Join Sharon Steuer for an in-depth discussion in this video Scaling and distorting brushes by varying line weight, part of Artistic Painting with Illustrator: Object-Creation Brushes.
In this movie, we're going to look at how to control the scale and size of your brush marks and the artwork that your brush makes, both by adjusting stroke weight. And also by looking at an important toggle which you're going to be able to turn on and off to be able to control how your brush scales or doesn't scale. If you're familiar with working with Photoshop brushes, or even illustrator's natural media brushes like the calligraphic brush.
If you select Brushes, so I'm going to select the Calligraphic brushes, and select the Paintbrush Tool. If I then push the right bracket key, my brushes will enlarge in size, and if I push the left bracket key, they will get smaller in size, and the same thing with the bristle brush, and the blob brush. If I use the right bracket keys, I can enlarge the brush, and if I use the left bracket keys, I can make the brush smaller.
Well you can't do that with the brushes that we are talking about here. The art brush, the pattern brush, or the scatter brush. But what you can do is you can increase the stroke weight or decrease the stroke weight. So for instance I'm going to select this frame pattern. And I'm going to increase the stroke weight. And you can scale up, and you can scale down. Same with the art brush. And notice, it doesn't matter at this point now if I've got the paintbrush tool selected.
What I'm doing is increasing or decreasing the stroke weight. Now notice, it isn't necessarily doing what you want it to with the art brush. And we're going to go into that in a minute. And here even with this kind of pattern brush I am going to, change the stroke way and it scales the image for us. And by the way this does work for the other brushes as well It is independent of what the bracket's doing.
The bracket is not registering, the change in stroke weight but you can adjust the stroke weight on the natural media brushes and be able to affect the change as well. So the second part of scaling your brush strokes, whether they be naturalistic, or in this case, object creating brushes, are what happens when you scale your image. And that doesn't matter whether you're using the scale tool, or the bounding box.
I'm going to hold down my Option and Shift key to keep it centred as I'm scaling it, and keep it proportionally scaled. I am actually doing the same thing. I am scaling my brush down. And in fact, it is reflected in the stroke weight. Right? So I'm going to do this again. I'm going to hold down my Option and Shift key. And scale it back up. And you can notice that my stroke weight is changing here. And the scale of my little girls is changing.
Okay. Let's look at the art brush. If I enlarge it here, I'm holding down my Shift key, it's scaling up correctly. And scaling it down, it's scaling it down and again it is affecting the stroke weight as I'm doing it. And the reason why this is happening is because. We have this option which says scale stroke and effects and that is enabled. There are lots of different places in illustrator where you can find this but probably the most convenient is up here in the Control panel under the Transform button.
Which when you click it gives you an instant access to the Transform panel, and this is a toggle. And depending on the definition of your brush, this toggle will either preserve the scaling of your brush or the opposite. So in this case, we're just looking at what it does. I'm going to disable it. And this time, I am just going to, scale my girls. I'm going to scale them up this time, holding down Option and Shift. Look at my stroke weight before I let go.
Notice my stroke rate is 0.717 points. I'm scaling it up. Now look what happened. It's still 0.717 points, but the pattern brush had added more girls in there. And this time I'm going to hold the Shift key and I'm going to scale up my flower and what's happened is I elongated my flower I'm going to move it. Into the artboard so it's easier to see. Instead of scaling it up, it's elongated it and that's because of the kind of definition that this art brush has which we're going to look at later in the art brush section.
That it's just scaling on a particular part of the brush. If I then make my selection and I toggle that transform back on. Can you guess what's going to happen here? I'm going to scale my flower up again and it will keep the elongation but it will literally scale up and I'm scaling up the stroke and I'm going to scale this down again. And it's going to, what? Scale down the stroke and keep the number of girls.
So, this is a toggle and it will change the effect of what you're doing depending on the definition of the brush. So, you're going to come back here. If you go to scale or brush and it isn't doing what you intended to do this is, what you do is you just change this toggle. It can also be found in all of the transformed dialogues. There you go. In the Transform panel, this is a mini version of the panel. And in preferences actually.
So remember no matter what brush you're using you can always change the stroke weight to change the scale. Of your selected brush art, and if you go to scale your brush art, and it is not behaving as you anticipated. For instance, I didn't want to make my girls larger, I wanted to add more girls. I'm going to undo. This time, i'm going to toggle my transform scale strokes and effects. The other way. And when I scale it up, I'm adding the girls.
So, depending on your brush, and depending on what you wish to do with any one brush at any one time. You may need to access the Transform, Scale strokes & Effects, and toggle that either on or off.
See the previous course in the series, Artistic Painting with Illustrator: Natural Media Brushes, for Sharon's insights on more traditional tools like the Paintbrush and Blob Brush.
- Creating and experimenting with object-creation brushes
- Preparing artwork to make into brushes
- Scaling and distorting brushes by varying line weight and stroke profiles
- Stretching versus repeating portions of a brush
- Colorizing complex brushes
- Fixing problem brushes with vector editing tools
- Exploring different ways to make and use pattern brushes
- Customizing pattern brushes and adding auto-corners
- Modifying scatter brush parameters
- Adjusting brush definition and tablet pressure parameters
- Fixing common mistakes
- Using scatter brushes versus symbols
- Warping and bending raster art using brushes
- Combining stroke effects with brushes