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Add Detail Lines with Illustrator CS3 Pen Tool and Brush Panel

In our last tutorial, we used the Pen tool in IllustratorR CS3 to draw the basic shape for our pumpkin project. Now we are ready to add some detail. We will use the Pen tool again to draw detail lines to define the vertical sections of the pumpkin. Then we will add more interest to the lines by changing the stroke weight and applying brush strokes to the paths. If you have not drawn the pumpkin shape from the last tutorial, do so now.

  1. I like to add details to my vector art in layers. This way, I can toggle the visibility of the layers to compare the results from each layer to the overall design. In the Layers Panel, click the icon at the bottom to add a new layer. Rename this layer "thick lines". While we are renaming layers, let's rename Layer 1 to "pumpkin".

    We will now draw three thick detail lines.

  2. Set the Pen tool's Fill to null and the Stroke to a dark brown color. We will draw the first line alone the right edge of the pumpkin. Click and hold down the mouse key just inside the top of the pumpkin. Drag the mouse to the right to create the first Direction Line. Next, click at the bottom of the pumpkin and drag to the left to create the next Direction Line that will create the curved line to match the curve of the pumpkin.

    To set the path, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) outside the pumpkin. Now we are ready to apply a brush stroke to our path.

  3. With the Selection tool, click on the detail line. In the Brushes Panel, you will see a few brush strokes. You can add more brush strokes to the panel from the Brush Libraries that come with Illustrator. But to make things simple, let's use the Charcoal brush stroke already in the panel. With the path already selected, click on the Charcoal brush stroke in the panel and the path will change to reflect the brush stroke.

    Repeat steps 2 and 3 for two more thick detail lines. Now, we will add some thin detail lines.

  4. Add a new layer to the Layers panel and rename it "thin lines". With the Pen tool, draw several thin lines over the pumpkin.

  5. This time, we will apply a brush stroke from the Brushes panel to all of the thin lines in one step. With the Selection tool, draw a rectangle around all of the thin lines to select all of them. In the Brushes panel, click on the Pencil Thin brush stroke. You should notice all of the selected paths have changed to the Pencil Thin brush stroke.

    These lines look a little too similar. We can add more interest by varying the Stroke weight for some of the lines. Click on one of the lines with the Selection tool. In the Stroke panel, use the drop-down menu to change the weight for this line. You can set the weight from .25 to 100 points. Repeat this for each of the thin lines and give each line a different stroke weight. Notice that the brush stroke does not change when the stroke weight changes.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Diane Cipollo. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Diane Cipollo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Diane Cipollo for details.


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