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How to use Illustrator brushes as symbols tutorial

Illustrator brushes and converting them to illustrator symbols

How to use Illustrator brush strokes as a great source for symbols / shapes in Illustrator tutorial. How to start with the conversion of the Illustrator brushes (as well as other paths) into an even more useful symbols set. The first thing is an Illustrator brush and you can apply a brush to a straight line or circle or just use the brush tool. Once you have your brush, you can now convert it for use as an Illustrator symbol. You can simply drag the selected path / brush combination into the symbols panel. Another option is to drag the brush stroke from the brushes panel and ungroup the artwork, delete any bounding box and then drag that path into the symbols panel.

  1. Select a line (or create using line segment tool) to hold the Illustrator brush stroke

  2. Apply a brush from brush panel

  3. Drag the brush to the symbol panel (select dynamic etc symbol)

  4. Use the "brush" symbol with the sprayer tool etc in Illustrator

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The end result is a design that can be used as an Illustrator symbol in Illustrator CC CS6 CS5 etc. You can then use the symbol / brush converted design as a source for the sprayer tool to add multiple instances of the artwork. You can always re-edit the symbol / brush by double clicking the symbol in the panel and changing the stroke to a new brush etc. The result can be exported to Photoshop. This tutorial shows you how to create amazing symbols based on brushes and how to edit them and use them with the sprayer

Basic start point for the Illustrator brushes conversion (into a symbol)

  1. Select or create a path for the brush stroke and that can be as simple as a straight line but equally the design could be a circle or a curved line or spiral etc.

  2. go to the brushes panel

  3. select a stroke

  4. the brush is now attached to the path

Add brushes to the symbols panel in Illustrator

illustrator brushes as a symbol tutorial
  1. select the stroke / path combination which could be an artistic or a scatter Illustrator brush

  2. drag to the symbols panel

  3. select the default settings and there you have the item in the panel.

Of course, you can also re-color the brush stroke before you convert it to a symbol and then add the brush stroke to the symbols panel or perhaps changing the spacing or the angle of the Illustrator brush and then add that to the symbol panel and so on. You can even combine the Illustrator brushes with different paths and then add that to the symbol panel in Illustrator - 1000s of amazing symbols from a single stroke. You can now add the symbol as an instance by dragging to the artboard or use the sprayer tool to add the instances

Symbol sprayer to add stroke instance

brushes as symbols via sprayer tool
  1. Add the instances using the sprayer tool by selecting the created symbol in the panel

  2. Selecting the symbol sprayer

  3. Add as many instances or as few as you wish.


You can also modify the size and the angle etc by using the sub sprayer tools such as the sizer and spinner etc

How to change the brush stroke

replace illustrator brushes symbols
  1. Go over to the same symbol in the panel and double click the item to enter the editing mode.

  2. Change the stroke by selecting the stroke path and selecting a new one in the brush panel.

  3. Exit editing mode / isolation mode and all the paths / instances will change to the new form.

Other sets

1. Christmas and Xmas symbols and shapes


1. how to use the new dynamic symbols and color feature in Illustrator