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How to use / create variable width profile strokes in Illusrator tutorial

Learn how to use and create variable width profile strokes in Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 etc. You can use the variable width strokes by using the width profiles at the top of the Illustrator application.

Variable width profiles / strokes

how to create variable width profile strokes in Illustrator
  1. Select a path in Illustrator

  2. Set the width for the path

  3. Set the color

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

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

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

Expand variable width strokes in Illustrator via the expand appearance command

expand appearance and variable stroke widths in Illustrator

One thing that is not great with the variable width strokes is that they often leave a lot of points behind when you use the expand appearance command

  1. Select path

  2. Object menu

  3. Expand appearance

  4. Now manipulate the points using direct selection tool etc

The result is not always great and you can always use the smooth tool or as I like to use, 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 variable width strokes with type to create all kinds of unique and standout type effects

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

  1. Select type (does not need to be expanded)

  2. Appearance panel

  3. Right side menu and add stroke

  4. Select a variable width profile to the currently selected stroke

  5. Add a new stroke via right side menu

  6. Select a different variable width profile to the stroke

Brush strokes and variable width strokes in Illustrator

variable width strokes and brush tools for Illustrator

You can also use the variable width strokes with brushes / brush definitions

  1. Select the paintbrush tool

  2. Apply

  3. Select a brush stroke from brush definition dropdown (top bar)

  4. Select variable width profile stroke to modify the current selected brush

Brushes to buy for use with Illustrator

1. Selection of 16,000 brushes for Illustrator

Other tutorials

1. Curvature tool and curves / paths in Illustrator

References and sources

1. Variable stroke widths in Illustrator at Adobe

 

variable width profile strokes illustratorvariable width profile strokes add

 

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