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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I am going to show you how to apply a couple of art brushes, and also show you how to vary the thickness of those brushes on the fly. I've saved my modifications as Calligraphic brushstroke.ai. My text is still selected, as you can see, and rather than switching out my existing stroke, which is set to that custom calligraphic brush, I am going to add a new stroke, by clicking on the fill item here in the Appearance panel to make it active and then dropping down to the lower-left corner and clicking on Add New Stroke or taking advantage of that keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Slash, or Command+Option+Slash on the Mac.
The advantage of clicking on Fill is that the new stroke comes in below the old stroke, like so. It's sandwiched between the stroke and the fill. Now I'm going to switch out the stroke color, and notice it becomes active automatically inside the Swatches panel, for example, and in the Color panel and so forth, because I just created it. I'm going to switch the color to OW peach, and you may recall that OW stands for the Orange wedges tile pattern, which contains these three colors: OW yellow, OW peach, and OW orange. I will click on OW peach in order to make it active, and then, inside the Brushes panel, I am going to drop down to this item right there. It's called hand drawn brush vector pack 02.
Now, you can apply any brushstroke you like, by the way, but this is the one I'm going to go with. I will click on hand drawn brush vector pack 02, and notice it creates a scribbly stroke all the way around the letters. And the stroke kind of jumps away from the letterforms and back into it and so forth. Now, that's great. I really like the way it looks, believe it or not, and it's going to turn out just fantastic. But we need to have some kind of background to set it apart, because just having the strokes sort of overlap the letter sometimes and then go away doesn't look right. But it will look right if we create a thicker stroke in the background in order to show it off.
I am going to do that by, once again, clicking on Fill here in the Appearance panel and again clicking on the Add New Stroke icon, or pressing that keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+Slash, Command+Option+Slash on the Mac. I am going to change this stroke this time to that same dark green, so that we match the fill color, and that's C=90 M=30 Y=95 K=30 here in the Swatches panel. I am now going to apply Chalk Round, although again, you can experiment. You can try out Big Chalk if you want to, in which case you get these very rough letterforms. And what I love about applying these art brushes to point text in particular is you can take a plain, boring font--in our case Myriad Pro, something that everybody's got, everybody uses all the time--and really turn it into something quite unusual that has sort of a grunge edge to it.
So you can try Chalk Scribble in order to get this effect; you can try something like Charcoal in order to get a different effect still; you can drop down to these guys like hand drawn brush vector pack 03, in order to get something quite extreme. Anyway, the one I want to apply is Chalk Round in order to get this effect here. And you can see that that sets off the calligraphic brushstroke pretty nicely, and it helps to set off that other art brush, that peach art brush that we just created a moment ago. But it doesn't go far enough. I want to make it thicker. Well, there's a few different ways to work. One is of course you can modify the settings associated with that art brush, by double-clicking on the art brush, and that will bring up a big, whopping dialog box. We will come back to it later, but that would affect the brush, not only as it's assigned to the selected letters, but also the core definition of that brush.
I'm not interested in doing that. So I could drop down to that Options of Selected Object icon, click on it, and then I could do something like increase the Scale value. So I could take the Scale value up to, let's say, I want it to be twice as thick as it is now, so I take the Scale value up to 200%. You also have the option of turning on Proportional. And what that means, just imagine that you're taking this piece of artwork, which is what this Chalk brush is--it's just a kind of a scribbly piece of very long artwork--and you're stretching it along the path outline.
Well, as you stretch it, you not only want to make it wider, which is what happens by default, but you want to make it thicker as well. And if you turn on Proportional, it is going to grow pretty darn massive, because we have the Width value cranked up to 200%. We now have to follow up by taking the Width value down to 100%, or even thinner, maybe down to 50%, in order to compensate for that ridiculous modification. I don't recommend Proportional under most circumstances, unless you're taking a representative piece of artwork. Like, let's say you took a silhouette of a dolphin and assigned that as a brush.
I am going to go ahead and save that off as a brush, and I will show you how that works later. And then you assign the dolphin to a slight, sort of curving path outline. Well, you might want to maintain its proportions under those conditions; otherwise leave Proportional turned off. Anyway, I could take this up to 200% and then just say, okay. So that's one way to work. An easier way to work though--I am going to cancel out of there--is to just increase the line weight. So go up to the Stroke value here in the control panel and change it from 1 to 2, and that's going to make the brush two times as thick. All right! Now let's say you're looking at this oval brush and you're thinking, okay, we have all this sensational action, all these scribbles going around our letters here, but that calligraphic brush doesn't have any movement associated with it whatsoever.
Maybe I should click on it and switch it now, which I can now. Notice that if I click on this option that says 5 pt. Oval, I can click on the down-pointing arrowhead and I get a pop-up version of the Brushes panel, and I can scroll down this list and switch it out with some other crazy art brush, such his Charcoal Varied, let's say, in order to produce that effect. Or, I will go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac to undo that modification, let's say I want to stick with a calligraphic brush, I just want to give it some movement. Then click on the stroke to make it active, go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and try out one of the Path Wigglers.
For example, I am going to choose Roughen; and I'm going to switch to Absolute; I am going to raise the Size value to 3 points; I am going to change that Detail value to 8 per inch; and I am going to set my Points to Smooth, so that I have some nice continuous arcs. I will turn on the Preview check box to see what that looks like, and now I have this more-or-less rough-and-tumble calligraphic brushstroke mixing in with the rough-and-tumble art brushes. All right! Now I'll click OK in order to accept that modification. In the next exercise, we're going to traumatize our text further by adding a scatter brush.
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