Digital Illustration: Easy Wreath Brushes | Deanna Sheehan | Skillshare

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Digital Illustration: Easy Wreath Brushes

teacher avatar Deanna Sheehan, Design, Illustration, Motion Graphics

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Setting up Your File

    • 3. Creating your Leaves and Stem

    • 4. Creating your Blend

    • 5. Using the Transform Panel

    • 6. Creating your Plant Brush

    • 7. Applying your Brush to A Path

    • 8. Finishing Touches

    • 9. Now it's Your Turn!

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About This Class

After taking this class, you'll be able to make your own custom art brushes in Illustrator. Whether you're new to design or an Illustrator pro;  you'll gain the knowledge you need to use the Illustrator to create a blend, use the transform panel, and create Custom Wreath Brushes.


  • Adobe Illustrator CC 2017


  • Wreath created in the videos
  • Your own Wreath you created using the techniques in the video

Skill Level:

  • Beginner to Advanced; no previous AI knowledge required.

What this lesson will cover.

  • Using the elipse, pen, width, line, and convert anchor point tool.
  • How to copy and paste and how to option drag copy.
  • How to create and edit a blend in Illustrator.
  • How to use Illustrators powerful transform and appearance panel.
  • How to turn the “plant” you created into a Custom Art Brush
  • How to apply your brush to a path.
  • How to edit and color you new brush
  • How to take the knowledge you learned to create your own brush for the class project.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Deanna Sheehan

Design, Illustration, Motion Graphics


Hello, I'm Deanna. Thank you for visiting my classes and profile on Skillshare. I'm a designer by choice and trade. I am a full time designer, retoucher, and motion graphics artist. I've also worked as a freelance designer for a long time now and as a tshirt parody artist. I have also taught for almost a decade at the local community college. I'm a mother, a wife (to my fellow doodle-head partner), an artist, and a teacher. I am an awesome cook, and I find myself extremely funny...

