Illustrator Art Brushes
2006 at 08.23 am posted by Veerle Pieters
The last couple of days brought me a lot of inspiration, because of the places I’ve visited. No stress, well expect to catch a train at 6.30 a.m. for Paris after 3 hours of sleep coming back from London. In fact, that was a bit crazy. A little too much in a short time (London, Paris and then driving to Normandy Honfleur). And so, I felt the urge sketch and draw this weekend and so I came up with some ideas, like using art brushes on text in Illustrator ...
When I was at @media, I didn't do any sightseeing in London like I did last year. So as you can see Paris gave me inspiration as well as Honfleur, but this one I'll save for later :)
Tracing the sketch vs final result
As always I start from a sketch, scan it and trace it using the Pen tool in Illustrator.
As you can see I used some Illustrator brushes for my drawing here. Illustrator has some amazing Brush Libraries you can use. Only, you need to load them. You do this by choosing the Window menu and choose Brush Libraries and then select one of the libraries available in the submenu.
Applying brush strokes on text
Did you know you can use these brushes on text as well? And did you know that your text remains editable? These Brushes are in fact Illustrator Effects, but they are applied as strokes. After applying this brush effect, the text in my illustration is totally editable. Oh and you can layer several brush strokes on top of each other using the Appearance palette. Now how cool is that? :)
If you select the text using the Selection or Direct Select Tool, you can apply a brush stroke to the text. Go to the Appearance palette and choose "Add New Stroke" from the fly-out menu.
A 1 pt black border will be added to the text. Change the color and choose a special brush in the brush palette. For my illustration I chose Dry Ink 2 found in the "Artistic Ink" Brush Library. The thickness of the stroke will probably be much too heavy as you can see from the picture above.
Choose a color that suits perfectly with the fill of the text and reduce the stroke until you get the effect you want.
If you wonder how you get to see the names of the brushes, you need to choose "List View" from the palette's fly-out menu.
Experiment and create your own
Never forget to experiment with these brushes, there are tons of them and You can get real nice effects. Oh or even better, have some fun and create them yourself! Here is what you need to do in short:
- Draw some random straight lines on paper using different crayons or pencils
- Scan them at 300 ppi
- Save them one by one as CMYK Photoshop files
- Open Illustrator CS2 and create a new document
- Select Place from the File menu
- Select your scan and go to LiveTrace select and Tracing Options
- Select Color 16 and 30 - 35 as Max Colors
- Convert your effect into real vector paths by choosing Expand from the Object menu
- Eliminate the light fillings of the paper background by selecting 1 path (using the Direct Selecting Tool) and choose Same Fill Color from the Select menu and press delete
- Creating the brush by selecting your vector brush and click dragging it into the Brush palette
- Select New Art Brush in the New Brush dialog window, click OK
- In the Art Brush Options you can define the direction, size and colorization of the brush
- Choose "Tints" to render the Stroke color that's been applied to the Brushed path
More detailed information on how to create your own Brushes can be found on this site.