Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Artistic Painting with Illustrator: Natural Media Brushes

with Sharon Steuer

Video: Welcome

Discover the natural media brushes and effects in Illustrator for drawing, painting, and adding expressive strokes.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 18m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. What you should know before watching this course
      1m 54s
    4. Vectors vs. pixels
      2m 31s
    5. Using layers for brushes
      9m 3s
    6. A little bit about the Pencil tool
      3m 38s
  2. 15m 16s
    1. A quick intro to naturalistic Illustrator brushes and effects
      2m 15s
    2. Illustrator artwork gallery
      4m 26s
    3. Applying brushes to objects with the Brushes panel
      1m 2s
    4. Applying brushes to objects with the Eyedropper tool
      1m 39s
    5. Drawing and painting with brushes directly
      1m 43s
    6. Switching between brushes and layers easily, by selecting
      1m 36s
    7. Copying and pasting or dragging and dropping art with brushes
      2m 35s
  3. 38m 26s
    1. Setting the default Essentials workspace
      2m 7s
    2. Overview of the Paintbrush tool options
    3. Options close-up: Smooth or accurate strokes
      3m 44s
    4. Options close-up: What does Fill New Brushstrokes do?
      1m 59s
    5. Options close-up: Controlling whether you're redrawing or adding paths
      3m 16s
    6. Zooming in for control and zooming out to make gestures smooth
      2m 6s
    7. Selecting and smoothing a brushed path as you work
      4m 11s
    8. Exploring ways to scale brushstrokes
      3m 5s
    9. Painting and drawing with a Wacom tablet
      4m 9s
    10. Painting and drawing with a Cintiq tablet
      2m 29s
    11. Setting and preserving pressure-sensitive settings
      3m 57s
    12. Maximizing control without a tablet
      3m 54s
    13. Safely experimenting: Duplicating and customizing brushes
      2m 44s
  4. 19m 2s
    1. Understanding the Calligraphic Brush
      1m 12s
    2. Drawing with calligraphic brushes
      2m 15s
    3. Creating an ink-wash effect
      4m 24s
    4. Creating transparent washes and watercolor effects
      2m 6s
    5. Creating and organizing complex transparent layers
      3m 6s
    6. Overview of Calligraphic Brush options
      2m 37s
    7. Expanding calligraphic brushes
      3m 22s
  5. 18m 51s
    1. Comparing Calligraphic and Blob Brush tools
      1m 52s
    2. Understanding the Blob Brush
      3m 5s
    3. How is the Blob Brush different from other brushes?
      2m 43s
    4. Basic Blob Brush options
      2m 28s
    5. Whittle while you work: Applying the Eraser and Smooth tools
      3m 13s
    6. Adding to and joining objects with the Blob Brush
      3m 50s
    7. Example of Blob Brush artwork
      1m 40s
  6. 14m 24s
    1. The basics of using bristle brushes
      1m 14s
    2. Adjusting brushstrokes with modifier keys
      3m 29s
    3. Accessing bristle brushes
      3m 26s
    4. Creating complex artwork with brushes
      2m 21s
    5. Overview of Bristle Brush options
      3m 54s
  7. 19m 28s
    1. The basics of naturalistic art brushes
      3m 7s
    2. Accessing art brushes
      2m 51s
    3. Applying naturalistic art brushes to type and objects
      3m 11s
    4. Drawing and painting with naturalistic art brushes
      3m 8s
    5. Overview of naturalistic art brush options
      7m 11s
  8. 9m 27s
    1. Overview of the stroke profiles in the Stroke panel
      2m 34s
    2. Applying stroke profiles
      2m 51s
    3. Applying stroke profiles to brushed paths
      4m 2s
  9. 28m 38s
    1. Overview
      2m 18s
    2. Using Draw Inside with brushes
      6m 58s
    3. Applying brush and brush-like graphic styles to type
      6m 1s
    4. More ways to add brushes
      4m 3s
    5. Hiding and deleting brushes
      4m 0s
    6. Using vector editing tools
      3m 34s
    7. Combining brushes in artwork
      1m 44s
  10. 44s
    1. Next steps

please wait ...
Artistic Painting with Illustrator: Natural Media Brushes
Video Duration: 0s 3h 2m Intermediate


View Course Description

In this course, artist Sharon Steuer shows how to paint with the various natural media brushes inside Adobe Illustrator, one of the most overlooked sets of artistic tools in the entire Creative Cloud or Adobe Creative Suite. Along the way, she offers suggestions on how to customize these brushes to help express your creativity. Discover how to configure your workspace, adjust tool options, and set up a tablet. Then investigate the multiple styles of brushes in Illustrator—from Calligraphic, Bristle, and naturalistic Art brushes to Blob brushes and stroke profiles. Sharon also shows how to combine brushes and effects with other Illustrator features to maximize your control when drawing, painting, and adding expressive strokes in Illustrator.

Topics include:
  • Drawing and tracing with Wacom and Cintiq tablets
  • Maximizing control without a tablet
  • Demystifying Paintbrush tool preferences
  • Integrating brushes with other tools such as Smooth and Pencil
  • Adding brushes to objects and text
  • Creating naturalistic strokes with the Art brush tools
  • Picking up, storing, and applying brushes
  • Duplicating and customizing brushes
  • Creating transparent washes and watercolor with Calligraphic brushes
  • Drawing and erasing with the Blob Brush tool
  • Adding stroke profiles to lines and brushes
  • Organizing complex images with layers
  • Ideas for how to combine Illustrator brushes with Photoshop, and even with traditional media


(music playing.) Hi! I am Sharon Steuer and welcome to Artistic Painting in Illustrator, Natural Media Brushes. This course is the first in the Artistic Painting in Illustrator series, and I'm really excited. We're going to get to work with some of the most powerful tools in the entire Creative Cloud and Creative Suite. Using brushes and brush-like effects, you'll be able to paint and draw in Illustrator in ways you can't in any other medium. We're going to take an in-depth look at each of the natural media tools, starting with the calligraphic brushes, including bristle brushes and the naturalistic art brushes.

And then along the way we're also going to look at a pair of effects that aren't actually brushes at all: the Blob Brush tool and variable-stroke profiles. Finally, we're going to look at ways to expand your toolset with tips for using the Wacom tablets, how to control scaling, using Draw Inside to paint brushstrokes actually within objects, and lots more. You'll be able to paint and draw in ways you never thought possible. So let's get started with Artistic Painting with Illustrator: Natural Media Brushes.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Artistic Painting with Illustrator: Natural Media Brushes .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: How do I import one of Sharon's workspaces into Illustrator?
A: Place Sharon's workspace file within the folder structure below, understanding that where it says YourHomeFolder you instead choose the folder that contains your name (your Home folder):

/Users/YourHomeFolder/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS6 Settings/en_US/Workspaces/





Don't show this message again
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Artistic Painting with Illustrator: Natural Media Brushes.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a Member and Create Custom Playlists

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of online learning video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Log in

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

You started this assessment previously and didn’t complete it.

You can pick up where you left off, or start over.

Resume Start over

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.