Although Illustrator comes equipped with a few brushes, which can be found in the brushes panel, you can do much more when you take the time to create your own custom brushes. Have you ever wondered how to achieve a tapered line in Illustrator? You can make a brush!
First grab your ellipse tool. Draw a very small circle—about the size of a bullet point. Hold down shift as you’re drawing to ensure it is a perfect circle. Zoom in so you can see your circle.
With the circle selected, grab your white arrow tool, and click on the bottom anchor point so that only that point is selected. You’ll know it is selected if it is filled in, and you’ll know the other three points are not selected because they’ll appear hollow. When the bottom point is selected, you’ll see in the panel across the top of the page the word “convert,” and it will have two boxes just to the right. One box has an image of a corner point and the other of a curved point. Click the corner point box to convert your circle’s bottom anchor point to a corner point. Keep only that point selected, and with your white arrow tool hold down shift and drag the point down a ways.
Now you have your tapered line brush shape. Using your black arrow tool, select the entire shape. Drag it over into the brushes panel. It will bring up a box asking you what kind of brush you’d like to create. Choose “Art Brush.” Next it will bring up a box which allows you to further define your brush. Where it says “Brush Scale Options,” choose “Stretch to Fit Stroke Length.”
That’s it! Now grab your brush tool, and give it a try. You can always adjust you brush options by double clicking on the brush in the brushes panel.
Now lets try a scatter brush. Using your ellipse tool draw two ovals, a larger one and a smaller one, to form the shape of a footprint. Select both ovals and copy and paste to create a second set slightly below and to the right. Now you have two footprints.
Select both footprints, and drag them to the brushes panel. This time choose “Scatter Brush.” In the options dialogue box, leave all defaults, and click okay. Now select your brush tool, and draw a straight line in the direction your footprints are pointing.
Tell us what kinds of brushes do you like to create!