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to Custom Reef Brushes with Adobe Illustrator's brushes, Blends and transform palette in this lesson will use adobes, blend options and blend feature to create a plant. We're gonna create one side of that plan and then use Adobe Illustrator's powerful transform palette to help us create the opposite side. Well, then learn how to take our finished plant and create a custom art brush will apply that brush to an arch or 1/2 a circle, and we'll talk about how we can change. Those settings will finalize that brush by talking about how we can cull arise that brush using the brush settings at the end of this video will talk about how you can take what you've learned to create a much more dynamic brush using the Transform pal and the things that you learned with blends inside of Illustrator. I can't wait to see your brushes and I'll see you in the next video 2. Setting up Your File: Welcome back, everybody In this lesson, we're going to talk about setting up our file properly to create our custom brief brush. So I'm going to launch Adobe Illustrator. And what I want to do is if yours looks a little bit crazy like this, I want us to go up to the top right here, and we're gonna choose a workspace. So mind says essentials. If yours doesn't say essentials, you can choose essentials from the top and then make sure you go and choose re set essentials that's gonna reset all of our workspaces gonna reset all of our panels and then I want to create a new document. So I'm gonna take control and or command and on a Mac. Or you can go to file and choose a new and let's choose a preset that set up. So I'm gonna go to the print document file and you can see there's tons of preset if I choose the view all presets here but for print, I'm just going to go ahead and choose the letter document. And because this is a print file, I want to make sure I'm choosing c m y que color over here on the right, we're going to click, create. And right now, this isn't points as well. So let's switch this two inches for now. So you'll see we have a standard eat in half by 11 inch document, and I'm going to click create. The next thing we're going to do is bring out our layers palette, and if you reset your workspace properly over here on the right, you'll see there's a layers panel looks like two pieces of paper on top of each other, and I'm gonna rename this first layer guides. And I did was just double click that, and I want to make sure I bring up rulers so that's control or command are, or you can go to view and choose Rulers and show rulers will be right here, and I just kind of want to create um, the middle of the document. So ah, we have an 8.5, and the best way to kind of do it is if you actually move your guide out and you select your guide and go to view guides and choose on black guides. If we select this guy, just draw Marquis around it I can actually go up to the top menu here and choose aligned Toe Art board and then click center. And if I just drag a top one out from the ruler bar here and put it here, I can actually choose the center, um, vertical alignment there, and then I'm going to lock this layer. Okay, so we're kind of set up, so we have to haves, and we know exactly where our center is. And in the next video, we're going to set up our first leaf and our stem, and we're gonna move on from there. I'll see in the next video. 3. Creating your Leaves and Stem: Welcome back, everybody. We're ready to start building the first part of our brush. So we're going to start by using the line segment till it's actually the back slash um is the quit command. And I've said this before I am a quick command junkie. So what? We want to make sure that we're doing when we use this is starting by making a new layer on the right. So I'm gonna click the make new layer button, and I'm gonna call this plant, and I want to set my colors up properly. So over here in our tool palette, I'm going to make sure I leave Bill as none. And I'm gonna click on the stroke to make sure that selected we're just going to make a black brush right now, Um, I'm gonna click the black color swatch over here on the right, and I have black. And because I'm a little anal about this, I never like pure black to me. It's It's just a little bit too much. So I actually like to put values and for the c m y que I put 100 in for everything. Which brings me all the way up to the black and then I'm gonna pull this just a little bit into the navy section. Um, just cause it, adding a little bit of coolness into this is just gonna make it look a little better. And I'm gonna click, OK? And I'm gonna just start by creating a line we're using the guides that we already created and make sure that set up as well. So if you go to your view menu, you can go to guides and make sure lack guides is checked and then go to view and turned smart guides on. Okay. And all that's going toe allow us to do is when we roll over this, you're going to see that it allows us to see that we're right on that guideline, and I'm going to click and drag down, and I created my stem for my brush. Now you want to make sure this is centred if we click on it and I'm holding down the command key or control of key too tall a toggle. But you can also hit your V key on the keyboard to select this. And we went online this up directly in the center we can make sure we go back up like we did in the 1st 1 and choose vertical align center. Okay, so it doesn't matter how long this line is. It's gonna be up to you. How big you want this brush to be. The next thing we're going to do is build our first leaf. Now, there are several ways we can do this and I will show you two ways right off the bat so we can start with the Ellipse stole, which again, that's our Elke. And if you watched my first