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Creating Brushes in Illustrator CS
Illustrator Tutorial By Sara Froehlich

pot o goldWant to make some special stationery for invitations to your big St. Patrick's Day bash? Want to whip up some St. Paddy's Day graphics? Using Illustrator Brushes and Symbols can speed up your drawing time!

Last week I showed you how to make two shamrocks, a solid colored shamrock and another one using the gradient mesh tool. This week I'll show you how to use the solid color shamrock in brushes. Unfortunately the gradient mesh shamrock (or any gradient mesh object) can't be used to make a brush, but they can be used as symbols, as you will see in a bit.

Shamrock Brush

This tutorial uses Illustrator CS, but it will work in Illustrator 9 or 10 as well, although some of the commands may be in different places, especially loading brushes, but we will get to that later. For now, let's make the first brush. (Note: symbols were new in Illustrator 10, so if you are using Illustrator 9, you won't have the symbol option.)

Step 1. Either open the shamrock you make last week or follow the instructions here under "Drawing the Shamrock" steps 1-17 to make another. If you don't want to draw one, you can use mine by downloading this file for Illustrator CS or Illustrator 10, or for Illustrator 9. Note: When opening the file in Illustrator 10, you may get a message saying the file was created in a newer version of Illustrator and some loss may occur. You can safely ignore this message and open the file.

Step 2. Because the shamrock we made last time was large, I scaled mine to 20% size. To do this, go to Object > Transform > Scale. Make sure Uniform is checked and enter 20 in the percentage box. Click OK. Save this image as shamrock_small.ai so you don't overwrite the large one.

scaled

Step 3. Make a couple duplicates of the scaled shamrock in case you want to start over. The easiest way to do this is to:

    1. Go to Object > Transform > Scale.
    2. Make sure Uniform is checked.
    3. Enter 100 in the percent box.
    4. Click the Copy button.
    5. Before you do anything else, transform again by typing command/control + D a few times to make copies.
    6. Click and drag on the copies to drag them off the original shamrock and move them out of the way.

If you get stuck and have to start over grab one of your duplicates.

Step 4. Select one of the shamrocks by clicking on it with the selection tool (V). Open the Brush palette (Window > Brushes), and open the Brush palette options menu. Choose New Brush.

brush palette

Continued on page 2…

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