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

Creating a pattern brush


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Creating a pattern brush

In this exercise, we're going to try our hand at creating a basic pattern brush, and we'll see what can go wrong, and of course I'll show you how to make things right. I'm still working inside pattern, which is found inside the 26_brushes folder. Now down here at the bottom of the illustration, you see the objects that were required in order to create the three brush patterns that I included along with this document. But you'll notice I have several additional path outlines devoted to the red pattern brush, the reason being because that was the first one I created and I had to make certain determinations about what was going to work and what would be aesthetically pleasing and so on.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 5m Advanced Jan 28, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Working with dynamic effects
  • Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
  • Creating and editing a Gradient Mesh
  • Distorting artwork with an Envelope Mesh
  • Using the Calligraphic, Art, and Scatter Brushes
  • Creating an intricate Pattern Brush
  • Importing and graphing data
  • Creating a complex pictograph
  • Drawing and editing a perspective shape
  • Working with the new Perspective Grid tool
  • Using the 3D Revolve effect
  • Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
  • Recording and playing automated actions
Deke McClelland

Creating a pattern brush

In this exercise, we're going to try our hand at creating a basic pattern brush, and we'll see what can go wrong, and of course I'll show you how to make things right. I'm still working inside pattern, which is found inside the 26_brushes folder. Now down here at the bottom of the illustration, you see the objects that were required in order to create the three brush patterns that I included along with this document. But you'll notice I have several additional path outlines devoted to the red pattern brush, the reason being because that was the first one I created and I had to make certain determinations about what was going to work and what would be aesthetically pleasing and so on.

I am not going to dwell on all of that. However, I'm just going to let you know that these objects are here in case you want to test them out for yourself. Every single one of these six groups down here at the bottom, these are all different variations on the corner tile. And you can try them out if you want to, and you'll see what kind of goes wrong and what works and what doesn't. Anyway, I ended up finding out that this guy worked out the best of the bunch. But again you can try out the others if you like. What I'd like you to do right now however is turn off the build work layer here inside the Layers panel, and then turn on the violet brush layer, because we're going to be creating the violet brush variation, and then go ahead and zoom in on these elements down here in the lower-left region of the illustration. And notice I've already created the corner tile for you, as well as the end tile and the start tile.

But I've not created the all-important side tile. The one tile you have to have when you're creating a pattern brush is that side tile. So we're going to be creating that together. I've gone ahead and created dummy side tiles in the form of these beige tiles right here, but we want violet ones, so we are going to make them ourselves, and here's how, starting with this guy right there. Now this is a group of objects. If you were with me back in chapter 16 of the Advanced portion of the series, you may recall how tile patterns work. But I'm going to do a little refresher here, because they are so darn weird.

The idea is that you have to make sure to include as many objects as are necessary to establish a seamlessly repeating pattern. But even more to the point, then you need to figure out how to crop them; you need to define the style. Now, you don't use any specific crop function, you don't mask the objects. What you do instead is you draw an invisible rectangle, which is this guy right here. You draw that rectangle. That is your tile. You send it to the back of the stack. It has to be in back of the other objects that define the tile pattern, and then it has to have no fill and no stroke.

If you violate any of those rules, then Illustrator slaps you. Basically, the tile pattern isn't going to work. However, this one is set up exactly the way it should be. So you would think, hey, this should work for a pattern brush as well because pattern brushes are based on tile patterns. You have to create the tile patterns first and then the pattern brush second, and I'll show you how that works. So let's start with the tile pattern. I'll go ahead and grab this guy, and I'll drag him and drop him into the Swatches panel, and that creates a new tile pattern swatch. Now, for me, it's called New pattern Swatch 26; for you, it's going to have some other number.

However, I want to rename it. Well, I can't right now because the object is selected. If I try to double-click on the swatch, then I am going to actually apply the tile pattern to either the fill or the stroke, whatever is active inside my selected paths, and that's going to make a mess of things. And the reason I dwell on this is it's so easy to do. You'll just be sitting there working away, especially when you are creating pattern brushes, you create like several tile patterns in row and you're just not paying attention and you end up ruining everything because you forgot to deselect. So make sure to take a moment to click off your paths or press Ctrl+Shift+A, Command+Shift+A on a Mac. Then go over to the Swatches panel and double-click on, in my case New pattern Swatch 26. It might be whatever for you.

I am going to call this "Test pattern" because that's what it is. Click OK. I want to test if it works after all. I am going to zoom out a little bit here, and I am going to scroll up to that first big red Z, the one that is stroked with a tile pattern. So let's go ahead and click on the Z in order to make it active, with the Black Arrow tool. Then I'll click on the down-pointing arrowhead up here in the control panel that's associated with the stroke swatch, and I'll change that stroke to test pattern, and it works brilliantly. Oh my gosh, what a success.

So you would think this is going to work beautifully for a pattern brush as well, because Illustrator should be consistent and follow the same darn rules. Well, it doesn't. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and scroll over a little bit here because I want you to see that that invisible rectangle serves a different purpose when we're working with pattern brushes. It doesn't crop the pattern. It does define how the pattern fits the outline, but that's it. So, let me show you what's up. Don't select the Z. So we'll start off with it deselected.

I am moving it over to left, however, so we can keep an eye on it. Actually, I am going to scroll it down just a little bit. Then I am going to bring up the Brushes panel, and here's how to make a pattern brush. You drop down to the bottom of the Brushes panel to this little page icon, the New Brush icon, click on it. I'll go ahead and select pattern brush, click OK and that brings up the incredibly complicated Pattern Brush Options dialog box, which contains just about all those options that we saw when we were creating an art brush and then some-- including, by the way, a list of all the tile patterns inside the current document down here in the lower-left region of the dialog box, and these five little buckets.

Notice that there is a side tile, and I was telling you that is the one you have to create. You've got to fill that bucket. Then you've got outer corner and inner corner. All right! So what in the world are those? Well, outer corner, inner corner, those are easy enough to predict where closed path outlines are concerned, and it sort of even gives you a sense of what that's going to look like. So the outer corner would be that outside corner of course of a rectangle, and then if the rectangle was to tuck in, why then those inner areas would be the inner corners. Fair enough. But what happens with an open path like our Z right here? Well, for example, where the Z is concerned, the bottom-left corner is an outer corner, and the upper-right corner is an inner corner.

How do I know that? Because I tested it out. How would you know that? You wouldn't. Only Illustrator would. So what I tend to do is just assign the same corner to the outer corner and the inner corner tile, because both of those need to be filled if you're going to do a corner. But you can experiment, figure out what works for your various path outlines. We also have Start Tile, and then finally we have End Tile. But for now, we're just going to fill one of them, the Side Tile. So I'll make sure that one is active and then I'll drop down here to test pattern, not listed in alphabetical order for some reason. Click on it to make it active, and there we go.

Now, that's the only setting I am going to change other than the name. I'll go ahead and call this guy test pattern brush. But otherwise, I am going to leave all the settings as is, that is, set to their defaults. I am going to mention however that we have a Spacing value. Currently it's set to 0%. That means there is no space, there is no gaps between the repetitions of the tiles. If you want a gap--because what, you're out of your mind--but if you want one, then you can increase that Spacing value. You could say 10%, and of course then you'd have 10% of the size of the tile devoted to spaces between the tiles, and that would result in gaps, and that's not what we want.

Anyway, so I am going to restore that Spacing value to 0 and then click OK in order to create that new pattern brush. There it is! It's called test pattern brush, as you can see, and we're seeing two repetitions of that Side Tile. So it looks like everything is going to work out beautifully. Maybe, I guess. Let's go ahead and click on the brush in order to make it active, or I'll marquee because it's kind of hard to find. So I'll go ahead and select this guy and now let's assign the test pattern brush. It doesn't matter whether the fill or the stroke is active because when you're applying a brush, it always goes to the stroke.

So I'll click on it, and what a disaster. Now, ignore for a moment that we're missing some corners. Well that's because we didn't create any corners. But that's fine. We don't need those. What we need is some semblance of seamless repetition, which we don't have here. First of all we didn't get any cropping from that background rectangle, and that's because the rectangle is used for positioning purposes only. It doesn't crop. But then, why does one overlap the other? There is some sort of cropping going on here, but it's not right. What we need to do is we need to be more careful about our implementation, and frankly, we need to actually manually crop our tile pattern before we begin.

So that background rectangle isn't really going to do us any good. You may find it helpful occasionally, but for our purposes here it's not the right approach. So what I am going to do is show you the exact right approach using some static pathfinder operations in the next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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 Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery.

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 to add this course to a playlist

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

Get started

Already a member ?

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.

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.

Start your FREE 10-day trial

Begin learning software, business, and creative skills—anytime,
anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts. provides
Unlimited access to over 4,000 courses—more than 100,000 video tutorials
Expert-led instruction
On-the-go learning. Watch from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Switch back and forth as you choose.
Start Your FREE Trial Now

A trusted source for knowledge.


We provide training to more than 4 million people, and our members tell us that helps them stay ahead of software updates, pick up brand-new skills, switch careers, land promotions, and explore new hobbies. What can we help you do?

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.