Create Your Own Vector Brushes In Illustrator – Part 1

Learning to create brushes in Illustrator would help you to create cool backgrounds, awesome artwork and borders. Brushes are one of the most useful tools in an illustrator artist’s weaponry. With the help of a brush you can create awesome artwork in less time. Check out our step-by-step guide how to use illustrator brushes.

I’m sure you may have downloaded and used various kinds of brushes in your design projects. Though this is a good approach, you certainly may have wondered how to create your own brushes. In today’s tutorial we shall look learn how to create brushes in Illustrator. Vectorguru believes in an old proverb, ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.

Before we get to the exciting part of this tutorial where we create our own brushes, let’s take minute to look at the types of brushes available in Illustrator.

Illustrator has four types of Brushes

  • Calligraphic Brush
  • Scatter Brush
  • Art Brush
  • Pattern Brush

The figure below illustrates the differences in these types of Brushes using the brushes available in Illustrator.


You can access more such illustrator brushes by clicking on the brush library menu from the brush palette.

Illustrator brush library menu

Now that we have seen and understood the different kinds of brushes in Illustrator, lets learn to create our own brushes in each type.

Calligraphy Brush in Illustrator

In calligraphy the thickness of the line varies on the arcs and curves, making the brush strokes look more appealing. After the tutorial we share links of some amazing artwork created using calligraphy brushes. You can also buy these calligraphy illustrations from Fotolia and Depositphotos if you like them.

How to Create Calligraphy brush in Illustrator.

A calligraphy brush may be used to add visual interest to any kind if line-work in your artwork or illustrations.

How to Create Illustrator Brushes

Step by step tutorial showing you how create your own calligraphy brush in Illustrator.

Step 1

Open the Brush Palette. Go to the window menu and Choose Brush. Else, you may click on the brush icon in the collapsed icons in the right side of the window.

You can alternatively press F5 to open the brush palette.

Brush Palette

Step 2

Click on the New Brush icon in the bottom of the Brush palette. This opens a New Brush dialog with options to choose the kind of brush we want to create.


Step 3

Select New Calligraphic Brush from the options and click OK. This would open the Calligraphic Brush Options where we could customize our new brush.


Step 4

Besides the Name field where you can rename the brush, there are quite a few important settings here which define your brush shape.

First lets use the Brush Shape Editor to change the shape of the brush where we can adjust the Angle and the Roundness of the brush.

Move the dots to adjust the roundness and the drag the arrow to change the angle of the brush. Note how the values change in the Angle and Roundness settings below. Use the Diameter slider to adjust the brush thickness. Click OK to add your new  brush to the existing list of brushes in the brush palette.

Calligraphy Brush settings

Diameter adjustment

Let’s now use the brush and later we shall edit this brush to explore some more settings.

New Calligraphy Brush

Step 5

When you create brushes in Illustrator, you can edit it whenever required.

You can edit the brush by double clicking on the brush in the brush palette. Changing the brush settings after its been used in the artwork will alter all the strokes where it’s been used. You can also edit the brush settings for just selected strokes by using Options of Selected Object given at the bottom of the brush palette.

Edit calligraphy brush

Let’s select one of the strokes we created and Click the option to edit selected strokes. You may now alter the roundness, angle and the diameter and see the changes affect the selected stroke.

Edit selected brush

Step 6

Sometimes you may want to have a different angle, roundness or diameter with every new brush stroke. We shall see how to do just that. Begin by double clicking on the brush in the brush palette to open the Calligraphic Brush options dialog. Next, in the field besides Angle settings field, select Random from the dropdown. Do this for the Roundness and the Diameter settings as well. You may find the rest of the options disabled as these settings pertain to a stylus which may be used to create free hand artwork.

Random option in calligraphy-brush-settings

The Variation slider corresponding to each setting is now active. Drag the slider to adjust the range of the Angle, Roundness and Diameter.

Variations in Calligraphy Brush

Step 7

Now that our brush is ready with random options let's apply the random calligraphic strokes.

Create a few strokes and click on the brush that we edited. You will see how each stroke now appears different. You can click repeatedly to see different strokes applied each time.

Apply random strokes

That’s all there’s to creating a calligraphic brush in Illustrator. Go ahead and create your own calligraphy brush to use in your projects. Creating a great calligraphy brush is just half work done, as how you use it is what will make your work exceptional.

Below are some great artwork done using the calligraphic brush in Illustrator. These amazing artwork are offered on Fotolia and Depositphotos, leading stock image and vector websites.

1. Alphabet based on calligraphy

Alphabet based on calligraphy

2. Calligraphic Design Elements

Calligraphic Design Elements

3.  Decorative calligraphic design elements

Decorative calligraphic design elements

4. Invitation Set

Invitation Set in Calligraphy

5. Calligraphy design elements page decoration

Calligraphy design elements page decoration

6. Calligraphy design elements

Calligraphy design elements

I'm sure these stock vectors will inspire you to create something wonderful using the calligraphy brush.

I hope this tutorial has helped you and you’re already on your way to creating some awesome calligraphy brushes and artwork. We shall discuss creating other brush types in the forth coming tutorials.

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