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More Natural Outlines Using WidthScribe and Adobe Illustrator

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Illustrator Tips / Tool/ Comments: 0
Final Image Preview

In this tutorial we will learn how to create a vector outline using Width Brush Tool, Width Eraser Tool and Width Selector Tool, which are the tools of the WidthScribe plug-in and are designed for easy work with variable width paths. WidthScribe is available to download today, and may be used in a free 14 day trial period.

Today we will create an outline of a comic character, and before we begin, let’s briefly look at a few ways that it can be done. Usually, professional illustrators while drawing characters use variable width outline. This allows you to make necessary accents and make the illustration more dynamic. The native Illustrator Blob Brush Tool or Paint Brush Tool are the most commonly used tools for these purposes. The Blob Brush Tool creates a closed path. This is a quick way to create an outline, however, editing such a path is much more time-consuming as no “spline” exists to change direction or widths along the path.

If you use the Paintbrush Tool, the path remains open and it allows you to edit the direction, but you will not be able to edit the width dynamically.

That means, in case of a mistake when drawing with the Blob Brush Tool or Paint Brush Tool, it would be better if the outline is redrawn then edited.

Starting with Illustrator CS5, Adobe Illustrator has Variable Width Stroke feature, which allows you to edit the width of the path locally with the help of the Width Tool (Shift+W). However, working with this tool can hardly be compared to working with a brush to which artists are now accustomed to. Today we’ll talk about tools that will allow you to work more naturally, using all the advantages of Variable Width Stroke feature.

Step 1

The picture below shows a character in which outlines are uniform paths of equal width.

These paths were created based on the sketch, which was kindly provided by Victoria Vasilyeva. You can create such outline using the Pen Tool (P) or more quickly and accurately with the InkScribe plug-in.

Step 2

To create variable width paths we will use Width Brush Tool, which is one of the tools of WidthScribe plug-in.

Now you can affect the selected paths using the mouse or Wacom tablet (all the paths are selected in the picture below, I just hide their edges using View > Hide Edges (Cmd / Ctrl + H)).

You can read full version of this tutorial on

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