Home / Articles / Adobe Dreamweaver / Mastering Vector Design: Drawing with Illustrator Paintbrushes

Mastering Vector Design: Drawing with Illustrator Paintbrushes

Article Description

David Karlins explores the multi-varied world of Adobe Illustrator's Paintbrush tool, showing how to customize the built-in brushes and even create unique and eye-catching new strokes of your own.

Creating Custom Calligraphic Brushes

Calligraphic strokes can vary from almost round to very flat, or anything in between. They aren’t completely round, because a completely round calligraphic paintbrush would simply apply a wider band around a stroke; the "ovalness" of the paintbrush is what gives it a calligraphic quality. The Brushes panel includes several preset calligraphic brushes, but you can easily define your own customized paintbrush by following these steps (see Figure 7):

  1. Choose New Brush from the Brushes panel menu to open the New Brush dialog box. Click the New Calligraphic Brush Options button, and click OK.
  2. In the Calligraphic Brush Options dialog box, click in the Name field and enter a name for your new paintbrush. Enter a value in the Angle box to define the angle of the paintbrush. (You might start with a 45-degree angle and experiment from there.) Unless you’re working with a drawing tablet, leave the setting in the Variation column pop-up set to Fixed.
  3. Enter a value of less than 100% in the Roundness box. Lower values produce flatter paintbrushes. Choose Random from the Roundness list. Enter a percentage value in the Roundness Variation box. Higher values (up to 180%) produce more variation in roundness as you apply or draw the paintbrush effect.
  4. Enter a value (usually in points) in the Diameter box to set the diameter of the paintbrush. Higher values create thicker strokes. Click OK to save the new calligraphic paintbrush pattern.
Figure 7

Figure 7 Defining a custom calligraphic brush.

You can use the Pen or Pencil tool (or draw with shape tools) to create paths with a selected calligraphic brush effect. Simply click a calligraphic brush stroke in the Brushes panel and draw with the selected tool.

5. Creating Custom Art Brushes | Next Section Previous Section