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Pattern Brushes in Adobe Illustrator

Creating stroke-based weave brushes with corner caps By Dave Nagel
I've shown you over numerous tutorials how to create brushes and strokes for a variety of applications. But one that always seems to get people stymied is the creation of pattern brushes in Adobe Illustrator with corner caps that match up with the rest of the stroke. This is owing to the fact that the solution, while not overly difficult, does require a particular precise approach, one that we'll take a look at today.

For this example, we're going to create a fairly simple two-stroke weave pattern, with wavy lines intersecting one another and looping over the length of our path. The creation of this particular type of stroke (or brush, more precisely) is straightforward: Intersect two even, wavy lines, and drag it to your Brushes palette. Normally such a brush will draw perfectly when applying it to a freehand path. But a problem occurs when you apply the brush to objects with sharp angles, such as rectangles. Namely, the stroke leaves a vacant area on the corners.

So we're going to learn how to fill this area properly with a corner cap that matches up with our stroke. In this case, we'll create a somewhat decorative cap that will blend well in our brush and also allow you to make some delicate and intricate patterns. Hopefully, by the time we're done, you'll be able to take this information and generalize it so that you can make your own pattern brushes with matching corner caps.

Creating the main portion of the stroke
First, the easy part. To begin, create a simple, short line. I'm giving mine a stroke weight of 4 points just so that it's easy to see. Apply whatever weight you wish to the stroke. Important: If you wish to be able to colorize your stroke later on, make sure you create the stroke with a color other than black. Black pattern brushes will not colorize.

Next, with the stroke selected, choose Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. Switch the number of ridges to 1 and the points to "Smooth."

Again, with your line selected, choose Object > Transform > Reflect. Use the Vertical reflection, and click on the Copy button.

Using the Copy button will give you a duplicate of your original curvy line so that you wind up with an interwoven effect.

Select both of the lines and drag them simultaneously to your Brushes palette. When given the option, choose "Pattern Brush" from the list of available choices. Leave everything else at default, but set the name to "Preliminary Brush." (This name is just for reference for this tutorial. You can change it later.)

The brush will then appear in your Brushes palette.

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