Illustrator brush strokes

by Design Workshop Sydney

Utilizing brush strokes in Illustrator is a good way to add dynamism and interest to existing artwork. There are several brush libraries which come with the program, or you can create your own custom brushes. We show you how in our Adobe Illustrator courses.Print
If you can’t see the Brushes panel, first go to Window drop-down menu and choose Brushes. There are a few brushes stacked here, but to access the brush libraries which ship with Illustrator, go to the options fly-out button on the top right of the brushes panel > Open Brush Library. You’ll see a variety of brush types; a commonly used one is the Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil set. Some brushes work with a drawing tablet, and are pressure-sensitive. Most however work fine when drawing with the mouse.
Draw a path with either the Pen, Pencil or Brush tool. Then select the path with the Selection tool (the black arrow), and click on the brush type in the brushes panel. The brush will be applied to the path. You may now change the stroke weight and colour for variations on the effect.
To create your own brush, like the dotted brush stroke illustrated here, first create a small dot of any colour. Drag it into the Brushes panel. A dialog box will open asking which type of brush you wish to create: Scatter, Art or Pattern. A scatter brush is a bit like a spray can and a little difficult to predict or control. An art brush is like a calligraphy stroke. And a pattern brush creates a repeat pattern, like the yellow dots in the example above.
Once created, this brush will be saved with the document, but you can also load it into a new document in future from this document. Again, go to the brush panel options fly-out button and choose Open Brush Library > Other Library > then navigate to the document in which your brush has been saved.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or self-taught, our courses will help you gain self-confidence in your Illustrator workflow, as well as adding to your professional skill-set. See many examples of our Illustrator clients’ work on our Facebook page.
Other related Illustrator Blog Posts:
Illustrator workspace
Illustrator basics
Illustrator clipping masks
Illustrator live trace
Illustrator brushes