Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating drawing brushes, part of Illustrator for Non-Illustrators.
- [Instructor] In the design industry, Adobe Illustrator is the go-to tool for creating any form of vector-based design, from icons, logos, illustrations, and any other form of graphic associated with clean, precise shapes and form. But, as I demonstrated in my Painting with Vectors course, you can achieve some very authentic looks and results that seemingly contradict vector-based creation. And here is an illustration I created for that course where I created it using vector brushes, and it gives a nice, hand-done, organic quality that Illustrator really isn't associated with.
Now, I created this artwork without even using a Wacom. I just used a mouse. But it does show the power of Illustrator to achieve things that most people wouldn't associate with vector-based artwork, and that's a really cool thing. And when it comes to pulling off authentic drawing in a digital environment like Illustrator, you do need to use the proper tools. And for this course specifically, I'll be using a Wacom Cintiq Pro as shown here with the stylus that comes with it because it'll allow us to utilize the pressure sensitivity inside Illustrator, and that's going to help us achieve an authentic aesthetic to our drawing.
Now, Illustrator does have touch support for touch devices. This Wacom is a touch device, but I've actively disabled touch input on the Wacom because, frankly, in Illustrator that functionality is a little wonky, and I don't like it. So I just deactivate it and turn it off. Now, one thing you want to make sure is you want to wear what's called a drawing glove when you work on a device like this, and this is the one specifically I'm going to use.
It's called SmudgeGuard, and the reason why you use this is it allows you to gracefully move over the surface of the device and stay fluid with your motion, and that's going to help your drawing efforts. Now, everything that I'm going to cover in this course you could technically do with a mouse. The only thing is, it's just going to be a whole lot easier to do it with a stylus because it's like traditional drawing, and that's the power of drawing digitally is it's like drawing in analog, but you get all the benefits of digital.
Now, the only drawback with using a mouse, if you don't have a Wacom or a tablet, is that you won't have any pressure sensitivity support, and so you won't be able to do some of the things I'm showing you because mouses don't support pressure sensitivity. So just know that upfront as we dive into it. Now, in order to digitally draw, we need to create some brushes first. So let me walk you through four types of brushes we'll be using in the upcoming movies. These are a lot of fun. The first one is a Calligraphic Brush, and this is great for doing line work, and for inking base art, and just drawing organic shapes, and it's easy to create.
If we go over to the Brushes palette right here, let's make sure we're on the right layer, and I create this New Brush. It's going to open up the window, and by default the first one selected is Calligraphic Brush, so we'll click OK. And then we can make some choices here. Now, I've found when I've used these settings, I explored all these settings in different ways, and bottom line, what I found that works best is very simple, not in terms of size. Size can be anything you want, but for this demonstration we're going to do seven, and under the pull-down menu we're going to select Pressure 'cause we're using pressure sensitivity since we're using the Wacom, and I'm going to select this to be the same value as the Size.
So the seven for Size, seven for Variation, and I've found, regardless of what size, three, five, six, whatever, match it on the left and right, and I think you're going to be happy with the results. Now, I've tried setting these other things, such as the Roundness and the Angle and setting these to pressure sensitivity, but I really haven't noticed any difference, so I don't really mess with that. I just kind of stay with the basics, and for the name on this one, we'll call this one Inking, and we'll name it Inking4, and I'll go OK.
And you can see it showed up right here. Now I named it Inking4 'cause I have an Inking1, 2, 3, and this will be the fourth one, and I'm just going to move this up so it's in the association with the other ones. Now, once we have this, to ink with a Calligraphic Brush, it's really simple. We're going to select the Paintbrush tool right here. We have this nib selected, and then you can pick whatever your color is for the stroke that you're drawing. In this case, we're sticking with black, and then you just simply draw out your line.
And you can see you get a nice look. Now, if I select this, it's just a path with that stroke applied to it, and there is pressure sensitivity. So if I draw very faintly on the screen and then press hard, faint, hard, you can see how you can get a nice thick and thin. So it works really well to do certain types of drawings where if you're inking out, let's say you're doing a little flower or whatever, it goes pretty quickly to get a cool-looking, organic, hand-drawn look and feel with the Calligraphic Brush.
So that's how a Calligraphic Brush works. Let's jump to the next one. The next one is what I call a Tapered Brush, and a Tapered Brush is going to utilize art brushes in the Brushes palette, and you have to create the base art that that brush is being developed from. In this case, we've just created this simple oval that you see here. And now that we have this oval created, all this is is elliptical shape just distorted, we're going to drag this over into the Brushes palette, and we'll just drop it right there.
And then we're going to select Art Brush, click OK. It's going to open up all of these settings we can do. By default we're going to leave Stretch to Fit Stroke Length. By default we'll have that selected. We're not going to select pressure sensitivity here. We're just going to leave it Fixed. We are going to select Tints under Color. This will allow us to make it any color we want, and everything else by default we'll leave. On this one, we're going to name this one Taper4. We'll call it that, and we'll click OK.
So, you can see over here we have Taper4, we have Taper3, and we have Taper2 and Taper1. So I've created other ones it's showing here. So the nice thing about this is once you've created it, you can select that art brush, you can select the Paintbrush tool, and if I draw the line, you can see it applies that Taper Brush to that path. Now, you can use this in a lot of different ways. You can just do straight like this, and you can see how it's making, it's stretching that base art over the period of however long your path is that you've drawn out.
Now here's one other thing. At the top you have some controls here, and these you can use a lot as you're drawing. So let's say I didn't like how fat it was, I could go up here and go, I'm going to go down to half that size, and then, instead of it being a distinct oval, I'm going to select Uniform and select this. It comes to a point on each side, and we'll just go ahead and draw this same exact length path as up there, and you can see the effect you get. You can get a whole new effect with the exact same brush.
You can also, if you see this little shape right here, I created this size nib. You can create your nib size or your base art size to be the exact size you want to utilize the brush, and that way you don't have to mess with your sizing on the art brush itself. And I used this brush right here, made from this base art, and so I can go ahead and draw this out like this as well. Now, we'll go ahead and select this, delete this. Now, with this same brush selected, I can go up here to Opacity, and I can select, let's say, 30% opacity, so if I draw it out, it's now gray.
I can also select this brush here. And I'm going to go over to Transparency, and I'm going to select blend mode Multiply, and now, if I draw out certain things, you can see that now it's going to multiply. So it works really well for doing sketches, and you can use this style for doing gesture drawing, as we're going to cover later in the course. But that's how you can create your own Taper Brush, and you can explore different shapes and experiment with different profiles as shown here, and you can get a lot of different results, a lot of variables.
So I'm just showing you the basics. You take it from there, you run with it. And the next one is the Blob Brush. This is an actual tool. It's this one right here. And the way a Blob Brush works is you can select any of these Calligraphic Brushes up here, so we'll select this one, and right now we have Multiply still from our previous, so we're going to go back and reset this to Normal, and I want 100%. And now, with this nib selected, I'm calling it Blob3, that's my brush, then I'm going to select the Blob Brush tool, and if we go over, make sure you're on the Layers so you can draw, if you go over here, you get the same look and feel as the Calligraphic Brush.
The difference is if I select it, it draws shapes, not paths. So, if I take this same nib with the Paintbrush and then I go like this, you can see it has the same look and feel, but the difference between the two, this is based off of a stroke, this is based off of a shape. So it depends on how you like to work. I love using the Blob Brush because it prevents me from having to expand my path to get access to the art. So that works really great. Now, one thing, when you're using the Blob Brush with whatever, we'll switch the size to a large one here, and if I go, actually, let's go down to the small one, if I go here, and I draw this out with my Blob Brush like this, and I'm just drawing a nebulous shape here, if I select this you can see how all of these things are separate, meaning I can grab this piece or grab this piece and move it, and that's nice.
Now, if you don't want it that way, all you have to do is double-click on this, and where it says Merge Only with Selection, deselect it, click OK, and then, if we draw the same type of thing over here and draw these extenders, and now I select it, you can see how it's fused it all together as one piece of art. It's not separate anymore. Now this is the mode I prefer to draw in, where it's all fused together, and it's not separated.
But if you want more flexibility, you can draw it so it's separated. So that's how the Blob Brush works. Along with Calligraphic, the Blob Brush tool, that is, works with the brushes, and that's how I use it. Now the next one is a fun one, and this is a Wash Brush. These are just names I came up with. Illustrator has no product within it called a Wash Brush. I call it that because, as you can see up here, this is the effect we're going to get with this. And so first, we're going to create our base art.
I'm just going to select this simple, make sure we're on the Layers, select this, make sure we select it (laughing), there we go. Select that, and now the first thing I want to do is I want to go up to Effect, and I want to pull down to Style, and I want to go to Feather, and that's going to bring up this window. And under Feather we can see what 12 looks like. That's not bad. I think I don't want it quite that much, so we'll do eight. And then, now that we have it feathered, I want to go ahead and set up some of the characteristics, so we're going to go to the blend mode and select Multiply, and I want this to be very, very faint, only 7% opacity.
And so you can see what you end up with is something really faint. Now, the next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to drag this into the Graphic Styles panel right here, and as you can see I have these set up, and this one's called Wash45, so I'm going to double-click this, and I'm going to name this one Wash7%. Now I name it whatever my settings were so I can remember it later without having to use it and then select it and then see what the settings are.
So now that we have that created, we can start painting with it. So what we're going to do is we're going to go ahead and select this Graphic Style that we just created. We're going to select a Calligraphic Brush, this one right here, and we're going to select the Blob Brush tool. Actually, let's make sure we have that selected. So we have the Graphic Style selected, the nib selected, and the Blob Brush tool selected. And now, if we come over here and we just draw whatever the shape is, it applies that styling to this shape.
Now this is pretty faint, so let's pick a larger nib, this 35 one, and make sure we have the Graphic Style selected and the Blob Brush selected, and just watch how nice this looks. Look at that. And then you go over it. Notice how it's adding to it. So this is a case where I don't want that functionality, so I'll go back in, and I'm going to select Merge Only with Selection and click OK. What that's going to enable me to do now is go ahead and draw over this, and look at how you get that tonal variation, just like it's almost like a wash of watercolor.
And that should bring up another point. This is black. You can colorize this any color you want, and as soon as you do that, it applies that color wash, and you can just get all kinds of cool effects. Now this is pretty faint since it's 7%, so you can hardly see it, but it is very authentic-looking in terms of creating a nice wash, and we're going to be using that moving forward in another movie. Now, if you want to see how to create other brush styles, watch my Painting with Vectors course where I cover this topic in a little more detail, and you can get access to some of the cool paintbrushes themselves in that course.
Now that we have our brushes set, we can move forward and demonstrate how to use the various drawing tools in Illustrator to put them to use.
- Creating drawing brushes
- Drawing with the Pencil tool and the Paint Brush tool
- Analyzing form
- Perspective basics
- Proportion and distortion
- Drawing methods
- Contour drawing
- Still life drawing
- Drawing doodles
- Inking and coloring a drawing