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The Brushes Panel and Applying Brush Strokes to Paths in Illustrator CS3


In the last IllustratorR CS3 tutorial, we drew a Christmas tree for a greeting card or Artist Trading Card project and we learned how to use the Pen and Blend tools. If you did not complete that tutorial, do so before beginning this tutorial.

Now we will draw the base of our tree and, in doing so, we will learn how to use the Brushes Panel to view thumbnails of the brushes and to apply a brush stroke to a path. First we will explore the Brushes Panel. To get everyone on the same workspace, go to the Menu bar and click Window Workspace Panel. Now that the workspace is in Panel view, click on the Brushes tab which is under the Swatches tab in the second panel group. As the Brushes Panel opens, you will see very few default brushes loaded into the panel. We can browse through the Brush Libraries for more.

  1. Click the small arrow at the top right of the panel to open the pop-up menu. Click Open Brush Library Borders Borders Decorative to open the Borders Decorative Panel. Browse through the thumbnails of the various brushes and then close the panel. Notice that no new brushes were added to the Brushes Panel. A brush is added only when you apply it to your path. Repeat this for all of the Brush Libraries.

  2. At this point, we have only two layers, Background and Tree, in the Layers Panel. Click on the Lock icon to lock both of these layers and protect what we have already drawn. Next, click on the Create New Layer icon to add another layer to the panel. Name this layer "Ground".

I liked the green border that was already in the Brushes Panel and that's the decoration that I drew under the tree. The first step was to draw the path with the Pen tool.

  1. For the Pen tool, set the Fill to null and the Stroke to black. To place the first anchor point at the bottom left corner of the card, click under the tree and drag upward toward the center of the card. The second anchor point will be the same distance from the bottom edge of the card but on the right side. With this anchor point, click and drag to create our curved path. With the Selection tool, click outside the card rectangle to set the path.

  2. Now we are ready to apply a brush stroke from the Brushes Panel. With the Selection tool, click on the path that we just drew. Go to the Brushes Panel and click on the green brush stroke which happens to be named Ornamental Border. You will see the path change from a black line to the green border but it is a little too big for our card. We need to reduce the size. A quick and easy way to do this is to change the Stroke Weight of the path. We can do this from the Control Panel. Let's reduce it to .5 and then click outside the rectangle to deselect the path.

Save your image in Illustrator .ai format. We will add the star in the next tutorial. The star will be created with the Line and Star tools.




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Content copyright © 2014 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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