Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating with scatter brushes, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
- [Von] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In this movie, we're going to use one of Illustrator's most powerful features, a scatter brush to create some artistic results. So, let's jump right into it. Now, if you're not familiar with what a scatter brush is, it takes any artwork, such as these two examples shown here and this is just simply a little grainy kind of piece of artwork on the left I created in Photoshop, brought it into Illustrator, image traced it, and kind of cleaned it up a little bit.
The other one to the right here is a splatter image I created with an old toothbrush and India ink, once again, scanned it in, image traced it, and now it's just simply black and white artwork that we can create a scatter brush from, and that's exactly what I did. If I drag the Brushes palette over here, you can see these two brushes inside the Brushes palette here, and if I click into this first one, you can see the preview of the artwork here and all a scatter brush does is, it takes this artwork and maps it to the path that we paint out using the Paintbrush tool and it allows you to control how it maps it out on the path.
So, for example, on the Size, we have it set to Fixed at 100% for this one, Spacing is random, set to Random. You can pick anything, from Fixed, Random, if you're using a Wacom for example, you can set up Pressure sensitivity, so on and so forth. So, for Random we have 25%, for Scatter, we have it set for 7%, and for Rotation, it's rotating it at different degrees, as set here. Now, this is better done through exploratory than an absolute, this is the right way to do it.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to this tool. You'll want to create your artwork, create a scatter brush, and then, start playing around with the settings. Try one, see what it looks like until you get it looking the way you want it to, and then save those and remember those and apply them to a new brush you might create later. That's what I've done here and so, this is how you use it. With this brush selected, we can go to the color and on a fill, we don't need it, but on the stroke color, because that's what brushes use is the stroke color, we'll select this aqua color and we'll go to the Paintbrush tool and I'll paint out using this brush.
And you can see how cool of an effect it gives. Now, keep in mind that a scatter brush has hundreds of anchor points, so even on a path like this that you paint out, that's replicated, I would say maybe 10 times, 15 times on this one given path. That's over a thousand anchor points on that one simple path. So, scatter brushes will bloat your file size, there's no way around it, but don't worry about it because when you deliver final art to a client, you don't have to give them the actual, editable artwork.
You can set it up in a different way and I'll explain that in a little bit. Let's go over another one of the brushes here, this scatter brush. If I open here, you can see this one is far more random. Everything's randomized, including the scale, Spacing, the Scattering, and the Rotation. It goes from 103 to minus 46 and the Scaling, the Size, goes to 537, so why did I do that? Well, once again, I didn't punch these in because it made sense, I just played with these until I got something that worked really well and that's all I did here.
So, if we select this, we'll change the color to purple. I can just draw out one line and look at how it applies it, it's very random. You can't even really tell it's the same artwork applied, it's just done in different ways because of the settings. So, I use this, not to do shading, but to do spot detailing where I'll click here to add something there and add it here, and add it here. All of these will look different every time you use it and that's the power of a scatter brush, and it's how we're going to use it in this movie.
So, I'll go ahead and turn on the artwork we're going to be focusing on here, this guy, a tribal design I created. Now, the first thing I want to do is, I want to take this art, I want to copy it, I'll turn this layer off, turn this coloring layer on, and Command+f to paste in place so it's aligned with the artwork right under it. And we'll go ahead and turn that layer on, turn this one back on, and on this layer, I'm going to select this to be this nice blue and we'll lock the layer.
Now we're going to go to the coloring layer, I'm going to select our artwork, fill with nothing, so no fill, no stroke, go down to the bottom right here and click this button, this is the Draw Inside button. So, it's going to apply Draw Inside mode to our artwork and you can see how it's marqueed our artwork, denoting that there's essentially a mask here that's going to allow us to draw in it. Now we can have fun, we can select our brush, select the tool, the Paintbrush tool, and select the color.
We don't want black, we're going to use red, and now this is where I'll have fun and I'll just start coloring it. And there's no right or wrong here, it's all about visually trying something, seeing if you like it and then going from there, and that's all I'm doing here. And once I get something that I think I like, I'll change the color and I'll just keep going like this. Like this and you can see how it's automatically masking everything into place and that's working really cool.
We'll get some nice turquoise going here, I think that looks pretty cool. So, I try to balance my color schemes, so we're going to try using all these colors in this, I want this to be very colorful and very dynamic. And if you don't like something, just Command+z. So, you can see how this goes, punch it out with some nice bright areas like this.
So, it's really effective the way it works. Now, that's with the original scatter brush. I'm going to switch over to this brush here, which is the, kind of that splatter-looking effect and we're going to change it to purple, and once again, I just want to hit these on areas. So, I'm going to hit one here, maybe hit it there. Ah, too big, too small. That's better, that's just right. It's kind of like Goldilocks.
And if you don't like it, just Command+z, try something else. I don't like that, that looks pretty good. We'll add some, I want some in the eyes so the eye is kind of dark. Oh, that looks cool. Like that, maybe a little too much there. Not enough, that's about right. Add some on the edge over here, that looks good and I think I'll put some up there.
So, once again, this all comes down to your aesthetic, looking at it, deciding if you think it needs more and where it needs more, and just working with it. But I think this is looking really, really cool and this is going to change. Now, when you attempt this yourself with these Exercise Files, your look might be completely different because you might paint in your details a little different. That's okay, but when you do, you can use this same tonal family that I'm using here or you can change it up and use whatever colors you want.
Now, anytime I work on something like this, I like continuing to push it forward and making it look even better, and I think we can do that with the use of some textures. So, if we go back here, we can click on this to get rid of that mode, so, essentially, all we've done here is, we've created a mask with all these elements inside the mask. That's what Draw Inside essentially does, it just does it so you don't have to do it manually and it allows you to see the aesthetic as you're doing it, rather than creating it and then masking it and then looking at it, so it's very efficient in that effect.
So, we're going to use some simple texturing. These are, once again, Bitmap TIFF images I've placed in. Bitmap TIFF images come in automatically transparent, they have no fill, no stroke, so you can colorize them anyway you want. Now, on this first one, I'm going to color it this aqua color and we're going to zoom in so you can see how cool this is looking. And this is the aesthetic you get when you use this methodology. And these little splatters are adding some nice texturing outside of that mask area, so that's why we're doing it.
I'm going to add another one above it and this is another splatter, but on this one, I want to color this one orange and I don't want the value at 100%, I want this to be transparent, so I'll color it at 40. And when it's all said and done, you have a really authentic looking piece of artistic artwork utilizing one of the coolest features in Illustrator, but keep in mind, it's going to bloat your file, so don't be surprised by that. Now, let me show you one other thing and that is another piece of artwork, the exact same art, but it has a slightly different feel because you'll never get this identical each time, and I actually like this one better than the one I just did.
So, this is in the Exercise Files, too, so you can look at them. I used all the scatter brushes that are in these files, so give this a test drive, try it yourself. I should point out that I'd never give a client this exact file, scatter brushes like these are great aesthetically speaking to achieve a nice, artistic look and feel, but they really, really bloat file size a lot and I'm not exaggerating. So, I'd take my final artwork as shown here and I'd rasterize it in Photoshop as a high-resolution TIFF image instead.
Much easier format to work with than a source vector file, in my opinion. Thank you for watching DVG Lab and remember, as always, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.