Creating Scatter Paintbrushes
Is throwing paint against a wall "art"? We’ll pass on that aesthetic and philosophical debate, except to note that if that’s the effect you want, the scatter brush is your tool. Scatter brushes scatter a defined pattern along a path.
In my book Adobe Illustrator CS3 HOW-TOs: 100 Essential Techniques, for example, I use a scatter brush to create a swirling field of stars, as shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9 Scattering a field of stars with a scatter brush.
Here’s how it works:
- The first step in creating a scatter brush is to draw some artwork. Then drag the artwork onto the Brushes panel. The New Brush dialog box appears.
- Select the New Scatter Brush option and click OK. The Scatter Brush Options dialog box opens.
- Type a name in the Name field.
- Use the sliders and other options in the Scatter Brush Options dialog box
to modify the pattern as desired:
- Size determines the size of the pattern in relationship to the size of the original drawing.
- Spacing defines the space between instances of the artwork as it scatters on the artboard.
- The Scatter slider specifies how far from the scatter brush art will be placed.
- The Rotation setting controls how much objects will rotate as the paintbrush is applied to a curved path. Rotation can be relative to either the page or the path (see Figure 10).
- The Method pop-up list in the Colorization section of the dialog box controls how coloring is added (or not added) to the original stroke color. (Click the Tips button to see a preview of each option.)
Figure 10 Defining scatter brush options.
- When you’re finished defining your scatter brush’s options, click OK to generate the brush.
- 6. Apply the scatter brush by clicking on a selected path with the Selection tool, and then clicking the new brush in the Brushes panel.