video, you can use this little tear off to pull this out if you want to see it a little bit better . Or we could just hit the Elke, which will automatically select that for us so we can make a leaf two different ways so I could make an ellipse like this. And if I hit p for my pen tool, hold down my option key. I could get that convert anchor point tool. Or you can just go up to your pen tool and pull the tear off off for that as well. And then you can select the convert Anchor point tool here and we can actually make a leaf very quickly by converting the top anchor points of that leaf. If you want a little bit fancy relief, we can use our pen tool. And again, I'm just gonna draw my leaf straight up because it's easier sometimes to draw your leaves straight up, as opposed to already trying to draw it in an angle. We can always rotate it later. So using my pencil, I can click and click, and I'm gonna hold my mouse button down and drag out to get occur. Now, we have another handlebar here and we want to get rid of that handlebar. So to get rid of that handle bark, if we re click back on the point that we made, it will push that handlebar back in that I'm gonna go to the top point. You could see that little circle that appears. That means we're going to close this. But if we close this, it's just going to remain with the straight line. So what I want to do is click and drag out to make the other side of my leaf. So there's two ways that you can do it. I'll give you one more. We can access the curvature tool, which is a neat new tool inside of illustrator, where I can click, click and then click in the middle and pull out and then click back up at the top and then click and pull out another handle. So it's up to you how you want to make your leaf. I'm going to select both of those and delete them And let's just go right back to the normal Ellipse Penta limit, Hold down my option key. And now I have my leaf. Okay, Our next step is we're going to rotate this leave, so I'm going to click it and using a corner turn handle, I'm gonna roll over until I see the corner turn. I'm gonna turn this around and I'm gonna move the leaf to write about their The angle you pick is up to you mostly going to hold down, shift and grab a corner just to make it a little bit bigger. And now we're ready to create our next two leaves. That's a simple use. Either selecting it and doing copy command or control C and paste Commander Control V or you can click on it with your wiki selector, which is your regular selection tool. Hold down your option key and drag off a copy. Okay? And I'm gonna put one right here. This one we want a little bit smaller, so I'm gonna grab the point on the corner and holding down shift. I'm going to scale this down, and I'm gonna select both of them and align them on their right side. So first I want to do is switch this over from aligned to art board to align to selection. And then I'm going to click the horizontal line. Right? One more. We're gonna either option copier command C command be. I'm gonna click it, drag it off, and I'm gonna rotate this and I'm gonna put a little leaf on the top here. I'm going again. Hold down, shift, grab a corner and shift just constrains proportions. And I'm gonna put a little leaf on the top there. We're ready to make the rest of our leaves using the plan tool. And I will see you in the next two video 4. Creating your Blend: Welcome back, everybody. We're ready to make the rest of our leaves on our left hand side. So I want to make sure I'm selecting both the top leave and the bottom leaf. And we're doing that because we're going to use illustrators. Blend option. Now, we could take this, make a copy and resize it. I don't want to make sure. For now, we're learning how to use the blood tool, and you're getting them all equal. So we'll go from biggest to smallest. So we're gonna select the bottom one. We're gonna select the top one, and I'm doing that with the regular selection tool, which is our wiki. I'm gonna click the big one. I'm gonna hold down shift to get more than one, and I'm gonna click the top one. The next step is to make a blend now weaken, Use option command be to make the blend or option control be or we could go to object, blend and choose Make. Now that's good. It's just a little bit too much. There's eight leaves here. We want to space them out just a little bit more. So I'm gonna use the blend options and to get to that, we have to again go to the object menu. We can go to blend and choose blend options. This will bring up the blend options menu, and right now it's on smooth color. But what we want to do is choose specified steps. Then we're gonna click the preview tool, and we're going to change this value to four or five leaves. Okay, we do five, see what that looks like. And this is just orientation. I'm not too worried about that right now. This is okay. I think I like it with a little bit more. So I'm actually going to choose four. And I think that's good spacing. I'm gonna click. OK, here's why. Using this blend option is so helpful because this will stay a blend. Even if I take this top leaf with my direct select tool, which is my achey. I'm just going to click on the top one by holding down option and shift. And then if I grab my regular selection tool, which is the wiki notice. If I turn this one, they all will change to create that pop proper blood. So I'm actually going to turn this one at the top. So it actually looks like the these leaves air out and then turning as they go to the top, You can also move them. If we wanted to move this part a little bit closer, we can do that. Okay. So you can place this wherever you want. Just make sure you're leaving room in the middle because we're going to do that stem next. OK, so we're going to use the width tool. I'm gonna click