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Like this article? We recommend Creating Pattern Brushes

Creating Pattern Brushes

Pattern brushes are a different animal from art brushes, requiring a little more setup and thought, but they can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them. Up to five "patterns" can be applied to each pattern brush. Each pattern can be applied to different parts of an object (see Figure 7):

  • Outside corner
  • Inside corner
  • Straight part of a segment
  • Beginning of a path
  • End of a path

Each of these patterns typically starts its life in the Swatches panel. When you make a pattern brush, you select from the pattern swatches in the Swatches panel.

Figure 7 Parts of a pattern brush.

These details will make more sense once you've created a pattern brush, so let's get started:

  1. On the artboard, draw a square.
  2. Select the square and drag it into the Swatches panel (with the other swatches). Double-click the swatch in the Swatches panel to open the Swatch Options dialog box. Name the swatch square and click OK.
  3. Draw a straight horizontal line. Drag that line into the Swatches panel to create another swatch. Double-click the swatch in the Swatches panel and name it line in the Swatch Options dialog box (see Figure 8).
  4. Figure 8 Creating the pattern swatches for the brush.

  5. Delete the line and square on the artboard.
  6. Make sure that nothing is selected. This step is important! If an object is selected, the brush will be made from that object. Click the New Brush button at the bottom of the Brushes panel. In the New Brush dialog box, select Pattern Brush and click OK. This action opens the Pattern Brush Options dialog box, where you can set the brush options.
  7. In the Pattern Brush Options dialog box, give the brush a name.
  8. Notice the five squares in the middle of the dialog box (see Figure 9). Each square relates to the part of the path or shape to which the brush will be applied. Position the pointer over each square to display its tool tip. Then click the Side Tile thumbnail and choose "line" in the list of patterns below the tile. Click the Start Tile thumbnail and choose "square" in the list. Finally, click the End Tile thumbnail and choose "square" again.
  9. Figure 9 Creating the pattern brush.

  10. Click OK in the Pattern Brush Options dialog box.
  11. Draw a line on the artboard and apply your new brush to the shape by clicking the brush in the Brushes panel (see Figure 10). Then draw a square and apply the brush. See how the corners are blank? The inside corner and outside corner tiles in the Pattern Brush Options dialog box control the corners of the path.
  12. Figure 10 The new pattern brush is applied to the line.

Now that you understand how to create and edit a few of the brush types, let's explore some real-world examples of working with brushes.

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