How to use / create variable width profile in Illustrator tutorial

Learn how to use and create variable width profile strokes in Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 etc.

Variable width profiles / strokes

how to create variable width profile strokes in Illustrator
  1. Select a path in Illustrator for the variable width profile to be used on

  2. Set the stroke width for the path

  3. Set the stroke color

  4. Select the variable width profile from dropdown (along top bar of Illustrator)

  5. To create a new profile, click the add to profile button in variable width profiles panel

You can use them by using the default selection of settings at the top of the application.


Video tutorial on the subject of this tutorial by (youtube)


You can use them with strokes, with normal paths, lines, circles, illustrations, use them with brushes and more. The VWP settings can be modified and saved for use in future projects. You can quickly apply the VWP to any design and create amazing results in seconds such as beautiful drawn ink strokes.


Buy $9.95 16,000 Amazing artworks that can be used with the VWP feature in AI, all from for commercial use AI gallery


By default you only get 6 VWP with the application as well as just the default one (really wish they would add a few more). If you really want to explore this tool, a great plugin is available from Astute called widthscribe.



The worst thing about the VWP feature is that when you come to expand the artwork created by the tool then the result is often truly awful if you are worried about the number of points generated and not even that, sometimes there are really a lot of points in a very small space and that can make it really difficult to edit the design without some intensive work with a variety of tools included in the application or better, using tools supplied by others.


Select path and go to the object menu and use the Expand appearance and now manipulate the points using direct selection tool etc


You can always use the smooth tool but personally the results are even worse sometimes than the actual expand.


A better approach is probably using a third party plugin such as the Astute Graphic Smart remove brush (a superb tool) to remove the excessive points. You can find out more about the smart remove brush via the vectorscribe section on the Astute graphics site as well as download a demo of the plugin set. You can also find out more about the smart remove via video tutorials on youtube.



You can use them with type by selecting some type and then applying the width profile via the appearance panel and adding a stroke and then manipulating the stroke further


Select type (does not need to be expanded) and go to the appearance panel available via the window menu. Right side menu and add stroke. Apply one of the VWP to the currently selected stroke. Add a new stroke via right side menu. Select a different VWP for the stroke via the dropdown (whether a default one or one that you have added to the list)


You can also use them with brushes and you can use them to create some truly unique strokes from even some of the more basic designs supplied in the brushes panel. You can also use them with the artworks supplied by graphicxtras and even a basic line design can be turned into something very unique by using the tools in this tutorial.


You can also use the VWP with the pencil tool found in the toolbar


brushesThough as mentioned earlier, the result can turn out to have excessive points which may not be useful. Select the paintbrush tool and apply. Select a stroke from brush definition dropdown (top bar). Select a VWP to modify the current selected artwork


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