on the path here to create our stem, and I'm gonna hit shift W to get the with tool. And if you don't remember, we could go back over and grab the with tool in my previous videos. I do go over that. I'm gonna roll down to the bottom here, and I'm going to click and drag out the stem and we're ready to go on to making the opposite side. I'll see you in the next video 5. Using the Transform Panel: Welcome back. Ready to continue building our brush here, which is eventually going to create our wreaths. So I'm gonna show you a little bit different of a way to do this. We could technically take the blunder we made in the last video, and we could copy it and we get pasted in front command af and we could flip it and move it over. But that means when we make changes toe one. If I change this one, this one doesn't change. So we're going to do this a little bit differently. Make sure I don't have a copy under there. And this will make editing so much easier. So I want to talk to you guys about the appearance panel first. So over here, if you set up your essentials properly on the right, the one that looks like a little sun here is the appearance panel. So I'm gonna click on that tab, and I'm going to pull this out, and I'm gonna show you why in just a second, Okay, then I'm going to select the blend that we just made and we're going to open up the transform panel, so we're going to go to window. I'm sorry. Affect, distort and transform. And we're going to choose transform. The reason we're doing that is it brings up this nifty transform effect panel. And in this panel, we can set up different things. And the first thing you should always do is click the little preview button at the bottom. The next thing that we can dio is we can actually select where our anchor point is located . So this is in the center right now and weaken kind of pick over here on the right or at the bottom, I'm gonna choose the bottom one. The next step is we want to take a copy of this, so we need a copy. So I'm gonna go to copies and choose one and make that one. The next step is we want to move this horizontally, so I only want to go up to the move. Horizontal don't use the scale because this will make it bigger. Okay, so we want to make sure we're choosing the move. So under move, I'm going to pull this over horizontally. But you can see it's in the same direction. Okay. You'll notice at the bottom. Here we have some reflect button. So we have reflect X and reflect why To make this correct. I'm gonna choose, reflect X. And if I pull this back, I'm gonna make sure that I have the right and the left side both equal. And the best part about this is once we click OK, this is the point where we can edit our leaf. Okay, So if I decide I want to take this line, I'm using my direct select tool, which is the a key. And I want to shorten this plant just a little bit go up to right about there. And this leave isn't part of our group. So I'm just going to move this one down and here's the best part. If I grab this one and I pull it down, notice how they all change both sides. Whether it be left or right, it's going to change for the entire plant. So this is where you could make some changes if you want. Even if we took a point of this leaf and shortened it down, we went from regular leaves to these kind of leaves. It's still going to Acura really do it for both sides. Make sure you're saving your work as you go along in case something happens and again. The reason this appearance panel is so important is because if we decide we wanted to move this, let's make that a little bit closer now. Our spacing isn't right on this side, But if we go and select this entire group that we had or this entire blend you'll see in the appearance panel, it says that it's a blend and then you have the transform option. So if I click, transform again and click that preview button, you always have to re click this. I can move this one back over so that we have the correct spacing and I'm just clicking and dragging. I'm kind of eyeballing it right now. I'm gonna click, OK, and I will see you in the next video where we're going to turn this into a brush 6. Creating your Plant Brush: welcome back. It's time to create our custom brush. So I'm going to re dock my panels over here and we can always pull them out again if we need them. This time, I want to open our brush panel. So I'm going to click on the little brush panel icon and I'm gonna pull that one off and pop that one back in. I'm gonna open this up. I'm just grabbing the corner and dragging it down, and then I'm going to select the entire plant that we just made. I'm gonna take plant and I'm gonna drag it over into the brushes panel. The next thing we're going to do is we're going to actually create an art brush with this. So I'm gonna click Arte Brush and I'm gonna click. OK, it's going to open up Arte brush options. Now, we're gonna go over these in a minute because I want to make sure that you know how to edit this. And the best way to edit this is after you apply it to an arch or a narc or 1/2 circle, which we're going to be doing in the next video. But before we do that. I want to make sure I'm naming my brush. I just put my name and I call it my plant, and I'm gonna click. Okay, Now we want to take this and move it off into our art board. So I'm gonna select the whole thing. You can also hit command A and I'm gonna move this off the actual art board onto the pace board. This way we can prepare in the next video for creating our arch. I'll see you there. 