Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book


Illustrator’s calligraphic, art, scatter, bristle, and pattern brushes can mimic traditional art tools, create photorealistic imagery, or provide pattern and texture to your art. You can either create brushstrokes with the Paintbrush tool, or you can apply a brush to a previously drawn path.

Calligraphic brushes create strokes that mimic real-world calligraphy pens, brushes, or felt pens. You can define a degree of variation for the size, roundness, and angle of each “nib.” You can also set each of these attributes to respond to a graphics tablet and stylus (like the Wacom) with a variety of different pen characteristics (with a mouse, you can only use Fixed or Random).

Art brushes consist of one or more pieces of artwork that get fitted to the path you create with them. You can use art brushes to imitate traditional painting media, such as drippy ink pens, textured charcoal, spatter brushes, dry brushes, watercolors, and more. Or an art brush can represent real-world objects, such as a petal, leaf, ribbon, a flower, decorative flourish, or train. You can modify art brushes and their strokes using a number of different parameters, including variables affected by pressure using a Wacom tablet and stylus. Art brush marks can be made to scale proportionately to fit the length of your path or stretched to fit. You can also scale your brush non-proportionally by restricting the area of the art brush that can stretch, using two guides to create a segmented brush (choose Stretch Between Guides for the Scale option). Either or both ends of the brush are then protected from being stretched, and the middle portion is stretched to fill in the remaining length. This allows you to stretch the stem of a rose, for instance, without stretching the blossom itself. You can further modify an art brush with colorization methods, such as choosing to vary a key color by tint or hue. Modify the way the art brush follows a path by flipping its direction, and use the Overlap option to determine whether or not to allow it to overlap itself when turning a corner. You can also use the Width tool to modify an art brush.

Use scatter brushes to scatter copies of artwork along the path you create with them: bees in the air, flowers in a field, stars in the sky. The size of the objects, their spacing, how far they scatter from the path, and their rotation can be set to a Fixed or Random amount or, with a graphics tablet, can vary according to characteristics such as pressure or tilt. You can also align the rotation of the scattered objects to the direction of the path or to the edges of the page. Change the method of colorization as you would with a calligraphic or pattern brush.


Altering Pattern Scale and Spacing to create a very different look to the brush

Use pattern brushes to paint patterns along a path. To use a pattern brush, first define the tiles that will make up your pattern. For example, a train has several parts—engine, cars, etc. Each of these constitutes a tile where you have the start, the middle (the side tile), tiles that turn either an inside or outside corner, and the end of the path. You can either use an existing pattern swatch or Option-drag/Alt-drag art from the artboard into any tile’s position in an existing brush (see the CC section later in this chapter for info on CC’s auto-corners). In the Pattern Brush Options dialog, select a tile and click the swatch name below the tiles that you want assigned to that tile. You can customize settings for how the tiles fit to, or flip along, the path, and to alter their color. You can also vary the appearance of the pattern brush, how it fills sharp angles (by altering the Scale in both Fixed parameters and those affected by tablet features), and the spacing between tiles.

Bristle brushes emulate traditional paint brushes, showing both the texture of the bristles and the tip shape, which can be round, flat, fan-shaped, etc. To create a bristle brush, select it as the New brush type and, in the Bristle Brush Options dialog, choose a tip shape. From there, modify the brush’s bristle length, density, and thickness; whether or not the bristles are stiff or soft; and how opaquely it applies the paint. By default, these brushes use a Paint Opacity of less than 100%, so you’ll see some opacity in your strokes even when you have set Opacity in the Control panel to 100% opaque. Because calculating transparency for printing often takes a long time, a dialog warns that if you have more than 30 bristle brushstrokes, you may want to select some or all of the bristle brushstrokes and choose Object> Rasterize to set raster settings for them before you attempt to print.

Working with brushes

Most brushes follow these rules (for additional CC capabilities, see the CC section later in this chapter):

  • To create art, scatter, and pattern brushes, create the artwork for them from fairly basic artwork, including compound shapes, blends, groups, and some live effects such as Distort & Transform. In CS6, you can’t create brushes from art that uses gradients, mesh objects, raster art, and advanced live effects such as Drop Shadow.

  • To modify the art that makes up a brush, drag it out of the Brushes panel, edit the object, then drag it back into the Brushes panel. Use the Option/Alt key as you drag to replace the original art with the new art.

  • To set application-level preferences for all brushes, double-click the Paintbrush tool. (The new preferences will apply to work you do with the brushes going forward, but won’t change existing work.)

  • To modify the properties of a single brushstroke, select it and then choose Options of Selected Object in the Brush panel’s menu. If you’ve used the Width tool to modify the stroke, your options include using the width points to calculate the profile for your next strokes.

  • To choose how to apply modifications to existing brushstrokes, in the brush’s Options dialog choose Leave Strokes to create a duplicate brush, or choose Apply to Strokes to modify every use of the brush in the document.

  • When Keep Selected and Edit Selected Paths are both enabled, the last drawn path stays selected; drawing a new path close to the selected path will redraw that path. Disabling either of these options will allow you to draw multiple brushstrokes near each other, instead of redrawing the last drawn path.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020