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In this installment of the Illustrator Insider Training series, Mordy Golding shows how to draw vector artwork quickly, precisely, and efficiently—without having to think about technical concepts like anchor points or control handles. The course highlights intuitive drawing techniques using the Pathfinder functions, Live Paint groups, Shape Builder tool, and variable-width strokes. It also describes the sketching workflow and features in Illustrator that use pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, allowing designers to focus more on their creativity.
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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