Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Paintbrush tool, part of Introducing Illustrator.
In this movie, I'll demonstrate how to work with the paintbrush tool, which is an exceedingly useful, expressive drawing tool, which means that it allows you to lay down a brush stroke in pretty much the same way you draw in the real world, especially if you're equipped with a drawing tablet. I happen to have a Wacom Intuos. An you can learn more about these things, at wacom.com. Drawing tablets cost anywhere from less than $100 at the low end, to in the case of the one I'm using, about $350.
And I also have a pressure-sensitive stylus, meaning that I can achieve just about any results I want. Now, if you don't have such a tablet, then you're going to get pretty different results drawing with a mouse, in which case, you may just want to sit back and let me demonstrate what's possible. I'll go ahead and click on this second artboard right here, the one that contains the empty faces, and then I'll go up to the View menu, and choose Fit Artboard in Window, or you can press Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on a Mac.
And I may zoom in just a little bit farther as well, and notice that the paint brush tool is located directly below the shape tools here inside the toolbox. You can select a brush up here in the control panel by clicking on the central pop up menu, but that ends up blocking my view of my artwork. So instead, I'm going to get to the panel the way you can get to all panels inside of Illustrator. From the window menu. So I'll click on window, and then I'll choose brushes, to bring up the brushes panel.
Now you may have to drag the bottom of the panel to expand it, so you can better see what you're doing. And then, I'm going to click on the little page button, in order to bring up the new brush dialogue box. I'm going to create a caligraphic brush which can be either round or elliptical and so I'll make sure that option is selected and then I'll click OK. Next, you'll see this big dialogue box. I'm going to call this brush 50 point elliptical, let's say. And then, notice that you can adjust the roundness of the brush, by dragging these handles inside this little preview.
And you can change its angle by dragging on the arrow. I'm going to enter some values that I came up with in advance. I'll change the angle value to negative 20. And then I'll change the roundness to 40% and I'll tab my way down to the size value and take it up to 50 points. Now I want the size to vary with the pressure that I apply to the stylus, so I'll switch from fixed to pressure. And then I want as much variation as possible so I'll click this down-pointing arrowhead and max it out, and the most variation you can have is the size value which in my case is 50 points.
Now I'll click okay in order to accept that change. Alright, now, armed with my tablet I'll go ahead and draw a few lines inside of my artwork and notice the couple of things. First of all when I release, illustrator automatically smooths out my path outlines and also see when press light, I get a thinner line, and when I press hard, I get a thicker line like so. So I'll just go ahead and draw a few other things, maybe an eye at this location here, and other eye, right about there.
Then I'll add some wrinkles. And again, if you're drawing with a mouse, you're not going to get these variable line weights. You're just going to get uniform strokes. So that's one way to create brush strokes by painting directly with the paintbrush tool. Another way is to select existing path outlines and applying brush strokes to them so I'm going to switch to my selection tool. Up here at the top of the toolbox, and I'll go ahead and click on one of these paths like so. And all a path outline is by the way, is a series of segments as they're known, that run through anchor points, and we'll be seeing more and more of these over the course of future movies.
Now at this point I want to select all the brown strokes. So, I'll go up to the control panel, and notice this final icon that reads, select similar objects. Just go ahead and click on it, and that'll select all those brown strokes like so. Now I have a specific brush in mind, but it's not available to me by default. I have to load it up from the many brush libraries that ship along with Illustrator. And to do so, I'll click on this little library icon in the lower left corner of the brushes panel. And I'll go to artistic, and then I'll choose artistic ink.
And that'll bring up this floating panel right here. I'll go ahead and expand it by dragging down on the bottom of the panel. And notice this brushstroke midway down. It's called Fountain Pen. I'll go ahead and click on it to apply it, and I end up getting these rough brush strokes here. And this by the way, you can do along with me, whether you've got a pressure-sensitive stylus or not. Also notice that that automatically adds fountain pen to my brushes panel. Now I'll go ahead and close this floating panel, by clicking at the X, in the title bar, at the top of the panel there.
And now let's say I want to change the direction, of a few of these strokes. I'll go ahead and click off the path outlines to deselect them. And then, I'm going to draw a marquee up across the top of these hairs, and you just want to select the top of the four hairs like so, and that'll select all of them. It's just that you only partially have to marquee a path to select it. And now we want to add a couple of paths to the selection, and you do that by pressing the Shift key and clicking. So Shift+Click on this path outline. That'll select it as well.
And then Shift+Click on the one that represents the jaw. Incidentally, Shift+Clicking also deselects the path outline. So, if I were to Shift+Click again, I would turn that path off. Anyway, I'm going to Shift+Click to select it. And now I want to change the direction of these paths. And you do that by going to the bottom of the brushes panel. Notice this little square right here, that says options of selected object. Go ahead and click on it, and that brings up the dialogue box that allows you to switch a few things.
I'm going to turn on the preview check box so that I can see what I"m doing and then Ill turn on flip along, and that'll change the direction of these brush strokes as you see here. Then click OK in order to accept that change. And that's how you draw with the paintbrush tool, as well as how you apply brush strokes to existing path outlines here inside Illustrator.
- Setting up your first Illustrator document and artboards
- Drawing and painting basic shapes with the brush tools
- Creating and formatting text
- Coloring artwork with fills, strokes, and gradients
- Working with paths to create free-form shapes
- Creatively applying dynamic effects that are automatic and editable
- Tracing scanned artwork to create digitally editable graphics