Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
As we'll learn throughout this chapter, there are four times of brushes that exist inside of Illustrator. There is the Calligraphic Brush, the Scatter Brush, the Art Brush and the Pattern Brush. In this movie we'll focus in the Calligraphic Brush, which on a very basic level is somewhat similar to the Pencil tool. For example, if I use the Pencil tool here and I'll specify a Fill of none and just a black stroke, as you go ahead you draw your particular path you'll notice that the path itself is just one consistent stroke. However, let me delete that for a moment. I'll switch over to my Paint Brush tool, and I'll go to my Brushes panel, and you'll see that the top row of icons here are what we call Calligraphic brushes.
I'll choose this one here called 7 point Round, and when I click and I drag with this, I get a much thicker line, but you'll also notice that if I go into Outline mode, what I have is basically one path that has the appearance of this particular brush stroke on top of it. As we get more into using brushes, this will make a lot more sense. I'm just going to delete this right now. Notice that in this particular file I already have this turned into a Template layer, so I have this piece of artwork that's here. I now want to kind of sketch or draw on top of this. I'm going to use a Wacom pen to actually go through some of this, but if you have a mouse, you can follow with the same steps. The only difference is that I'm going to be using some pressure-sensitive features, which will allow me to control a little bit more about how I create my artwork.
So first let's see what the settings for a Calligraphic Brush are. I have my Paint Brush tool selected, I'll go over here to my Brushes panel and I'll simply go ahead on the bottom over here and choose this option called New Brush. Now, I'm going to create a new Calligraphic Brush, click OK. This dialog box comes up. Let's call this one a name. Let's give this one Surfing Brush for now. I have the ability here to specify the Angle, Roundness and Diameter of the particular tip of my brush. I can either specify the numbers directly to these fields or I could even click on this interactive area here. For example, I can adjust the angle by clicking on this arrow. I can also adjust the roundness by clicking on these dots right here and the diameter I could use by simply adjusting the Slider here.
Let's start with something very basic for now. I'm actually going to go ahead and have this set for an angle of 0, the roundness was set to 100% and the diameter I'll set to around maybe... let's specify a number here for about 10 points. Now you'll notice that right now all these settings are fixed. So that means if I click OK, as I draw a brush, I'm always going to get a consistent brush stroke that is exactly 10 points in that particular way. I'm going to select this Command+A or Ctrl+A and delete. I'm going to double-click on that brush that I just created now to edit it.
I'm going to change some of the settings that are here. First of all, instead of the angle being 0, we'll put that angle on 45-degree angle. Now you won't really notice the difference in the angle itself because it's perfectly round, but if I would change the roundness to something else, for example, let's do a roundness of maybe 10, very extreme one, that creates almost a flat kind of brush. If you've ever used a traditional calligraphy pen, it has a very flat point or what we call a nib on the pen, which means that when I start to draw with the pen on certain angles it appears very fast, but on certain angles it appears very thin.
By the way the settings I'm going to be specifying right now are not related at all to the pressure-sensitivity, these still are all fixed numbers. Even if I'm using a mouse, I would get the same exact results. I'll leave the diameter set to 10 point. Let's click OK and see what happens now. If I start to paint or draw in this direction, I get the thick line, but if I start to come down I get a thin line. Thick line, thin line, or if I go in a circle, I get something that looks like that. And again, I'm going to be able to do this using the brush. If I go to Outline mode, see that it's just one whole stroke that was created or one path that was created. But the appearance of that particular path has these beautiful thick and thins, and again that's where that the Calligraphic Brush works.
Now let's see what happens when I start turning on the pressure-sensitive setting. Again, I'll press Command+A or Ctrl+A to delete my particular artwork there, select it and delete it. Let's switch over to my Paint Brush tool. Let's double-click on this surfing brush to change its settings once again. I'll change the Angle back to 0; let's change around this back to 100 and I'll leave the Diameter right now a little bit heavier since we go up to around 15. Now what I'm going to do though is I'm going to change some of these settings right here, and so with Diameter being fixed, meaning that it's always going to be a Diameter of 15 points, I could change that to be based on pressure.
Now because I have a pressure- sensitive tablet right now, I could choose a variation for that. Take a look at this little section over here, over this dialog box. Right now Illustrator is letting me know that my diameter or the way that my brush would appear can either be this, or this, or this. Now, obviously since my Diameter and my Variation is set to 0, it will always look the same based on my pressure. But as I start to increase the Variation, for example, I variate all the way to 15 points, Illustrator is letting me know that my brush stroke that I can create can be as narrow as this, which is basically 0, as I'm having 15 points Diameter but a Variation of 15 points, meaning it can go anywhere from 0 to 15 all the way to 30 for that matter. I'm going to click OK.
Now as I start to use my pressure- sensitive pen, as I use the Paint Brush tool, I press very lightly, I get thin lines, but as I go and press heavier I get a much thicker stroke. Again if I go into Outline mode, I see that I have created one path; however, the appearance of that appears to be thin and then thick, which is actually pretty cool. Let's go ahead and delete this and see how I might use this in a particular way of working with my design. Now I have a very large stroke here. I'm actually going to double-click on this. Change Diameter to be maybe 8 points and again a Variation will also be 8. You can never have a Variation more than the actual Diameter itself.
I'm going to click OK and now I'll start to sketch. So I'll create let's say some strokes here and again I can do things maybe that would not be possible otherwise. I'm not an artist here, but I can try to get something that's very descriptive. But notice that I have kind of thick-and-thin. I'm going to press Undo because I don't like that stroke. Let me do something say a little bit more over here. Now I can start to create some kind of shape here, but notice how beautiful my thick-and-thins are when I use this Calligraphic Brush. So this is an example the first kind of brush you can create inside of Illustrator called the Calligraphic Brush. By the way just to show you if I start to use my mouse I can still do the same types of illustrations if I want to, but notice that there is no thick- and-thins, the stroke is consistent here because there is no pressure- sensitivity with the mouse itself.
Overall, the Calligraphic Brush is not only fun to use; it's great for sketching and for inking as well.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
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.