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)


Basics : basicYou can use them with strokes, with normal paths, lines, circles, illustrations, use them with brushes and more. The settings can be modified and saved for use in future projects.


You can quickly apply them to any design and create amazing results in seconds such as beautiful drawn ink strokes.


Buy Price :$6.49 US Dollars 16,000 Amazing artworks that can be used with the VWP feature in AI, all from for commercial use AI gallery


Presets : presetsBy default you only get six presets 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 feature, a great plugin is available from Astute called widthscribe as the settings can all be modified by the width tool


Find the settings along the top bar beside the stroke setting


Please feel free to download a selection of our designs and use in your projects - all are by


Use with paths : linesSelect the pen tool and set a stroke weight and color for the pen tool. Click the artboard and then click the artboard again to create a quick line.


Go to the selection tool and then go to the top bar and select one of the presets. The default being uniform.


You can continue the path on using the pen tool or perhaps the curvature tool and the preset will change as you add to the path


Modify with width tool : toolThere is a tutorial on the site giving a lot more details about the tool but you can modify any of the settings.


There is an add feature available on the panel but sometimes it is not available. Does seem to depend on the paths used. It also appears to be document based and will vanish otherwise.


Create frames : frameYou can use the settings to quickly create all kinds of frames for use in the application and also saving them for use in libraries so they can be used in Photoshop etc.


Simply select a basic shape such as a rectangle and fill the rectangle with nil and set a color and weight (large) for the stroke and the apply one of the settings and instant frame.


Excessive points : expandThe worst thing about the 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.


Use with type : typeYou can use them with type by selecting some type and then applying the presets 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)


Use brushes : brushesYou 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.


Pencil tool : pencilYou can also use the presets with the pencil tool found in the toolbar. You can apply the same pencil strokes (as with the image on the right) but each of the lines has been modified using the presets included with the application to create some variety in the pencil lines


Keywords : How to use / create variable width profile in Illustrator tutorial



Commercial use. Secure sales by (c) 1995-2018 Andrew Buckle, Maidstone artist, tel: +44 1622 / 688 375 E-mail: support@