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Art Brushes

Lesson 5 from: Create Brushes in Adobe Illustrator

Jason Hoppe

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Lesson Info

5. Art Brushes

Art brushes two different ways in which they can represent the artwork defined in the brush. Long or short strokes that the artwork is applied over or create brushes with ends that can be made any length without distortion
Next Lesson: Bristle Brushes

Lesson Info

Art Brushes

Next up on the list, art brushes. What are art brushes? Well, we have a couple basic art brushes here in the brushes panel. This charcoal feather and this kind of divider here. Now art brushes are kind of interesting in terms of how this content actually works because art brushes have some unique capabilities to them. And there's a couple variations on how we can make this happen. So an art brush could be something as simple as a line, but yeah, that's not really what an art brush can do. So let me show you a couple of the cool features of an art brush. So here with the charcoal feather I've simply created a line and then I've applied my charcoal feather. If I take my brush tool and I use the charcoal feather I can paint something like this. And you can see that the entire quality of the line simply goes over the length of the line. A very short pole, it condenses this all in, and if I were to create a shape and apply this brush to the stroke here you can see that it starts and stops. ...

So you can call this interesting or you can call this kind of annoying, that you get a very different look and a very different style of this brush when you go and you make a long or short or an opened or a closed container. Yes, that's one thing that happens with the art brushes. Another very interesting thing with the art brush is something like this, where we can control this art brush and we can control this internal shape but we can also end it and start it with certain interesting things. Now what's different about this style of art brush is that if I do a very short line, so if I grab my line segment or my brush tool, and I do something like this and I apply the divider to it, or if I take my brush tool and I paint something like this and I apply that to it, you notice that it doesn't stretch the end artwork like it does this. So different attributes, different settings here that control how this particular type of art brush works. So let's find out how this actually happens. In fact, let's create our own art brush. So I'm gonna try something interesting here. I'm gonna take just a line segment. Draw a line and I'm going to go under the Effect menu and I'm gonna apply an effect on this line so I can go and I can create this art brush. So I can simply paint with this effect. And I'm going to go to distort and transform, and I'm going to do roughen. And with this roughen up comes the roughen window. Maybe I want more like a smooth line here and it can control the amount of detail and I can control the size of this as well. And the smoothness right there. Okay, so this is what I'd like to turn into a brush. Kind of this rough effect. So I'm going to select this artwork that I've created. Go to the Brushes drop down menu. Click on New Brush. Art brush will not be available unless you've created artwork first. If you haven't created or selected artwork, scatter an art brush will be grayed out Click on Art Brush and then click OK. So here's my rhythm and this is what it looks like right here. Okay, great. You know, nothing special, but a very different dialogue box than we've seen in any of our other brushes right here. Let's see how this works. I'm just gonna simply click OK. Now I'm going to take my brush, or draw a line or draw a shape, and I'm going to come in here, draw this. Okay, so it kind of looks like an unraveled string. That's a cool look. Didn't take me a lot of time to draw by hand. So I like that. I'm gonna draw a shorter line here. Oh yeah, see how it really condenses it in there too. And this could be a problem because if I wanted to apply this to something, say like a circle, and I apply this kind of rhythm to a circle. That could be cool. But if I decide that I want to take out part of that circle, all of a sudden when I take out a section of that circle right here you could see that it totally shifts that. And you know, it may just not give me what I'm looking for. So I do run that risk. With smaller lines it becomes more condensed. With larger lines it becomes more extended. That may be acceptable, but it may not. But here's the thing. We can change these things. So double clicking back on the rhythm brush that I created here. The default is is to stretch to fit the stroke length. So since this was my existing artwork here, and it has this amount of variation, you have a very short line. You're gonna get that over a very short period of time. This is stretched out. So it's obviously going to stretch it. I'm gonna scale this proportionately instead and I'm gonna click the Preview button and see what this does. Ah, now what this does is this actually takes it, instead of squishing it within the length, it scales it proportionately. A long line is then going to go ahead and have a much longer but a much bolder weight because it's taking and it's keeping all of the parameters in there. It's just reducing or enlarging overall with a length of the line. I'm gonna click OK. And apply that to the strokes. Could we change this? Of course we could because these stroke weights can be affected by the actual stroke weight itself. So if I were to go in here and reduce the stroke weight of this down, it does something funny. Not only does it reduce the weight of the stroke but it also reduces the intensity of this as well. And this is not something that we saw when we were doing our calligraphic brush here, but this is something that we have to think about when we're using an art brush. So it's kind of a toss up on what you want to do. Now, the third thing that we're going to talk about here is going in and stretching between the guides. And what does stretching between the guides actually do? Well in this case, nothing at all. And the reason why is because we're going to create a different type of art brush, where this stretch between guides is going to be the key to how this works. So what I showed you is the proportional and the stretch to fit stroke length in this. I'm gonna cancel out of this and I'm gonna give myself some working space here. And what I want to do is I want to create a new art brush but a totally different style of art brush. So this could be a little bit of fun. So I'm gonna create just a very simple art brush here. I'm gonna create a line and make sure it's a basic line. Add a little bit of weight to it and I'm gonna throw some color on it as well, right there. Okay. I'm gonna duplicate this line and you can create any