Learn how to modify the art brush using options.
Obviously there are tons of techniques and methods for creating art that you'll be using to make a brush, but I thought it would be helpful to share with you some techniques that I'm using to create some of the brushes that we will be using in this section of the course. The art that I'm showing you here will be used in a more complex brush that we'll be creating in a later movie in this chapter. I'm going to start off by using my Ellipse Tool and we'll go ahead and create a black fill, and no stroke, and I'm going to draw a small circle. I'm holding down the Shift key so that it becomes a perfect circle, and then I'm going to draw a slightly larger circle.
I'm going to select both of the circles and I'm going to use the Align palette and align their horizontal centers. Now I'm going to use my Blend Tool to create copies of the circles that are going to go from larger to smaller. I'm going to double-click on the Blend Tool and instead of using the Smooth Color spacing, I'll switch to Specified Steps. I'm going to reduce the number of steps to probably about seven. You might want to check Preview so that you can ensure that you're getting the right amount of copies.
I'm going to click OK, and now what I'd like to do is I'd like to equally space these out. In order to do that I'm going to need to expand the shape, so I'll go to Object, Expand, and expand the shape. Now I'm going to go back to the Align palette, I'm going to go to the wing menu and choose Show Options. I'm going to use the Distribute Spacing setting for distribute vertical centers. Now this didn't work because I neglected to ungroup the circles. Let's go back and use Object, Ungroup, and then we'll try that again.
Now you can see that my circles are going to be equally spaced out. I'm going to use my Line Tool and I'm going to draw a line that intersects the circles. To ensure that this line is in the center of the circles, I'll select both the circles and the line, and once again use horizontally align centers. Now I want to switch to my Pathfinder tool, and I'll use the Divide function to divide these in half. Now that I've done that, I'll use the Group Selection Tool and I'll select just half of the circles, and we'll scooch them over.
You can see that now I have a segment of half-circles. I'm going to select one half of the circles and I'm going to create a copy. I'll just go ahead and paste the copy in. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to rotate the new set of circles, or reflect the new set of circles so they're facing the opposite direction. I want to reflect them horizontally, so they go from large to small. I'll click OK, and now what I'm going to do is I'm going to use my Group Selection Tool and I'm going to move them so that they line up precisely with the existing set of circles.
At this point I can delete one of the large circles, since they're sitting on top of each other, and just to ensure that these are all aligned properly, I'll use my Align palette, and this time we'll use Horizontally Align Left. Now, I have a set of circles that go from small to large and back to small again. We're going to turn this into a brush, so I'll open my Brush panel and I'm going to drag these half-circles into the Brush panel and create a new Art Brush. We'll go ahead and use all the default settings.
I'm going to change the Colorization Method to Tints. We'll click OK, and now you can see that if I use my Brush Tool, I have a new brush that's going to apply these half-circles. As I mentioned, we'll be using these in one of our future movies. We're going to create one more bit of artwork. To do this, I'm going to go into my Layer palette, and I'll create a new layer, and we'll just hide the half-circle layer. Now we're going to create a second piece of artwork that we'll be using later on in this chapter. This artwork is going to be used in one of our more complex brushes, a jellyfish brush.
This is going to be one of the tentacles. I'm going to start off by drawing an elliptical-type shape. I want to make sure that I have a black fill and no stroke. I'm going to use my Convert Anchor Point Tool to make sure that the endpoints are not curved but corner points. This creates an almond-type shape. Now that I have this shape selected, I'm going to go into Effects, Distort & Transform, and we'll pick Zig Zag. In the Zig Zag dialog box, I'm going to check Preview so that I can make sure what I'm getting is what I ultimately want.
The size actually looks pretty good, and so do my Ridges per segment. I'm going to change the points to be a smooth point rather than a corner point. This is going to give me a nice wavy edge on my shape. I'll go ahead and click OK. Now I'm going to want to divide the shape in half, but before I do that I'm going to need to expand the shape. So with the shape selected I'm going to use Object, Expand Appearance. This will lock in the zig zags into the shape. Now I'm going to use my Line tool and I'm going to create a line that intersects the shape.
Once again, I'll select both the line and the shape, and use Align Horizontal Center. Then I'm going to switch to the Pathfinder and use the Divide function once again. At this point, I have a half of the wavy shape. I'm going to use my Direct Selection Tool and instead of having the ends be collapsed, I'm going to extend them out a little bit, so that they are a little more sloped. I'm just using my arrow key to nudge these over. You may want to use the handles just to make them a little more pointy on the ends, but obviously this is up to you.
You can modify this shape as you want to. I don't need the other side of the shape so I'm just going to delete that. Let's take the shape and move it down on the artboard just a little bit. Now I'm going to create a line that is going to appear next to the shape. I'm going to make sure that the stroke color is set to black, and that there's no fill. I'm going to increase the stroke weight, and we'll try with a stroke weight of about 16 to start with. I'm going to open up my Stroke pane, and make sure that I'm seeing the additional options.
If you don't see them you can always go into the wing menu and choose Show Options. Here I'll have the option to choose a round cap which will round the ends of my line. I'm also going to go up to the variable width option, and I'm going to change the variable width profile to width profile five, which is more like a teardrop shape. At this point, now that I see this, I realize that I probably need to make the brush a little bit larger. That looks a little bit better. Now I'm going to reposition the wavy-edged shape next to this shape, and I'll use my Direct Selection Tool once again, and I'm going to nudge these endpoints so that they're slightly closer to the ridge-type shape.
Now as I do this, depending on how many extra anchor points you have, you may need to adjust some of the other anchor points as well, and you might possibly even need to use your Convert Anchor Point Tool and grab some handles out. I want this shape to kind of form next to the teardrop-type shape, so if I drag out some handles, I can ensure that this will work in the way that I want it to. I'll just make some minor modifications.
Using my Direct Selection Tool and nudging these ending points in just a little bit more. That looks pretty good. Now I'm going to take this artwork and I'm going to select it, and I'll drag it into my Brush palette. We're going to create a new art brush. I'll click OK, and I'm going to name this art brush tentacle1. I'm going to go ahead and leave the default settings, except that I'll change the Colorization Method to Tints.
I'm going to click OK. And now if I draw a new stroke, you can see that my art is going to be rendered on the path. Now let me point out one thing to you. I'm going to go ahead and make a slightly more curved version of my artwork. And I'm going to take this new artwork, I'm going to expand it. And I'm going to create a new brush out of this artwork. Once again I'm creating an art brush.
I'm going to click OK and use the default settings, and click OK. Now, when we created the original brush, it was very linear and straight, so when I draw a path and apply, this is the new brush, but if I apply the original brush, you can see how the brush flows and follows the path, and it doesn't matter if the path is pointing left to right, or right to left. I get really nice look with my brush. As opposed to the brush that was curved that we make, where we get kind of weird sporadic types of results.
I find that when I create brushes, if my original artwork is a little more linear, I have a lot more flexibility in using the brush later on, because it will follow the direction of the curve in a more optimal way. So these are just a couple tips that I thought would be helpful to you. I hope that you found it helpful to see some of my workflow. I really like to utilize all of the features in Illustrator which help me to be more creative, and in turn produce art that can help me be more productive.
- Working with Illustrator brushes
- Loading preset brushes
- How brushes respond to variations
- Changing colorization options
- Adding textures and effects
- Segmenting a brush
- Creating a watercolor effect
- Incorporating shading
- Distributing on a path
- Adding endcaps
- Creating a complex pattern
- Using gradients
- Combining brushes
- Saving custom art brushes