Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Painting with the Blob Brush, part of Illustrator CC 2015 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
- In this chapter we'll take our first look at the Blob Brush, which is the tool we'll be using to create this project right here. I'm going to start things off by going up to the File menu and choosing New from Template, or we have that keyboard shortcut of Control Shift N, or Command Shift N on the Mac. Then you want to locate your Center Guides file and click on the New button. All right, now I'll click on the Guides layer here inside the Layers Panel. I don't actually need these guides, so I'll go up to the View menu, choose Guides, and then choose Clear Guides to get rid of them. And now we'll introduce the tracing template, just as we did in the previous chapter, by going up to the File menu and choosing the Place command.
Or you can press Control Shift P, or Command Shift P on the Mac. Now if you have access to the Exercise Files, then navigate to the 11_painting folder, where among other things, you'll find a file called Face sketch.jpg, and then click on the Place button in order to load your cursor. And then click anywhere inside the document in order to introduce a template. Now assuming that Align is set to Align to Artboard, you want to click on each of the center icons, Horizontal Align Center, and then Vertical Align Center.
And next go ahead and click on the word Transform right there, or click on the X, Y, W, or H, and make sure your center point is selected inside the reference point matrix. Make sure that the link is turned on and then change the Width value to 650 points, like so. And if you press the Tab key, that will change the Height value accordingly. All right, now you can press the Escape key in order to hide that panel. And then finally, I figured this guy wanted to be a little bit higher, so I press Shift up arrow to nudge him upward 10 points. All right, now go ahead and double click on an empty portion of the Guides layer to bring up the Layer Options dialog box, rename this layer Template, and turn on the Template check box, and then click Okay and you've got yourself a tracing template.
All right, now go ahead and click on the Drawing layer, and then notice this tool directly above the Pencil Tool in the single column toolbox. by default it's the Paintbrush Tool and you would think that's the tool you want to use, but we're not even going to get to that tool until the Mastery course. And that's because the more fundamentally useful painting tool is the next tool down, which is the Blob Brush. And now, just to make sure you're painting with Black, go ahead and tap the D key, which gets you the Default Colors, and that makes Black the stroke color.
And by default, the Blob Brush works from the stroke color. Nowadays it will also work from the fill color if there is no stroke. And now just go ahead and paint along this line, if you will, and things may end up looking a little bit jagged, especially if you're painting with a mouse, as I am. But as soon as you release, Illustrator goes ahead and automatically smooths that Path Outline. But, not enough for my tastes, so I'm going to go ahead and press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac, to undo that brush stroke, and I'm going to press the Enter key to bring up the Blob Brush Tool Options dialog box.
If you're working with a drawing tablet, you may want to move this slider triangle closer to Accurate. In my case though, I'm going to move it closer to Smooth, like so. And this tends to be a perfect setting right here, one tick mark over from Absolute Smooth when you're painting with a mouse. I also want you to turn on the Keep Selected check box, just so that we can see what's really going on. And notice that the Size value set to 10 points, by default, the Angle is zero degrees, and the Roundness is 100%, at which point you can go ahead and click Okay. And then try painting that line once again, and even if it's pretty shaky, as it is in my case, it's going to smooth up considerably, like so.
And now notice instead of getting an open path outline, as we would if we were drawing with a Pencil Tool, we get a closed path outline filled with the stroke color, as we're seeing here. All right, now I'm going to paint from this corner right there, down into the left along this edge and as soon as I release, even though I have a very wiggly brush stroke, things smooth out very nicely, and Illustrator goes ahead and joins those two brush strokes into a single path outline. Now here's a bit of advice if you want to get nice, sharp corners, don't just try to paint the thing all the way around, like so, because that will get you a soft edge as we're seeing right here.
Instead what you want to do, I'll go ahead and press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac to undo that brush stroke, just paint each one of these brush strokes independently of each other, and let Illustrator join them into a sharper corner, like so. And now I'm just going to go ahead and paint up the nose, and if you're having problems, just slow it down. The slower you go, the more likely it is that you can stay on that line, and then when you release, you're going to get a nice, smooth path outline, as we're seeing right here.
All right, now I'm going to go ahead and paint along the nose, like so. And then I'll paint this part right here in a separate brush stroke, and I'll go ahead and paint the smile, and I'll paint this crease and you can see everything's turning out super smooth, despite my sometimes awkward brush strokes. Now that one wasn't so good, so I'm going to press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac to undo it. And I'm going to try to see if I can give this guy a fuller lip, and that worked out pretty nicely. And now I'm just going to go ahead and paint down his chin.
All right, now let's just go ahead and fill out the cheek over here. And incidentally, if you find that painting in one direction doesn't work for you, as it's not really working for me, then just go ahead and undo your brush stroke and try painting in the other direction instead. And bear in mind folks, that I am left handed, and so if you're a right hander you might find that it's easier to paint in the opposite directions you see me working right now. All right, now I'll just go ahead to paint this eyelid and I'll paint in this brush stroke up here and you can see this is a pretty jagged stroke, but it ends up reconciling nicely.
And now I'll just paint this little edge for his eye. And now despite the fact that I have painted a total of 18 successful brush strokes, Illustrator has fused them into a single closed path outline. And that's at least the basics of working with the Blob Brush here inside Illustrator.
Start watching to learn how to create multipage documents with artboards; how to draw anything you can imagine with the Pen, Pencil, and Curvature tools; and how to start adding color to your artwork with swatches. Deke also covers drawing shapes, adjusting strokes, formatting text, and painting digitally, with or without a tablet. Each chapter should leave you with a new set of skills—and a sense of accomplishment.
And as Creative Cloud evolves, so will we. Check back every time Illustrator updates for new movies, new feature reviews, and new ways to work.
- Opening, creating, saving, and closing documents
- Working with artboards
- Zooming and panning
- Drawing lines, arcs, grids, and spirals
- Drawing shapes
- Creating compound paths
- Working in RGB vs. CMYK color modes
- Creating and applying swatches
- Adjusting the line weight of strokes
- Formatting text
- Building custom paths with the Shape Builder and Join tools
- Freeform drawing with the Pencil
- Painting and erasing artwork
- Painting with a tablet
- Drawing with the Curvature tool
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 02/24/2016. What changed?
A: We added five new videos and updated eight others, to keep up with the latest version of Illustrator CC.
Welcome to One-on-One4m 20s
1. Working with Documents
2. Working with Artboards
3. Getting Around
4. Drawing Lines
5. Drawing Shapes
6. Color and Swatches
7. Strokes, Dashes, and Arrows
8. Creating and Formatting Text
9. Building Custom Paths
10. Using the Pencil Tool
Creating a tracing template3m 28s
11. Painting and Erasing
12. Using the Curvature Tool
13. Using the Pen Tool
14. Drawing with Round Corners
15. Making Screen Graphics
Until next time1m 50s
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