type of artwork that you like. This I'm gonna change the color of as well. Maybe go for a nice burgundy and I'm gonna bump that stroke weight down. I'm gonna duplicate it so we have kind of this section right here, okay? Now what I'd like to do is I'd like to put some interesting ends on these lines here. So I'm gonna do something fairly simple. Maybe I'm just gonna take a polygon here and I'm gonna rotate that polygon a bit so that we get those sides kind of vertical right here. And I'm gonna plunk that kind of on the ends and maybe bump up the stroke weight there a little bit. Have some fun. You know, widget the corners just a little bit. And maybe I'm gonna even just throw in a color. Why not, you know? Because it's fun. I'm gonna throw some color in here as well. So there's my shape. I think I'm gonna reduce that down in size too because those are gonna be really big ends. I'm gonna go much smaller here and make that work a little bit better. Now, again, you can create any artwork that you'd like but what I'm doing here is I'm setting this up so that I have artwork that is gonna have kind of like this continuous middle in it, and you're gonna see why. So here's the artwork that I would like to go ahead and I would like to turn into an art brush. I'm gonna select all my artwork. Brushes panel, new brush, art brush, click OK. And I'm gonna call this my long line of weight. So the default is stretch stroke between the stroke length there. All right, so we know what happens when I do this. If I draw a line and I apply this to it then it's going to squish the entire thing. Short line, it really squishes that whole thing. Long line, it then extends the end there because it's basing it on my existing shape right here. So those settings that I showed you before with this line don't work well with this at all. But what does work really well with this is this method. So I'm gonna draw a line. Apply the long line of weight to this and I'm gonna double click on this here. Here what I want to do is I'm going to go and I'm gonna use the stretch between guides function. I don't wanna stretch the ends. I want the ends to remain exactly the same size and not get distorted vertically or horizontally. So what I do is I choose the stretch between guides and then I position the guides of where I can freely stretch this shape. And it really doesn't matter inside here because these are a line. So it just simply stretches the line. And of course, when you stretch a line, what happens? The line just gets longer. So I reduce the amount of area that is going to pay attention to here. I'm gonna scale that down. And now the ends will always remain the same proportion. Always, but I'm gonna stretch what's in here. So I can expand and contract this without the distortion of this section of the line. Now this wouldn't work if I had all these crazy movement in here, but it works if I'm trying to do something in terms of like a header or a banner or something like that. This is great. So I'm going to click OK. And I'm gonna apply this to the strokes here. And when I do this, you'll notice, oh my gosh, it doesn't distort the ends. So now I'm going to try this with different types of lines. I'm gonna grab my brush tool. I'm gonna take my long line weight. I'm gonna paint with my brush tool and apply that. Look at that. So it takes, it does distort the ends a little bit because it's kind of rounded. But if I started off straight and then did my loop and then came down to straight again, it's gonna keep that. And see how it stretches the whole thing? However, something that you do have to pay attention to with this, if your line is too short like this and you apply this to it do you see how it squishes the end? Because when we set this up we had a very large space between these right here. Huge amount of space. So word of advice, when you create something like this, when you create something and you want to turn this into an art brush here, here's what you do. Take your items, move them all together here and create a very short version of this. And then select this whole thing. Create a new brush from this. I wanna create an art brush. I click OK. I want to stretch it between the guides. Here I can stretch it between the guides so that even if we draw an exceptionally short line, like this, I'm not going to run into having the ends squished at all because really, maybe we draw a line that's 20 points long. That's all we need to stretch. 'Cause we can stretch this into infinity. So I'm gonna call this my short stretch and I'm gonna click OK. Now let's try that. So if I draw a line and apply the short stretch, great. Draw a very short line and apply that. Okay, so that's like super short, but you see it's not quite as long as my existing one. So there's a certain size that I can't go below without having an issue with this. But it's something to think about. So, very interesting way we can control these art brushes. Both as kind of like a random effect or going in and being able to apply an art brush and being able to stretch this while keeping the ends together. Where would this come into play? Banners. This is phenomenal for banners. If you ever wanted to create a banner this is the thing to do. And by the way that's why it's got that little banner effect right there. If I create a banner from this, I'm going to create this shape. Now I'm going to select this banner. Drop down, new brush, art brush, click OK. Stretch between the guides. Set those guides so that it will only stretch the center portion of the banner. And you can drag those guides by the way. You don't have to use your little up and down arrows here. I just do this. Of course, you can also use your down arrows too, or up arrows on your keyboard. If you wanna make that goes fast, hold down your Shift key. And you can see that your up or down arrows on your keyboard will make that go in 10 point increments. Just a little trick. Now I'm gonna click OK. Now if I draw a line or use my brush and I'd like to create the banner, I could draw my brush. There's my banner. It doesn't look that awesome. It would work better if I actually draw a line and then use my curvature tool to click on a point and create a nice flowing curve with that and then jump over to my banner. And that's how I can create a scalable banner and change the size of it. That's a cool application of the art brush. And that wraps up the art brushes and the different methods of art brushes or different styles of art brushes that you can create.

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Illustrator Brushes

Ratings and Reviews

Angie redpolkadot

Illustrator is my favorite Adobe product, and I have been using it for a while, but I still learned so much watching this webinar. And Jason's teaching style is pleasant to listen to, and his enthusiasm is infectious.


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