How to convert Illustrator brushes from artistic to scatter tutorial

artistic brushes to scatter brushes convert in Illustrator

How to convert Illustrator brushes from Artistic brushes to scatter brushes in CC 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc. Brushes can be selected from the brushes panel and dragged to the artboard and then edited and then returned to the brushes panel and stored as a scatter brush in Illustrator. You can make permanent changes to the source brush strokes only if you edit the source brush file and save that. You can use the scattering etc settings to create many new scatter brushes from the artistic strokes (and vica versa). You can also convert other types of resources as well into scatter brushes etc. This tutorial shows you how to convert between formats in Illustrator


  1. Select artistic artwork in the Illustrator brushes panel

  2. Drag to the artboard

  3. Object menu

  4. Ungroup

  5. Remove the bounding box

  6. Make any modification required

  7. Drag the brush design back into the brushes panel

  8. Select the scatter option

  9. Set the scattering etc as required

Illustrator Brushes Format

The artistic brushes are stored in AI format files. You can use your standard supplied Illustrator brushes but you can also find many other Illustrator brushes (scatter as well as artistic) on the web and you may wish to convert between them. The guide here talks about artistic to scatter but you can always also just convert from scatter to artistic. Pity there is not just a conversion in-built facility


You can find our 16,000 brushes collection for Illustrator including rough brushes, ink designs and more here


Basics of the brushes and sources

artistic brushes in Illustrator

The strokes are accessible only via the Illustrator brushes panel.


If you want to create a permanent scatter (from an artistic) then you have to open the source file.


If you make any modifications to the brush inside another document, the changes are only for that document (though you can always use the save command to save the document and brushes for future use in other artworks.


The artistic strokes are the ones displayed in the preset panel as a long line. The scatter brushes are the small icons at the top of the panel.


Select the stroke to convert and edit

artistic brushes and scatter brushes panel
  1. 1. Once you have opened the Illustrator brush file and have the artworks available in the brush pane

  2. 2. you can select an artistic stroke and drag the brush from the panel onto the artboard.

  3. 3. If you select a fill from the color panel, the entire path will be filled with that fill as the 'entire group' and that will result in a pretty useless stroke. You must either double click the brush group and enter the isolation mode / editing mode for the path and you can then select the individual paths and change the color and positions as well as add or remove paths. You can use the object menu command and ungroup the group and select the bounding box and then delete.

  4. 4. Now you can modify the artwork in numerous ways such as adding additional paths or perhaps tweaking the anchor points of the artwork. Of course, you don't have to edit the stroke at all but it is always great to have a few variant sets for future use. You can also copy the modified artwork into the CC libraries so the item is saved to the creative cloud.


On completion of edits to the artistic brush

scatter brushes converted

On finishing any modifications (if any), you can then drag the art / path (the previous artistic brush) back into the Illustrator brushes preset panel and select a new type for the stroke such as "scatter" or "pattern" etc.


  1. Drag artwork to brushes panel

  2. Select scatter

  3. Set size, scattering, spacing, rotation as well as tint etc

  4. Click OK


If you are editing the original source document, please remember to save the file otherwise all the changes will be lost.



different option settings

Illustrator brushes can be converted from artistic and scatter and vica versa, you can also use many of the other resources on the site such as symbols (you can find a selection listed below)


  1. Drag symbol from the symbols panel

  2. Object menu

  3. Expand

  4. Modify any path such as change the color etc

  5. Select the artwork

  6. Drag the symbol / converted path into the brushes

  7. Select artistic etc in Illustrator


Other tutorials

1. how to use Illustrator brushes as symbols and shapes

2. how to create calligraphic brushes in Illustrator

3. how to use images / photos as Illustrator Brushes

4. how to take Photoshop brushes and vectorize into Illustrator brushes tutorial

5. How to add grain / texture to Illustrator brushes


Other resources

1. arrow symbols and shapes

2. arch vector symbols

3. circle and circular design symbols

4. bow tie and frame symbols