Adobe Illustrator’s brushes are a treasure trove of creative possibilities, if you know how to use them wrong. Yep, wrong. Using them as ‘intended’ is fine, but I believe the real power of Illustrator brushes comes from applying them to things you might not consider at first – text for instance. There are literally hundreds of free brushes that come with Illustrator – banners, borders, florals, textures, flourishes etc. When applied to outlined letter shapes, interesting effects instantly take shape.
To view Illustrator’s many brush libraries, go to Window>Brush Libraries. Select one and it will open in a pallete that shows all the individual brushes.
It’s so easy to get started:
1. Type in some text
2. Convert to Outlines – YOU MUST DO THIS!
3. Click on brushes to apply them!
It took just a few clicks to create each of the text effects below. The Illustrator brushes being used are shown next to each sample. I find the libraries named Artistic Paintbrush, Artistic Scroll, Borders Ornate and Circular Decorative pretty useful for this technique. Given the hundreds of brushes available, the design possibilities are wide open.
The first 3 below are made with two copies of the outlined text, stacked on top of each other, using different brushes.