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#29 Working with Pattern Brushes

Pattern brushes are the most complicated to modify or create because they involve as many as five different object panels. You can use separate symbols for the start, finish, side (center), inside corner, and outside corner panels.

While you can use up to five different objects in a single pattern brush, you can also create an interesting pattern brush with three or even two elements.

Once you define the pattern brush, you can apply it to existing paths or draw interactively with the Paintbrush tool. Pattern brushes can be used to draw mazelike paths; to generate arrows with a start, beginning, and end object; or to create borders for illustrations ( Figure 29a ).


Figure 29a Using a pattern brush to apply a border around an illustration. Here one pattern defines the sides of the brush stroke, while a second pattern defines the corners.

To create a pattern brush, start by defining up to five patterns that will be used as different elements of a path. You can, for example, create a brush by preparing a beginning pattern, a line segment pattern, and a line end pattern. That pattern brush can function as an arrow ( Figure 29b ).


Figure 29b These three objects will become the start, middle, and end of a pattern brush.

Once you have created your pattern brush elements, drag each object, one at a time, onto the Swatches palette and name them by double-clicking on the new swatch ( Figure 29c ).


Figure 29c swatchescreating pattern brushCreating swatches from artwork to use as pattern brush elements.

With your brush elements all in the Swatches palette, follow these steps to create a three-pattern pattern brush:

  1. From the Brushes palette menu, choose New Brush. Choose New Pattern Brush in the New Brush dialog, and click OK to open the Pattern Brush Options dialog.
  2. Enter a name in the Name area.
  3. Click on the Side Tile icon (on the far left) in the set of five pattern swatches. Choose a swatch from the set that appears in the dialog to use as the pattern for normal line segments ( Figure 29d ).

    Figure 29d Defining a pattern to be used as the line segment element of a pattern brush.

  4. Click the Start Tile icon (second from right) in the Pattern Brush Options dialog, and select a swatch to use at the beginning of a path.
  5. Select the End Tile icon (on the far right), and choose a swatch ( Figure 29e ).

    Figure 29e Defining the end of a pattern brush.

  6. Normally, you will want to accept the default settings Size, Flip, Fit, and (no) Colorization. Click OK to define the pattern brush.
  7. As with other drawing tools, you can apply pattern brush strokes to selected paths by clicking on the brush in the Brushes palette. Or you can first select the pattern brush in the Brushes palette, and then interactively draw strokes with the Paintbrush tool pattern ( Figure 29f ).

    Figure 29f Drawing a path with a pattern brush.

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