Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating an organic pattern brush, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(air whishing) - [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. There is some features in Illustrator that in my opinion don't get used enough. One of them is pattern brushes. So, we're going to look at how you can utilize this simple feature to create some pretty cool effects. So, let's get started. We're going to quickly review how to create a pattern brush. It really isn't hard at all. If you look at this line here.
Think of this as a stroke. Any stroke within a design and you want to apply a pattern brush to it. Now, a pattern brush is just that. It's a pattern, but it's applied like a brush to a stroke in Illustrator. Now, when you create a pattern, all it has to do is repeat seamlessly from left to right. Top and bottom doesn't matter on a pattern brush. It just needs to repeat from left and right, and so, this the artwork we're going to use here, and if I go ahead and create a box that goes from anchor point to the other anchor point like this on this shape and I select these two and intersect them like this, you can see we've created all the artwork needed for a pattern brush.
Now, a pattern brush has to be black. It can't be colored. It needs to be simple black and white, but now if I take this and I clone it, command + c, command + f, and then I just simply side this over until it snaps to the left, you can see how it will just seamlessly repeat from left to right, right to left to infinity. So, that's what you want. Now, it doesn't matter if that repeat itself is centered or not. So, if we look at this artwork down below, it's similar artwork, but the repeat itself falls lower in terms of the artwork itself.
So, if I do the exact same thing here and create this box, select the pattern, select the box and intersect it, you can see that it's created this same repeatable artwork. So, if we clone this and we move it like we did the other one, it's going to repeat. Although, that repeated aspect to the art isn't centered. So, if I take this and select this artwork and center this stroke based off of this artwork, what you're going to see is it will center it like this.
So, when it applies it in Illustrator, it's going to apply it like this. So, that's just something to keep in mind. It doesn't really change the design. It's just something you need to keep in mind. So, let's go to the brushes and we're going to take this first one here and we're just going to drag it over right on top of this document icon. Then we're going to select pattern brush and click okay. Now, one annoying behavior with Illustrator in recent releases is that they have this algorithm that automatically wants to create art for you.
I don't like algorithms creating my art, so turn that off. If you want a corner one, you can create it yourself. Don't let Illustrator do your work for you. That's a bad habit to get into. Method for colorization. You want to make sure to have tints on. Everything else can stay by default and of course, you can name it. We're going to name this one TEST1 like this and we'll click okay. You can see how it showed up here. Now, when you select any stroke, in this case a blue stroke, and we apply this pattern brush to it, it'll take on the color of that stroke.
So, if the stroke's blue, it's going to turn it blue. Now notice, it's only repeating it as many times as it can on the path and it kind of distorts the art in order to fit it. If we distorted this path like this, the artwork becomes less distorted because there's more room for it. So once again, we can take this second one we created here. We'll go through the same process, create the same stroke, no auto generation and we'll go TEST2, and we'll go okay.
Then we'll select this stroke and we'll apply this one. So, you can see how it's centering it no matter if the repeat is lower or in the center. So, that's just something to keep in mind. So, that's how you would create a simple pattern brush. Now, here's another thing to keep in mind. These two patterns are essentially the exact same pattern. One is just built out larger. One is built out smaller. So once again, if we go to our patterns and we drag this one over and we select pattern brush.
We select tint. Turn off auto and on this one we go TEST3 we'll call it, you can see how it creates this long one, and then we'll create this short one here. The exact same way, and we'll go like this. Turn off auto, and we'll go TEST4 like this, and we'll go okay. Now, if we select this long brush and we select the long art we created, it's going to look identical because it's the exact same size.
If we select this short brush and we click on the long one, notice how it distorts it. It's because it's trying to fit that one brush on that one short segment. So, this is where you'll want to keep in mind how you're going to use it because sometimes you'll want to set up a short brush knowing that it's going to be applied to short paths. So, there's a lot of flexibility you can do here. Now, if I selected the long brush and clicked on the short one here, you can see there's relatively no difference because it can just repeat that several times over the path, but when it goes the other way, short path, long brush, you're going to get more distortion.
Now obviously, as you move a brush out, it's going to look better because there's more room. Now, this doesn't apply really on circular shapes because those can seamlessly, here's the long brush applied to the inner one and the short brush applied to that one. You're not going to see much change there because they're more forgiving if they're circular shapes, but those are things you want to keep in mind as you're working with pattern brushes. So, let's take a look at how we can apply pattern brushes and create really unique and authentic effects.
So, we have some more brushes we're going to create here and it's going to utilize the same methodologies. So, we'll drag this one over like this. We'll select pattern brush. We'll go okay, and go like this, and we're going to call this one I don't know, DNA1. Let's call it that and we'll go tints and we'll go okay. So, it's created our DNA1 down here.
We're going to select this one which essentially the short brush we already created here. So, actually what we can do is we can just double click into this one and we can just call this one DNA2 like that. We can go okay and we're going to actually move that one down below so it's in the same order. We'll take this one, we'll drag this one over and we'll go okay. Get rid of the auto art. This one we'll call DNA3 like this.
So we can color it we'll go tint, we'll go okay. So, we have DNA3 here. Then we're going to take this very simple one, drag this over here. Same thing, it's a pattern brush, turn off auto and this will be DNA4 and we'll colorize the tints and we'll go okay. So, now we have all of the brushes needed to pull off the effect. So, the first one we want to do is we'll want to select this blue one and we're going to apply this brush here.
So, we'll apply that, and let's see what the stroke size is. I want this a little less like there. I think that looks good, and now we're going to do the next one which is going to be kind of this orangish color, and we want to apply our funky DNA1 on to this and ooh, that looks kind of cool, but that's too big. So, let's knock this down. Let's go to 75 points.
That looks pretty good, and let's go to the next one which is, we'll do the green one I guess, like there and we're going to apply, well, let's do this one. Ooh, that looks cool. And then on this one, I think one, maybe two. Let's see what two looks like. No, that's too big. Let's keep it at one. That looks good.
Actually, I'm going to go back to this orange one because now that it's overlapping the other one, I think it'll look cool if we use a blend mode. So, let's go to multiply. Oh yeah! That's the look and feel I'm going for. Let's go ahead and zoom in. Yeah, that's looking really cool. We'll select this last one here, and on this one we'll do this one. Oh yeah, that's looking really good now.
That's good. Let's go and turn multiply on this one, too. Oh yeah, perfect. Okay, so that looks cool, and it looks very organic and very kind of free form, but it's utilizing pattern brushes. So, I always try to show an example of how you could use this (chuckles), and I'll be honest with you, I was just playing with this and what I came up with, I go God, that looks really cool, but what could I use it for, and then it hit me.
Absolutely perfect usage for this. Yes, it's a pharmaceutical ad for Zombatex. It's a mutant blocker so you can (laughs) protect you and your loved ones during the zombie apocalypse. So, this is actually a little bit scary at how appropriate this looks for this genre because there's a lot of crazy names and this actually isn't that crazy compared to some of those pharmaceutical company names out there. So, it'd be nice if you could use gradients within the context of pattern brushes, but for whatever reason you can't.
Hopefully, that changes at some point, but it's an easy way to create an organic flare within the context of any type of design or illustration when used well. So, it takes some time, and I encourage you to experiment with this process yourself and see what you can create with pattern brushes. Do you have a question you'd like to see answered in a DVG Lab movie? Then send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll consider it for a future movie.
Thank you for watching DVG Lab and until next time never stop drawing and avoid those zombies.
Skill Level Intermediate
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