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Adobe Illustrator CC - Essentials Training

Class Project 06 - How to use Brushes in Adobe Illustrator CC (Draw 5 elements on the piggy bank image)

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this tutorial we're going to look at Brushes, where we take kind of ordinary lines like this and give them lovely, cool, artistic Brush Strokes. They look hand drawn. We're going to add wings, add a crown, we're going to make a star. We're going to fill this star. All sorts of awesomeness in Adobe Illustrator. Let's go and do that now.

So it's time to use Brushes. And yes, in between videos, if you're following along, I went back and made my flames a whole lot cooler, and my arrows a lot nicer, just by redrawing them with the Pencil Tool. I couldn't help myself. So what we're going to do is Brushes.

First of all we need something to add the Brushes to. So we're going to grab the Pencil Tool. Let's add kind of wings to her. So I'm going to do it in lots of little bits. Now the reason I don’t do them all in one big go, you could, let's do one with one big go. So one really good wing, but whenever smoothing's on, so when I let go it looks marginally better. I'm going to add more wings on this side but I'm going to do them as separate pieces. Now I'm just going to show you the difference really. I'm going to draw some circles. You can see that one there completed the circle. We want to see how it works.

We'll draw some little more half circles in here. So with my 'Black Arrow', I'm going to select all of these guys. It's a little bit harder now because we've got things all over the place. So you might have to click one, hold 'Shift' and keep clicking until you got them all, but I can kind of drag a box round them all, these guys. Great.

First thing I need to do, is the Stroke's going to be 'white'. And I'm going to open up my 'Brushes' panel. Now before we open up Brushes, it's nice, especially with the Brushes, if you use a smaller size to get started with. Doesn't matter, you can do it afterwards, but let's get down to '0.25'. Really thin line. Now your Brushes, there's lots built into Illustrator. The basics are in here. There are actually lots that you can go and find online, often they're free.

So 'Window', let's go to 'Brush Libraries'. In here, probably the most exciting ones are ones under Vector Packs. These two here, we'll look at these two, plus one other. Grunge brushes vector pack, we're going to do. Then we'll move it off to the side here. I'm going to drag the bottom of it so I can see the different options. Click on the first one. By default it's gone back to 1 point, so don’t listen to me. You can change it afterwards. Go into something a little bit smaller. Now, you can see, that's the smallest option for the drop down, and it's kind of cool, kind of looks quite artistic, right?  But it's still maybe quite fixed, so you can actually just type in, so 0.25 is kind of hairline, which is quite small but I can go to 0.05. Hit 'return'. Getting quite small. I'm going to click off.

The difference really is now we're just looking for things we like, that look all right, so I'm just going to draw a box around these guys and 'Shift' click these two to get rid of-- I don’t even know what that is. That was a smiley face I drew earlier. I'm going to 'Shift' click all of these, got all of them selected. I'm going to go to 'white' Stroke. I'm not going to lower the size yet, I'm going to pick one of these other ones. You can see-- let's have a look at one of these ones.

There's a couple of things we need to be aware of. Is that, because this is such a long line it's trying to smear itself down quite a long path. Now, some of the problem is the size. I'm going to turn it down to '0.05', like the other one. It's looking better but it finds it hard, as to what to do at these corners. Just kind of like a really detailed vector brushing. Kind of has to get in and out, and kind of do some weird things.

So, ways to get around that. If you've got a really long Stroke and it's doing strange things at the edges, I'm going to go up to maybe not 1 point but back to 0.25 just to set an example. We did this earlier, remember, under Stroke we got these Butt Caps and the Corner options. So let's go to 'Round Join', and it will try and get around the corner and the ends of it as well. Which is absolutely nothing on this Brush, does it on different Brushes, but this is kind of, one of the things you can do, you can see that might have joined here, it's just trying too much to get around this corner, but when I get to this Rounded Join it looks marginally better. So you might have to play around with this, depending on the Brush you pick.

What I like to do when I'm using the Brush Tool is, use these, kind of like shorter Strokes, because they tend to have a better result. Selected, let's have a look at these guys. Pick one, and pick one. All right, that will do. So I've got my drawing exercises, those guys down. Let's draw one more and look at some of the other Brushes. That will kind of give you an idea of how to go off and find your own. I'm going to grab my 'Pencil Tool' again. I'm going to draw-- she’s going to be a Princess. Remember, I'm going to draw them in separate Strokes. You can't really see them, so I'm going to undo them.

So before I start drawing I'm going to have Stroke but I'm going to crank it up to say, 1.2, and see what I'm drawing. So, you… She is not a Princess. More like, I don’t know, some sort of-- could be that's what it needs. Totally what I needed. Now she's a Queen. Let's grab the 'Black Arrow', I'm going to select all of these guys. I'm going to show you another one.

Another cool one is under 'Brush Libraries', 'Vector Packs', in this 'Hand drawn brushes', I'll let you explore those ones. Some of the other ones, lots of these are really, lame's a strong word, but on similar lines. Artistic has some really good ones though. So if we go to maybe Chalk Charcoal, Pencil, or Ink, these are kind of quite cool, click on 'Ink'. I want to show you Ink because these have some-- instead of just Solid Black, they have some kind of textures to them. Can you see, they're a little bit transparent. Now again, I'm going to have to turn the Stroke down to something a little bit more useful. Where they start overlapping, they start adding kind of extra depth.

The reason I want to show you this one is, you run into Brushes that has this line along the top here and you'll be like, "Oh, awesome." They do weird stuff. These are meant to be used, just kind of one off. So I'm going to undo, and pick, say this one here. Then I'm going to click off. These guys here, if I drag them off, means that I can-- For some reason if I drag it across this image here they're kind of disappearing behind, which is kind of weird. So I'm going to drag it up the top here. That's meant to be used as elements up the top. This is like separate things by themselves, rather than following a path.

