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While Adobe added the amazing new Bristle Brush to Illustrator CS5, they didn't stop there when it comes to brushes. They've also made a few enhancements to the existing brushes. For example, let's take a look at the Art Brush. What the Art Brush does is it allows you to define any piece of art as a brush and then to stretch that artwork along a path. However, in doing so, the artwork itself gets distorted. Let me explain what I mean. I am going to take this Daisy here, and I want to define this now as an Art brush to use inside of Illustrator. So, I'll select the artwork.
I'll go to my Brushes panel. I'll choose now to define a new brush. Let's go ahead and define an Art brush, click OK, and you can see that where it says Brush Scale Options, it's currently set to the something called stretch to fit the Stroke Length. I am going to give this brush a name of Daisy, and then I am going to go ahead and click OK. This is the way that brushes have always worked inside of Illustrator. If I now take my Paintbrush tool, with that Daisy brush selected in my Brushes panel, I can now go ahead here and start to click and drag and draw some of these. And you could see that as I draw really long strokes or short ones, the art itself is stretched along that path, in effect, distorting the entire piece of art.
This isn't the effect I am really looking for. Let me go ahead now and delete these for a moment. And let's go ahead now and double-click on this brush so that we can change its settings. Back where it says Brush Scale Options, I see a new option now in Illustrator CS5 called Stretch Between Guides. With this option chosen, you'll see that in the preview area I now have to guides that I can reposition. By repositioning these guides, I can specify exactly which part of the brush does or does not scale. In doing so, right now, any area between the guides will get stretched, but anything that's outside of that guide will not.
I'll click OK to save that setting. And now once again, I'll use my Paintbrush tool to draw a few daisies on my screen. And you can see that no matter how long or how short I make these daisies, the artwork itself is only being distorted in the area that I have specified. Most notably, the Daisy itself always remains constant, but the stem itself stretches as necessary. Let's do the same thing with this tulip over here. I am going to go ahead now and select that artwork. I'll go to the Brushes panel, create a new Art Brush, click OK.
Choose Stretch Between Guides and now I just want to be careful that I actually position the guides right beneath the petals here of the Tulip. And I also want to come high enough over here on this guide, so that I still leave the bottom part here intact of this leaf. So, just this part of the stem is going to be stretched. Now, when I click OK, I can choose the Paintbrush tool and then come back on to my Art Board and start drawing some Tulips on the screen. Notice, again, that the tulips itself and the art on both the bottom, and the top are not distorted, but the stem stretches as necessary.
With this new ability to be able to define which parts of an Art Brush do stretch and get distorted, you can easily take advantage of the power of the Art Brush.
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