Archive for the ‘Illustrator’ Category

This week I put up two older brush sets of mine, Shmootzy Acrylic Frames and Get Creative with Paint. I have to say that the Get Creative set is a favorite of mine because I love the effect of watercolor and with 74 brush pieces the possibilities are endless. If you add Illustrator into the mix, it gets even better!

Lately, I have been enjoying creating my own illustrator brushes for doodling on my wacom tablet so I got to thinking about pulling in some of the brush strokes in my Get Creative set, into Illustrator to make watercolor brushes. I think they turned out pretty good, although dark in a few places.

Want to learn how to create your own watercolor brushes in Illustrator? Let's go! If you want to play along with this tutorial, you can grab the finished illustrator brushset here.

First, open up a Photoshop file (I did 12x12x300 dpi). Load the Get Creative Brushset by choosing Load Brushes from the brush palette.

Once you have the brushes loaded, choose some of the brush strokes from the set and on a New Layer, arrange them vertically, spacing them out from one another….


Then save this file off as a jpg…


Now open up Illustrator and place that jpg file into your document using File > Place

Now that the file is place into Illustrator, let's Trace & Expand our artwork. Because the watercolor strokes have such detail to them, we can't just use the default tracing options… Instead (making sure you have selected the jpg image), let's choose Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options


This will bring up our Tracing Options dialog box. Check the box that says Preview so we can see how our options will affect the finished trace. Choose Color 16 from the drop down menu for our Preset and click Trace. This is what it will look like. It doesn't look as smooth as in Photoshop but the watercolor detail will be there. If I did it again, I may play around and try and lighten up the dark spots because when we draw with these in Illustrator some of the spots are too dark.


These are traced but not expanded… click on the Expand button in the palette at the top of Illustrator.


Then UnGroup

Wait, we are not quite done… don't forget to select a white area on your brush (any white area), and choose >Select > Same Fill & Stroke and hit Delete. This will clear away any unwanted white areas.


Okay, now let's create our brushes!

Select the first stroke and then from the brushes palette in Illustrator click on that little down arrow and choose New Brush


Choose New Art Brush and click OK


In the Art Brush window, make sure to name your brushes and check the following…


Proportional, flip along the vertical and horizontal axis and make sure to choose Tints and Shades from the Colorization drop down menu. This is so that when you start doodling, your strokes will be in color.

Click OK. Do this for all the brush strokes that you want.

Once you have the finished brushes, hold down your Shift key and select them all, then from the Brush palette, choose >Save Brush Library. Give your brushes a name you'll remember and put them into the Brushes folder in Illustrator. Next time you want them, they will show up in your Brush Library for easy access.

It seems a bit tedious and alot of little steps, but the in end it is worth it because you can create your own brushes that don't look like anyone elses! Get out your favorite pens, markers and brushes and get scanning! It's so much fun.

Here is a few swirls and strokes that I made with my new watercolor brushes. These are also included in the download file that accompanies this tutorial..


ETA: Okay! So the dark parts were really bugging me! LOL! I went in and edited the brushes and instead of choosing Tints & Shades from the Colorization drop down menu, I chose just Tints and it really lightened up the overall affect. I like this softer look better, but you may like it the other way. Here is what it looks like lightened up…


Screen shot 2011-03-05 at 12.46.17 PM

Have a great weekend!




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Hello! Happy Friday to you!

Today, I have a fun tutorial, and a freebie for you. It's about creating your own brushes in Illustrator. The reason it is great to do this in Illustrator is the next time you pick up your pen to draw on your Wacom, you'll have some nicely textured and realistic doodles!

First, grab your favorite medium, whether it is art marker, crayon, charcoal, etc and draw some strokes on a piece of paper. Using varying widths and lengths. Try and make them a bit straighter but otherwise feel free to make them your own.

For our tutorial today, I used a black art marker, charcoal pencil and some of my Micron pens. I scanned them into my computer as a greyscale jpg and then opened them in Illustrator…

Next, with my brush scan jpg selected, I chose Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options.


You'll get a dialog box telling you the file is large and it may take a while to trace, click OK.


Next, in the Tracing Options box, select Preview and then choose a tracing preset that best fits the style of your brush strokes. I always have the best luck with Black and White Logo or Detailed Drawing. The nice thing about selecting Preview is you can go through the drop down menu and see what each preset looks like.


Then at the very top menu, you'll see a button that says "Expand". Click on that to finish your tracing.


Once your scan has been outlined and expanded we need to clean it up a bit.

At this point even though everything has been traced and is vector, it is still grouped and has a white background behind the image. First, choose Object > Ungroup


Then select the white image background behind your image and hit Delete to remove it.

One more thing to clean up. When we scan and outline we sometimes have white areas that remain in our vector images. Select a white fill area anywhere in your drawing.


Then choose Select > Same > Fill Color.


You'll see all the white areas are active. Hit Delete to remove these.

That's it – we are all cleaned up and vectorized and ready to make some Art Brushes!

Before we do, please save your Illustrator file!


Okay, the process for making Art brushes is the same for each of our strokes.

First, select your first brush stroke

Then from the Brush Palette, we want to choose New Brush


Select New Art Brush and click OK


In the Art Brush Options box, name your brush, choose the direction going to the right, and select it to flip on both axes. Lastly, from the color method, choose Tint. This is in case you want to draw in color, it will color your brush strokes.

The Proportional setting varies your brush width depending on the size of your drawing. I like to leave this unchecked and then choose the stroke width manually. But it's a matter of preference.


Repeat these steps for each of your strokes.

Then when you are done, select all the strokes in your brush palette.


And choose > Save Brush Library


Name your file and save it into your Illustrator Brush Folder


The next time you are doodling your heart out, open up your saved brushes this way.

Go to your Brush Palette and from the right arrow choose, Open Brush Library


From the extended menu, choose User Defined and there you will find your brushset!


Once your brushes are loaded into your Illustrator workspace, just select the one you want to work with and begin to draw! Feel free to change the brush stroke width as you work to get the look you want.

For this tutorial, I've included some doodles I made from my brushes for you (in .abr and .png) as well as the original strokes in Photoshop and Illustrator so you can play along and discover how to make your own Art brushes in Illustrator.



I'd love to see how you are creating your own brushes in Illustrator and any tips if you have them. One thing that I hate when I do create my own brushes is that any place that my strokes overlap, especially if the stroke is wider, I get a white space. If anyone knows how to fix this, let me know!

Illustrator Tutorial 1 (2.0 MB)

Have fun!


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