day. Okay, so if you're look in here, forget that. You're gonna see right in here the big things that we wanna look at. We wanna look at what's called the beginning or the Start Tile. These little tiles just tell it where the artwork is gonna go when it creates a pattern. You have the Start Tile and you have the End Tile. So, it's basically the start of the line and the end of the line, in our case. So, come to the Start Tile here and just click on the arrow and what we do, this is really cool, it actually shows the Swatches panel, but only the pattern swatches in there. So, if you take a look in there and just scroll down, you're gonna see there's some. There it is right there. Would this be the pull end or the-- Eh who cares, I don't work in fashion. Alright, go ahead and choose New Pattern-- Choose your pattern swatch that looks like the zipper pull. Let's do that. And then let's go to the other end and let's pick on the other one. And look at the preview down there and you'll see what it does. Alright, you could take this so far. You could really kinda create some different things. If you applied this zipper to a box, like a rectangle, you can even decide what goes on the corner, inside and outside. Right now, take a look right here, you're gonna see this is called the outside corner right here, or the outer corner. If you click on that arrow what Illustrator does is it actually generates the corners for you automatically. It's done this for a bunch of versions now, but it creates one. If you don't like what it did, like these are kinda funky, but I'll just do Auto-Overlap. I like that one best, it's simple, okay. And that's what it's gonna look like. So, if you look at the corners, eh whatever. We can even make our own artwork if we want to and make it and put it in the Swatches panel and choose it from there, if we wanna do it that way too. But this is kind of a simpler way to get it done. There's a lot of things you can do in here. A lot of things, if you decide that you think your zipper's too small, instead of making the artwork bigger for instance, I already made the zipper so you can come right here and go to what's called Scale. Right up here. You can make it smaller or you can make it bigger if you want to and scale it based on-- Now it's not showing it down there, but it's gonna scale it on the path and make a big zipper or a small zipper, a lot of run let's say. You can even change the spacing here if you want to. So, I can go in and change the spacing between. Now, this is actually gonna show you this if you take a look. So, I can-- The spacing effects usually the run or the side. Okay, so I can adjust the spacing. What I'm doing here is I'm clicking on the word Spacing and I'm actually using my arrow keys and my shift + arrow to be able to change that. Yeah, that's fine. Alright, that's pretty good. There are tons of settings in here. I don't wanna go nuts. Your mind goes numb after a while, but let's just click okay. Go ahead and click okay. This is the kicker right here. It's telling you right now that that brush is applied to something out there. Do you want to apply the new brush to the path that you already have or to the object you have? Click Apply to Strokes and it will. And there we go, we have our zipper. That's cool. Yeah, pattern brushes are amazing. There's tons of stuff you can do with these. So, tell you what, why don't we do this. I'm gonna zoom out again so we can see everything. Let's take our zipper and we're gonna drag it onto the backpack. So, drag it up here on the backpack. We can take the line, if we want to, and make it a little bit shorter, to fit. Now, the other thing about these patterns and the brushes and everything you're working with as far as brushes. They are tied to the stroke weight of the object that they're applied to. So, if you look up at Stroke up there. If you want to you can make that stroke weight smaller and the zipper will get smaller. So, we go to like 0.5, zipper will get smaller. So, if I go to like a stroke weight of like six, look out. Alright, so go to 0.5 and we got it. That's a good zipper, nice. And of course, you know, there are ways to be able to go in and kinda color it. If you color the original artwork before you make the brush or after, you can do that too. So, I could have made it, maybe, blue or something to match or whatever I wanted, you know. But we now have that zipper brush. Why don't you take the original artwork, we do not need this anymore, what we pasted in. Go ahead and select it and just delete it. And we gotta rush, cool. Go ahead and save the file. Come to File, Save, so we've got that there.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Project Files Part 1
Project Files Part 2

Ratings and Reviews


I am a pretty computer literate person but an Ai beginner i.e. I am completely new to the Creative Cloud/Adobe Illustrator. (This is also the first time I've used CreativeLive.) I think this course it is fantastic. The pace is good as is the content which progressed logically and covers all the basics you'd hope it would. The course is 2 full days' worth of material but it is broken down into segments so you can revisit or skip through as you need to. The presenter is really personable and easy to watch (even for me, a Londoner!). I would also say I think it is pretty good value for money -- I am currently enrolled on a part time course, basically doing the same sort of stuff, and I have to say this is better and a bit cheaper! I definitely recommend it to you!


A brilliantly designed course. it's almost magic. It's everything you hope for in a follow-along software class. Brian Wood has engineered it so that you start on a project that just needs basics, and then you move on to more & more complicated projects, and almost without realizing it you've learned Illustrator. This doesn't just happen -- Wood has clearly put a LOT of effort into creating this course. Here's one trivial example: he doesn't overload you with a lot of keyboard shortcuts right at the beginning -- you start with the actions themselves, using the (admittedly tedious but easy) pulldown menus, and then after you're comfortable with what you're doing, he'll throw in the shortcut. It may seem obvious, but so many instructors feel they have to give you an extensive foundation of definitions, shortcuts, interfaces, etc., before you ever do anything. Good stuff to know, but you'll never remember it. Wood has you up and working almost immediately. And he's a joy to listen to, at a perfect pace. Highly recommended.

Philippe LIENARD

Top course. Very well explained, clear, good examples, pleasant teacher. I like it and recommend it. One suggestion, it would be nice to have a detailed table of content of the course in the material. For instance, it took me quite a while to find back the part of the course where how to make a gear was explained.

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