7. Applying your Brush to A Path: Welcome back. We're ready to apply our brush to our wreath or our wreath shape. So once again, the best way to kind of do this is I'm gonna select the Ellipse tool. And over here on the right, I'm gonna bring up our layers palette. I'm gonna lack the plant Lehner layer and make a new layer a new layer button at the bottom . And I'm gonna call this our wreath Gonna move the brush panel over to the right. And with our lives tool, which again is the Elke or again, you can pull out this little tab. It might still be open. You can select the Ellipse tool, and I'm gonna click on the Intersect in the middle here, and I'm gonna hold shift an option down. This allows us to create ona lips from the center. Now, when we create an apply our brush, we actually want to sides. We wanna, um, brush on this side and a brush on this side. So I don't need this entire shape. So I'm going to use the scissors tool, which is your Seiki. And they look like the little scissors over here. Okay, Eraser tool scissors. Tools. Right. underneath it again. It's a little tab you can pull out, move over and we can select the scissors tool. And the first thing I'm gonna do is kind of bring a guide in. And I'm gonna bring a guide into about there and using the scissors tools I'm going to click on where the guideline meets our lips on both sides and at the bottom. I am going to bring another guide in on the left here, right about they're not too worried about exactly where it follows on the ruler. Just want to create some spacing here. And I'm going to click where the it intersects the line right there. Then using my a key, which is your directs electoral, I'm gonna select these sides. And I'm just hitting the delete key. So I only want an arch that looks like that. And we know it's a perfect arch because we actually started with an ellipse with my regular selection tool, which is the wiki, or you think selected from appear I'm going to select my path. And in our brushes panel I'm going to select the new brush we created Notice If I roll over it, it says my doodle dee plant. So I'm gonna apply the plant and you can see it's applied correctly in the right direction . But it's off. It's in the wrong direction. Number one and the shapes are a little bit off. This is why we wanna wait until we edit this. So with this selected, I'm gonna go over to my brushes panel and I'm gonna double click that plant layer, Which brings up the art brush options for the plant that we created previously. So the first thing that I want to do is flip it. So we want to choose under option here, the flip along option. But before we do that, let's always remember to click the preview button so we can see what's happening. I'm gonna choose flip along, which is going to flip my plant in the proper direction for our custom wreath. And I'm also going to click scale proportionately and you'll see the stretch to fit kind of squishes are leaves. What if I do scale proportionately? We get a much better size. At this point, we can actually make some changes. We can change the fixed with in the direction. So under wit here, I can change the fixed with and let's go toe pressure for a second, Where if you play with your settings a bit, you can see you can get some different kind of variety, but we can actually leave it on fixed with. And I'm just gonna make it a little bit smaller hermit like 93%. But depending on how you do your plant, you may want to change those settings up a little bit. The next thing I'm gonna do is click OK, and I'm going to choose apply two strokes. Otherwise it'll go revert back. Even though the brush will change, this will revert back to what it wa So I want to choose. Apply two strokes, then I can edit this a little bit more because it's a little bit longer than I wanted to be . I'm gonna click on that path, go back to my scissors and right where the stem actually ends. I'm going to cut this and notice we now have two brushes cause it's applying it to both. I like the shape of this much better by making it a little bit shorter. And so this half with are a key hard Drexel act I'm going to delete, and I'm hitting it twice to get rid of all the points. Now, we're going to take our arch in the next video and create the opposite side. I'll see you there. 8. Finishing Touches: Welcome back. Let's talk about how we can add color and finalize this brush in the next one. I'll show your project goal in the next video off creating your own brush from scratch. We'll talk about how we can make a brush that already has color on it. But in this one, we're going to talk about the different ways that we can color this wreath now that it's finished so we can actually edit our brush. So if I have this selected, which is our creditable brush, and I want to make it a color So I'm gonna pick this green color up here and you can see my stroke a selected And if I choose the green, nothing is going to change because we haven't put those settings inside this brush yet. So even though this is green, you're gonna notice this isn't changing. Another quick note is I made this a global color. So if I double click this, you can see that global is actually checked and I will show you why we did that later. Basically, what global colors means is if you have 20 different objects inside of illustrator that all have that global color. If you change the actual color swatch itself, the entire document changes for anything that has that color applied for a little bit more info on that, you can go to my other lesson, which is simple shaped cartoons with Adobe illustrator's shape builder Tool and it goes over it on a little bit more detail. So even though this is green, we have to change the brush setting so that the color can be applied as a tent. So I'm going to double click my brush that we made and click the preview button if it isn't already checked in under colorization method, What I want to choose is tense, okay? And because tenses selected not tints and shades and not huge ship you shift actually changes the color of the original brush and shifts