Drawing and Painting in Adobe Illustrator

After you use the Pencil tool or any other drawing tool to create a path, you can then use Live Paint or the Live Paint Bucket tool to convert those paths into a Live Paint Group so that you can paint. In this article, we are going to learn how to use paint and all the various brush tools as well.

Creating Live Paint Groups

Live Paint allows you to fill in open or closed paths by creating Live Paint Groups. It is simply a matter of turning paths into these Live Paint Groups so you can paint them. What is more, you can trace a raster image and convert it into a Live Paint group to paint. The Live Paint Bucket tool lets you click an area formed by intersecting lines to apply fill (also known as face) and stroke (known as edge) attributes.

Here is how to create Live Paint Groups.

Create a drawing. For our example, we are going to use these rectangles.

Select the paths or objects.

Go to Object>Live Paint>Make.

Use the Live Paint Bucket Tool (grouped with the Shape Builder Tool), and then click the selected object.

Convert Objects to Live Paint Groups

If you cannot get an object to convert to a Live Paint Group using the steps above, then go to Type>Create Outlines. Then, turn the paths into a Live Paint Group.

If using bitmap images, go to Object>Live Trace>Make and Convert to Live Paint.

For other objects, you can go to Object>Expand. This makes the paths into a Live Paint group.

Setting Options for Live Paint Bucket Tool.

Double click the Live Paint Bucket to set its options.

If you want the tool to paint the fill, check the box. If you want it to paint strokes, check the Paint Strokes box.

We have ours checked to Paint Fills. As you saw in the prior snapshot, the Live Paint Bucket filled our shapes.

If we would have checked strokes instead, this is what would have happened.

Check the Cursor Swatch Preview if you want to see an instant preview of what the Live Paint will do. The Cursor Swatch Preview is shown below for the fill. It is circled in red.

Next, select the color that the paths to be painted will be highlighted in. As you see above, ours are in red, which matches the options box below. You can also decide the width of the highlight.

Click OK when you are finished setting options.

Use the Live Paint Bucket Tool

Click on the Live Paint Bucket tool in the toolbox. Make sure you have your options set for Paint Fills.

Select the color you want to use.

Now, go to your Live Paint Group.

When you move your mouse over the Live Paint Group, you will see the swatch (if you have that selected in options) and a little paint bucket. Left click your mouse to paint.

To use the Live Paint Bucket tool for strokes, make sure that it is set in Live Paint Bucket Options. Then, hover your mouse above a path in the Live Paint Group. You will see the swatch appear. Click to paint the stroke.

The Live Paint Selection Tool

The Live Paint Selection tool is grouped with the Live Paint Bucket. It looks like this, .

The Live Paint Selection tool lets you select sections of a Live Paint Group to paint.

Click the Live Paint Selection tool, and then click in a section of your Live Paint Group.

It paints the selection for you.

The Brushes Panel

With the Brushes panel, you can draw with different brush tips, draw freestyle lines, shapes, patterns, and even textures. In Illustrator, there are five categories of brushes: calligraphic, art, bristle, scatter, and pattern. Illustrator comes with built-in brushes that you can use, but, of course, you can create your own as well.

Go to Window>Brushes to open the Brushes panel.

Now, select a path in your object using a selection tool.

To change the Brushes panel view, click the Options button in the Brushes panel and choose which category of brush you want to see.

Now, click the Brushes libraries Menu button on the panel, point to a Brush category, and then select a library.

The library is displayed in another panel.

Now, click a brush in the library panel to add it to the Brushes panel. We will select the blue one above.

As you can see, it is now added to our Brushes panel.

And it is also added to our selected path.

Using the Paint Brush Tool to Paint Freehand

The Paintbrush tool is located in your toolbox. It looks like this, .

Click on the Paintbrush tool.

Now, select None for the Fill color.

You can do this by clicking the white square with the red line through it, located below the Fill and Stroke colors:

Next, go to the Brushes panel and select a brush. Now, you can freehand draw.

