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Brush Basics in Illustrator 8

  • Date: Mar 1, 1999.

To create or modify an art brush:

selected object
Fig. 1 To create a new art brush, select an object or objects. These objects are text outlines.

Brushes palette
Fig. 2 Drag the selected objects onto the Brushes palette.

New Brush dbox
Fig. 3 Click New Art Brush.

Art Brush Options
Fig. 4 Enter a Name for a new brush; change any of the settings to modify an existing brush.

new art brush
Fig. 5 The new art brush is applied to a path.

An art brush can be made from one or more objects, including a compound path, but not a gradient, gradient mesh, or mask. When it's applied to a path, an art brushstroke follows the shape of the path. If you reshape the path, the art brushstroke will stretch or bend to conform to the new path contour.

  1. To create a new brush, select one or more objects (Figure 1), drag the object(s) onto the Brushes palette (Figure 2), click New Art Brush (Figure 3), then click OK (Return/Enter).


    To modify an existing brush, double-click that brush on the Brushes palette. Or choose an art brush, then choose Brush Options from the palette menu.

  2. For a new brush, enter a Name (Figure 4).

  3. For an existing brush, check the Preview box. Changes will preview immediately on any existing paths to which the art brush is currently applied.

  4. Click a Direction button to control the orientation of the object on the path. The object will be drawn in the direction the arrow is pointing. The Direction will be more distinct for objects with a distinct directional orientation, like text outlines, or a vase or a leaf.

  5. Enter a Size: Width to scale the art brush. Check Proportional to preserve the original object's proportions.

  6. Optional: Check Flip Along to reverse the object on the path (left to right). Check Flip Across to reverse the object across the path (up and down).

  7. Choose a Colorization option.

  8. Click OK (Return/Enter) (Figure 5).


    You'll find art brushes in Illustrator's Animal Sample, Arrow Sample, Artistic Sample, Floral Sample, and Object Sample libraries.