What you can do, maybe with this guy here, selected he's lot of different options, I can right click them and go to 'Ungroup'. You can keep ungrouping them until you get kind of the individual paths. Takes a little while, the shortcut might be handy. Well Normal is there, right click one more time, 'Ungroup'. We'll start getting individual elements. I can select you guys, and make you white. Awesome! So that's how they're meant to be used, just as single little options.

Let's look at the next part, let's close down the 'Ink Brushes'. And let's look at kind of filling in Brush Strokes. So let's say we're going to draw a star, I'm going to grab the 'Pencil Tool'. Now I'm going to draw-- watch this, if I let go, you're like, "Where did that line go?" It's because I'm drawing with the Pencil Tool with a Fill, but no Stroke. So the line is considered a Stroke. And there is no Stroke. There's a Fill, but it doesn't need a Fill. It's there, if I go to my Black Arrow, you can wave your mouse around, and go-- that's a random line, get rid of him. And there is this circle here we found earlier on. I don’t know where he is from.

So I'm going to grab my 'Pencil Tool' and just make sure you're quite purposeful when you're drawing, 'Pencil Tool', pick a 'Stroke Color'. Doesn't need a Fill, and I'm going to draw kind of a starry thing. My Drawing Tool's helping me out. So with it selected, 'Black Arrow', select all these guys. I'm going to pick a 'Brush'. I was sure I wasn’t going to show you any other ones but I'm going to look at one more Brush Libraries. I'll use 'Hand drawn brush vector'. So I'm going to grab him. Way too strong, let's get down to a smaller Fill. We're getting there, maybe '1.5'. So I've got this shape here, right, and I want to fill it in.

Now, the trick is - I'm going to close these down. - is I'm going to copy and paste this, so I've got a second option. I'm going to keep the Strokes there, but this guy here, these lines, what I want to make sure is I want to kind of fill in the gaps, and what I should have done before, I started drawing is, I should have made sure they overlap perfectly, so we'll check that out. Over here, I want to turn it back to a regular line. So over here, where it says Brush, I'm going to say, actually, 'No Brush'. Go up to the top here, and pick this first one. Just a nice thin brush. And they do overlap, so if you didn't do this you're going to have to make sure the lines overlap at least a little bit.

So with them all selected, we're going to go to our best friend, the 'Shape Builder Tool'. We're going to pick some colors for it. So I'm going to go in here, and pick a 'color'. We'll use the 'Color Mixer'. If yours is like mine, and it's defaulted to just black and white, which might happen quite often, with this selected, I'm going to go to this option here and pick RGB, which can't be done. So I'm going to pick 'black' first, then go in here, and pick 'RGB'. So I can pick from any of these colors in here, and when I hover over, I'm going to say, that's going to be filled with the green. I can fill in all of these guys. Now they fill in because they overlap. They didn't overlap, that might not fill up. I'm going to pick another color. The reason I do this, is I'm going to select all of these guys now, and get rid of the Stroke. Goodbye, Stroke, by going here, and going to 'No' Fill. These guys down here, left over. Don't need you guys. And I'm going to select this, and put it back over the top. Line it up.

So just a nice way of kind of, I guess, adding Fills to hand drawn rough stuff. Shape Builder Tool is perfect for that. Just making sure that the rough lines all overlap. Now one thing you might see, or have noticed is that if I grab-- say I've got a line, and they don’t quite meet up, say I'm drawing some stuff. So I'm drawing a square, but the gap is-- I'm drawing with a Brush. Great, Dan. I'm going to select all of these, turn it back just to a regular Brush. Maybe this first guy here. You can see there's a big gap here. Mine was probably too big, but you can also see, if I zoom in there's actually a little gap in between here. What that means is that it shouldn't fill but there is a little bit of freedom that the Shape Builder Tool has. That's probably too big but it's going to fill in these automatically.

You can adjust that to say, like give me a little bit more gap joining ability. And you do it by double clicking on the Tool, double click on it. And up here, there's the Gap Depth. So you can go in here, and go from 'Small' through to 'Large'. Custom, you can make it 'huge'. So I think by default it is small, can't remember. But double click the Tool to change it, and it just gives you a few different options, like this one here is not going to work because it's way too big. If I go in here, and I say, go to 'Large', it's still not going to work, too far apart. But you get the idea. I'm going to delete those, zoom out, marvel at my awesomeness. But you're getting the idea, right? We're doing hand drawn stuff and then adding Brushes to add a little bit more realism to what something is actually a vector, scalable, and beautiful, but can look quite custom as well.

So now it's project time. So I've got an image I want you to draw on. I'll show you here, in the Exercise Files. There, it has appeared. What I'd like you to do is, I'm going to set you a task. I want five separate doodles. They can all use the same Stroke, and Brush Style, but I want five things, okay? If you're like, "What am I going to draw?" come up with a theme. This could be-- you could use a holidays theme. There could be holiday stuff, like Sun, and beach things, or you might go to finance, might be dollar signs, graphs, and stuff. Just to give you an idea, I guess, of what to doodle, and draw on this. What I want you to do is experiment both with obviously the Drawing Tool, but look at the Brushes as well. Maybe look at Dotted or Dashed, it's up to you, but I'd love you to go off, have at least five, and at the end, I love it as a project to take a screen shot or save it as a JPEG, and send it to me as a project, or in the comments.

All right, I will see you in the very next video.