We selected this brush.

Here is the closed path that we drew.

You can use any of the brushes found in the brush libraries.

Take the time to play around with the different categories of brushes (and all the brushes in the categories). Learn the effects that each brush has and get a feel for the ones you like. Painting can be a lot of fun in Illustrator.

The Liquify Tools

The Liquify tools are located in the toolbox. They are grouped together. The Width tool shows by default and looks like this, . With these tools, you can distort a path easily with just a click of your mouse.

The Liquify tools include: Warp, Twirl, Pucker, Bloat, Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle.

Let us have some fun and learn how to use the Liquify tools.


The Width Tool

Select the Liquify tool that you want to use. We have selected Width.

Now, click or drag on the path that you want to "liquify."

The new path will use the stroke color. Our stroke color is the same color as our fill, so it looks like this.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Adobe Illustrator course?

Click on a selection tool, and then click in a blank area to deselect the path.

The Crystallize Tool

Now, let us try the Crystallize tool on our star.

The Crystallize tool gives us a circle that we can click or drag over the paths to crystallize them.

If we deselect, our star now looks like this.


The Warp Tool

Let us use the Warp tool on our polygon.

Click on the Warp tool. Click or drag the circle over the paths that you want to warp.

Our polygon now looks like this.


The Twirl Tool

To see what the Twirl tool does, let us use it on our spiral.

Click on the Twirl tool.

Just like with the Warp tool, click or drag the circle over the paths.

When we are finished, it looks like this.


The Pucker Tool

Let us use the Pucker tool on our new drawing.

Click on the Pucker tool.

You can click or click and drag the circle over the paths.

You can see our finished drawing above.


The Bloat Tool

Use the Bloat tool in the same manner. Click the Bloat tool, and then drag over your paths.


The Scallop Tool

Click the Scallop tool, and then click or drag it over the paths that you want to scallop.

We turned a circle into this.


The Wrinkle Tool

Click the Wrinkle tool, and then click or drag over paths. We turned a circle into this using the Wrinkle tool.

Illustrator Effects

It is time to start having a lot of fun with Illustrator! Adobe Illustrator effects give you ways to get creative and have fun with your work. Turn your graphics into a water color painting. Turn a rectangle into a three dimensional brick. The Illustrator Effects menu has over 100 effects that you can apply to your artwork. If you have ever used Photoshop effects, then you know exactly what we are talking about.

Applying Effects

Select the target circle for the layer, sublayer, group, or object. You can always select the object in your document area also.

Now, go to Effect on the Menu Bar. Select an effect that you want to add from the menu then submenus. An options window will open for the effect that you choose.

You can preview how the effect will look in your document by checking the Preview box. The option window for 3D Revolve is shown below. You can see the Preview box on the lower left hand side.

Now, set your options. When you are finished, click OK.

Adobe Illustrator then processes your changes. This may take a few minutes, depending on the volume of changes Illustrator has to make.

In this lesson, we are going to discuss a few of these effects and show you how to use them. Of course, it is impossible for us to cover all of them. There are a 100 effects and endless combinations of those effects. We are going to cover a few of them so that you are clear on what they do-and are more familiar with setting options for all effects.

Convert to Shape Effect

You can use the Convert to Shape effect to change an object's outline to a rectangle, rounded rectangle, or ellipse without changing the path. In the options box you can enter the height and width of the converted shape.

First, select the object, layer, or group that you want to convert.

We have selected this star.

Next, go to Effect>Covert to Shape and pick a shape. We have picked a rectangle.

The options window now opens.

Set the side, and whether you want an absolute value or relative to the original object's shape.

Click OK when you are finished.

This is what we see when we deselect our object.

However, if we use the Selection tool, we can still see our original shape with its path.

The Scribble Effect

If you want to make your object look like it was hand drawn, you can apply the Scribble effect.

We are going to use our star once again.

