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Drawing with the Blob Brush tool

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: Drawing with the Blob Brush tool

It's important to realize that in Illustrator when you lay down paths using the Paintbrush tool, it still creates a single path and then it applies some kind of an appearance to that path. In the case of using the Calligraphic Brush, it actually takes pressure-based input from my pen, and transfers that to the path itself. Let me show you what I mean by that in this file over here called drawing4.ai. I already have some paths that I have laid down with the Paintbrush tool. In fact if I zoom in on this area here, you can see the nice thick and thins that I've created, but if I go into Outline Mode by pressing Command+Y or Control+Y, you can see the actual path themselves.

Drawing with the Blob Brush tool

It's important to realize that in Illustrator when you lay down paths using the Paintbrush tool, it still creates a single path and then it applies some kind of an appearance to that path. In the case of using the Calligraphic Brush, it actually takes pressure-based input from my pen, and transfers that to the path itself. Let me show you what I mean by that in this file over here called drawing4.ai. I already have some paths that I have laid down with the Paintbrush tool. In fact if I zoom in on this area here, you can see the nice thick and thins that I've created, but if I go into Outline Mode by pressing Command+Y or Control+Y, you can see the actual path themselves.

So the appearance of that brush was simply added on top of these paths. I am going to press Command+Y. The problem that you have with this is that sometimes when I modify these paths by like cutting them or erasing parts of them, I may lose that pressure information. For example, here inside of Illustrator, I have a tool called the Eraser tool. We will actually talk about this tool more in detail in the next movie. But for now, if I decided I wanted to kind of slice through this part of the path right here, I can click and drag to do that.

But notice that as soon as I release the pen, the thickness settings that were applied to that path disappear. I will just press Command+Z so that you can see that again. This is what it was like before and I will press Command+Shift+Z and now you can see that I've lost that pressure setting. So basically, a brush is just reapplying itself to that path because brushes are live. All that are being applied to is the path itself that appears underneath. So, it's possible that I may want to apply some kind of a thickness here, but I want that to remain constant and I also want to be able to erase it in a more intuitive manner.

So let me switch back here to the Paintbrush tool and I will press Ctrl+A or Command+A to delete all this artwork. I know it was very nice, it took me a long time to do it, but I want to show you a different tool inside of Illustrator, which is a variation of the Paintbrush tool. It's actually called the Blob Brush tool. It's a very weird name. I feel by the way it's a little bit too close to the Blah Brush tool. But it actually is a pretty cool tool inside of Illustrator, because it allows you to do the exact same thing that we've already been doing with the Calligraphic Brush.

However, it creates expanded paths that we can now work with. Let me show you what I mean. So directly underneath this Paintbrush tool over here is this tool called the Blob Brush. I am going to choose that option and just to show you by the way-- I am going to double-click on it-- the settings that come up look almost identical to those that we found with the Calligraphic Brush. For example, I am going to set the Size to maybe around 6 point here. And I will set the size to be based on Pressure and I will set the Variations to also be 6.

This will give me a nice big variation. I could have either almost nothing, to 6 points, up to 12 points here. So now I am going to click OK and what should happen now if I click and drag when I press lightly and then heavier as I kind of go along the path, that I start off nice and thin and then I get thicker as I go. But let's go into outline mode by pressing Command+Y or Control+Y and you can see that I no longer have a single path, but as if I've drawn a path and then expanded it. So now I have an actual filled object, not a stroke with something applied to it but a filled object.

So if I press Command+Y and I now switch to my Eraser tool and I drag through it, you can see that I get a actual clean mark that goes right through it and I don't lose any pressure-sensitive settings because I am just erasing parts of a filled path. I'm not reapplying a live brush effect to a stroke. Let me press Undo a few times to go back to here and I want you to get a better understanding for how intelligent this Blob Brush tool is. So I want to go over here back to the Blob Brush and I am going to click and drag let's say to kind of draw a line here, but I am in a need of much thinner brush for this. Let's go ahead now and double-click on this.

And by the way I could also choose a Calligraphic Brush that I've already defined in the Brushes panel and use it with the Blob Brush as well. But for here I am going to set Size again back around 3, and then set my Variation to 2. Click OK and then lay down a path over here. That was pretty good, just get a few rough paths drawing over here. And if I go into Outline Mode you'll see that it's creating these filled paths. But now maybe I want a kind of draw in some of these stripes that are here as well. So if I draw a line like this and like this and I start to kind of fill it in, which I would normally do with maybe a magic marker for example on regular paper.

If I now go into Outline Mode, you'll see that Illustrator automatically merged all of these as well. What's really kind of happening here in the background this is that as I draw, Illustrator is expanding my brush. So that it now becomes a filled shape and then it's performing a Pathfinder Add with any other pieces of art that match the color of my brush. So let me be little bit more clear about that. I am going to go back to into Preview mode by pressing Command+Y and maybe now I want to switch to a different color. Whether you are using any Brush tools, be it the Paintbrush tool or the Blob Brush tool, the color that you're actually going to be using is specified via the stroke color, not the fill color.

I know at the end of the day we are going to end up with a filled object. However, Illustrator uses the stroke color for the settings. So I am actually click over here and choose maybe red for example. And maybe I want to use red for this part of the stripe over here so I am going to start clicking and dragging and create a filled area like this. And if I now go into outline mode, you'll see that Illustrator did not merge this with the black because it realized that I am using a different color. It only merges with light colors. So this is a really cool way of working inside of Illustrator, especially if you're the kind of person that loves to just get your ideas out quickly on paper, you can sketch them here very quickly inside of Illustrator using the Blob Brush, which is pressure-sensitive but also kind of merges these paths automatically and gives you really nice clean artwork as you are drawing.

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This video is part of

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  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. The evolution of vector drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      27s
  2. 39m 2s
    1. Plotting points vs. drawing paths
      5m 36s
    2. Drawing artwork vs. building artwork
      7m 59s
    3. The keyboard shortcuts you HAVE to know
      8m 52s
    4. Groups and layers really do matter
      3m 11s
    5. Taming Smart Guides and the Bounding Box
      10m 53s
    6. Do you need a drawing tablet?
      2m 31s
  3. 47m 51s
    1. To sketch or not to sketch?
      2m 32s
    2. Setting up a template layer for your sketch
      3m 37s
    3. Optimizing default settings for drawing
      5m 27s
    4. Using the primitive shapes tools
      5m 7s
    5. Mastering the modifier keys
      2m 8s
    6. Mastering the transform tools
      6m 37s
    7. Creating curves with the Reshape tool
      6m 44s
    8. Using the Smooth tool
      3m 35s
    9. Using Simplify to create smooth paths
      3m 2s
    10. Recording an action for the Simplify command
      5m 2s
    11. Mirroring art for speed and accuracy
      4m 0s
  4. 50m 18s
    1. Deconstructing the Pathfinder panel
      1m 56s
    2. Using the Shape Modes functions
      12m 4s
    3. Using the Pathfinder functions
      13m 4s
    4. Understanding how compound shapes work
      11m 45s
    5. Understanding why compound shapes exist
      7m 32s
    6. Exploring additional Pathfinder options
      3m 57s
  5. 52m 51s
    1. Why Live Paint was created
      10m 45s
    2. Creating a Live Paint group
      4m 21s
    3. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      7m 8s
    4. Using Live Paint with open paths
      5m 6s
    5. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      3m 42s
    6. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      5m 34s
    7. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      6m 28s
    8. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 59s
    9. Understanding how Live Paint works
      6m 48s
  6. 27m 37s
    1. Why the Shape Builder tool was created
      4m 18s
    2. Focusing on the big three: Add, Subtract, and Divide
      2m 27s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool to add and subtract artwork
      9m 50s
    4. Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork
      3m 48s
    5. Building and coloring artwork at the same time
      3m 50s
    6. Using Gap Detection with the Shape Builder tool
      3m 24s
  7. 23m 2s
    1. Understanding how variable widths work
      8m 25s
    2. Modifying width points along a path
      7m 9s
    3. Saving time with width profiles
      5m 14s
    4. Turning variable width strokes into filled paths
      2m 14s
  8. 28m 21s
    1. Understanding how the Pen and Pencil tools differ
      4m 41s
    2. Adjusting the behavior of the Pencil tool
      7m 5s
    3. Using the Path Eraser tool
      1m 17s
    4. Drawing with the Calligraphic Brush tool
      5m 43s
    5. Drawing with the Blob Brush tool
      5m 53s
    6. Using the Eraser tool
      3m 42s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Looking at the VectorScribe plug-in
      2m 16s
    2. Next steps
      1m 28s

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