it. But tents will actually give us the rial color. I'm gonna click, OK, and I'm gonna choose applied to strokes now if I were to choose a different color like a pink with this selected, it's going to automatically change to that color. I'm gonna commands the year control Z to go back to where we were and globally, if I wanted to change this color if I double clicked it because it's a global color. I'm gonna click preview in the corner here. If I change it, it's automatically going to change. Okay, even if nothing is selected If I d select this and I have nothing selected. If I change that color, it's going to change for all those colors inside of the document. So I'm gonna click, OK, actually gonna keep it the blue color. But if you want to be a little bit more individual with this to turn this into a regular full size shapes and strokes, we have to expand the appearance of it. So under object, if you choose expand appearance, you'll see that now everything is its own shape. You didn't lose your brush so you can recreate it again. But now we can go in individually and say, maybe we want to change all of these to know stroke, and we want to just make sure that that Phil is set so and again. You can change a different color, but these are no longer blends. Each one is individual and can be moved individually. Now you concolor it though, and change things individually. If you wanted to create a brush that had color, we're gonna do that in the next video. That's your project, for this is first, you're going to follow along with me and create this reef. Then, on your project, I would love to see what brushes you created using this method. I'll see you there. 9. Now it's Your Turn!: Welcome back. Now it's your turn. Create your own brush using the methods that I showed you, and I'll show you a little tip and trick. Um, these leaves that I'm using here were created using the pen tool. Um, and the shape builder tool. If you want to know a little bit more about the shape builder tool, you can go and watch my simple shaped cartoons using Adobe illustrator shaped builder Tool , which will show you how to go over that tool in lot more detail than what I'm going to show you next. So I'm gonna quickly show you a couple little tricks. I'm gonna show you how I made this, and I'm gonna show you how he made the leaf. So for the leaf, I basically just used the pen tool clicking and dragging out a shape editing that shape if I felt that I needed to and this is my direct, select tool. And then using the shape builder tool I went through and I added some extra little shapes here and added the little leave things and using the shape builder tool, which is shift em. I'm holding down my option key. That's I did the subtractions for that. I created one and then flipped it using the reflect tool, which is your okey. So I moved it up, okay? And I turned it and scaled it down with the holding down shift and grabbing the corner to create the other one. And how I created this was I made a triangle. So I started with a rectangle and I rotated that rectangle. I get rid of the second point up here with my pen tool. I subtracted that get rid of that. And I moved this point down and then using the corner live corner widget. Okay, if it's not selected, if you go up to view and choose show corner widget just round it off may pick a color here . So you guys concede and I used a trick which you're gonna love inside of Illustrator, to make sure I get five of these equal distant all the way around a 360 degrees. So under affect, distort and transform under the transform panel, which is the one we've been using throughout this host co course. Um, I made four copies cause I want five total, so preview button four copies. And because I have five total and I hate math. Don't like math. Makes me think too hard. I'm gonna let illustrator do the math for me. I'm gonna go to the angle here and highlight the zero degrees and actually make them do the equation for me. So 360 degrees divided by five. It'll automatically give me the 72 degrees. This is where we can start moving them. I'm gonna move the anchor point to the bottom. You can see now we have five all the way around. But if we want more spacing there, we can move them horizontally or vertically. Kind of looks like a lemon to get the equal distance basing that we need. Okay, so it's up to you if you want to build flowers. I just wanted to show you a quick little way. I clicked, Okay? And I actually added a center point to that. I made a copy, put it in front, made a smaller one, and then subtracted the front one with shape Builder tool. So it's up to you if you want to do that. But here's a quick tip. If you're making your own with multiples. You have to select the ones that you want to use and group them so command g to make a group or object group. Then you can make your copy by either option dragging. Or you can do a copy paste. Now that these air both groups, then you can make your blend. So I just sit command ship or be and I'm going to choose make blend, object blend blend options, which is what we've done before. And then you can change that specified steps. If you want more or less, I only have, ah few here. Okay, so I'm gonna hit, cancel. And after this, your next step was to use your transform panel toe Flip it. Notice I have a little one on the side. This one. This group actually was a little bit higher up this group. And because this is a blend, we can easily edit this right to create that blend. Okay. And then it was flipped to the opposite side like you learned in the other lesson and then applied to the actual arch itself, so I would love to see, can't wait to see what you guys make. Follow it along. It makes again for easy editing. I'm excited. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with.