Select your object, layer, or group. Then, go to Effect>Stylize>Scribble.

The Scribble Options window appears.

Let us go through the options.

Settings allows us to select a preset for the Scribble effect.

Angle allows you to enter an angle value or rotate the dial. You can change the angle of the sketch lines (scribble lines).

Path Overlap determines if you want the sketch lines to extend past the edge of the path, toward the inside, or along the path.

Line Options allows you to change the stroke width for the lines, the curviness of the lines, and the spacing for the lines (tight together or loose and apart).

Click OK.

Here is our star with the Scribble effect applied.

The Inner or Outer Glow Effect

An inner glow spreads a color from the edge of an object inward. An outer glow spreads color from the edge of an object outward. You can apply both effects to an object if you want.

First, select the object, layer, or group that you want to apply the effect to.

Go to Effect>Stylize>Inner Glow, or Effect>Stylize>Outer Glow.

We have chosen Inner Glow.

In the Inner Glow Options box, you can decide the color by clicking on the box to the right of Mode.

Mode stands for Blend Mode. Select a blending mode.

Next, you can change the opacity, or the transparency of the glow.

The blur determines how far the glow extends from the edge of the object.

For the Inward Glow, click Center if you want the glow to spread outward from the center of the object. Click Edge to have it spread from the edge inward.

Click OK.

The Drop Shadow Effect

The Drop Shadow effect applies soft, natural colors to an object to create a drop shadow. Once you add the Drop Shadow effect, the effect is rasterized upon output. This means it is converted from a vector to a raster.

Let us add a Drop Shadow Effect to our star.

You should make sure that the object, layer, or group that you want to apply the effect to is selected.

Go to Effect>Stylize>Drop Shadow.

In the options box, specify blend mode and opacity.

The X and Y offset is where you enter the offset distance for the shadow.

Specify the blur and color. If you do not want to pick a color, you can pick darkness, then select a percentage for the darkness.

Click OK.

3D Effects

Using 3D effects in Illustrator, you can turn two dimensional objects into three dimensional ones. The effects that you can choose from are, Extrude and Bevel, Revolve, and Rotate.

Let us select our star, and learn how the 3D effects work.

Go to Effect>3D. We are going to choose Extrude and Bevel.

Click the More Options button at the bottom of the options window.

Now, let us set your options.

Position refers to object perspective and rotation angle.

Extrude and Bevel allows you to specify the extent of object depth and bevel. This is your 3D effect.

Surface allows you to specify the surface of the 3D object.

Lighting allows you to add light sources, control the intensity of the lighting, change the shading color, and change the direction of the source of light.

Map Art allows you to map 2D artwork as a symbol onto the surface of your new 3D object.

Click OK when you are finished.

Warp Effects

Warp effects allow you to apply distortion effects to objects. To show you how Warp effect works, we are going to apply the effect to our rectangle.

Select your object, group, or layer. We have selected our rectangle.

Go to Effect>Warp, then select the type of warp you want to apply from the submenu, as shown below:

We are going to select Fisheye.

The Warp options window opens.

Click the Style downward arrow to change the warp effect.


Click Horizontal or Vertical to tell Illustrator the effect direction that you want.

Drag the Bend slider to adjust bending for the effect.

Drag the Horizontal and/or Vertical sliders to adjust the direction of the distortion.

Click OK when you are finished.

Distort and Transform

The Distort and Transform effects help you to apply different types of distortion and transformation effects to your work. There are several effects you can choose from, and each effect produces a different result. The variety of effects you can apply with this tool are listed below:

Let us show you how these effects work by using the Pucker and Bloat effect on our rectangle:

Remember to select the object, group, or layers that you want to distort or transform.

Go to Effect>Distort and Transform> Pucker and Bloat.

Use the slider to specify whether you want more pucker or more bloat.

Click OK.

We chose more bloat.

Here is our shape with the distortion and transformation applied: