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Design

Create a Detailed Snake Pattern Brush in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:

In the following steps you will learn how to create a detailed snake pattern brush in Adobe Illustrator.

For starters you will learn how to setup a simple grid and how to create three thin, art brushes. Next, using these art brushes along with basic tools and effects you will learn how to create the snake scales and how to easily color and multiply them. Moving on you will learn how to create the head of the snake and the tip of the tail using basic blending and vector shape building techniques along with simple effects and the Live Corners feature. Finally, you will learn how to save your snake pattern brush and how to easily recolor it.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width box and 915 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 1px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 1 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

Snake Pattern Brush

2. Create Three Art Brushes

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at black (R=0 G=0 B=0). Move to your Artboard and simply create a 1 x 10px rectangle, the Snap to Grid should ease your work.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Make sure that your thin, black shape is still selected, open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and click the New Brush button. Check the Art Brush box and click OK to open the Art Brush Options window. Enter "1px Brush" in the Name box then click the OK button. Once you can see the new art brush inside your Brushes panel you can remove that thin, black shape from your artboard.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

For this step you will need a grid every 0.5px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 0.5 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 0.5 x 10px shape and set its fill color at black. Make sure that this new shape stays selected, focus on the Brushes panel and click the New Brush button. Check the Art Brush box and click OK. Enter "0.5px Brush" in the Name box then click the OK button. Remove the black shape from your artboard.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

For this step you will need a grid every 0.25px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 0.25 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 0.25 x 10px shape and set its fill color at black. Make sure that this new shape stays selected, focus on the Brushes panel and click the New Brush button. Check the Art Brush box and click OK. Enter "0.25px Brush" in the Name box then click the OK button. Don't forget to remove the shape from your artboard.

Snake Pattern Brush

3. Create the Snake Scale Shapes

Step 1

Switch to gridline every 2px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 2 in the Gridline every box. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create two, 16 x 4px shapes, set the fill color at R=39 G=169 B=224 and place them as shown in the following image.

Make sure that the Ellipse Tool (L) stays active, create two, 16 x 6px shape, set the fill color at R=102 G=45 B=144 and place them as shown below. Using the same tool, create a 16 x 8px shape, set the fill color at R=237 G=42 B=123 and place it as shown in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the five anchor points highlighted in the first image and simply hit the Delete button from your keyboard to remove them. In the end things should look like in the second image. Select all five paths and hit Control-G to Group them.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create two, 16 x 4px shapes, set the fill color at R=109 G=30 B=45 and place them as shown in the following image. Make sure that the Ellipse Tool (L) stays active, create two, 16 x 6px shape, set the fill color at R=246 G=147 B=30 and place them as shown below. Using the same tool, create another two, 16 x 6px shapes, set the fill color at R=255 G=200 B=25 and place them as shown in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the six anchor points highlighted in the first image and simply remove them using the Delete button from your keyboard. In the end things should look like in the second image. Select all six paths and Group them (Control-G).

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 5

Reselect the group with the blue, purple and pink paths, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ). Select this group copy, drag it to the right and place it as shown in the second image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 6

Focus on the top, red shape. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the top anchor point (highlighted in the first image) and simply drag it 2px down and 4px to the right. Move to the bottom, red shape.

Make sure that the Direct Selection Tool (A) is still active, select the bottom anchor point (highlighted in the third image) and simply drag it 2px up and 4px to the right. In the end things should look like in the fourth image.

Snake Pattern Brush

4. Color and Multiply Your Snake Scale Shapes

Step 1

Select the four blue shapes and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). First, select the existing fill and replace the blue with R=185 G=127 B=0. Next, add a second fill for these shapes using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image).

Select this new fill, set the fill color at R=135 G=63 B=0 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Finally, return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "0.25px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Select the two red shapes and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). First, select the existing fill and replace the red with R=171 G=105 B=0.

Next, add a second fill for these shapes using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, set the fill color at R=116 G=43 B=0 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "0.25px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. Select only the bottom shape edited in the step, focus on the Appearance panel, open the existing Transform effect and simply inverse the values used in the Move-Vertical section. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Select the four purple shapes and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). First, select the existing fill and replace the purple with R=198 G=144 B=0.

Add a second fill for these shapes, select it, set the fill color at R=155 G=83 B=0 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Finally, return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "0.5px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

Select the pink and the yellow shapes and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). First, select the fill and replace the existing colors with R=211 G=161 B=0.

Add a second fill for these shapes, select it, set the color at R=175 G=103 B=0 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Finally, return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "1px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 5

Reselect all the shapes made so far and Group them (Control-G). Make sure that this new group is selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Snake Pattern Brush

5. Add Highlights for Your Snake Scales

Step 1

Reselect your group of shapes and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select only this group copy, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Unite button. Fill the resulting shape with R=39 G=168 B=224 and don't worry about the little gaps that you might spot in this new shape.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 24px square, set the fill color at R=39 G=168 B=224 and place it as shown in the third image to cover the little gaps. Select both blue shapes made in this step and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. In the end your new shape should look like in the fourth image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px. Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and simply move it 1px down using the down arrow button from your keyboard.

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected and hit Control-8 (or go to Object > Compound Path > Make) to turn it into a Compound Path.

Select this new compound path, focus on the Appearance panel or the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency), lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and simply move it 2px down using the down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and simply move it 3px down using the down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 5

Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and simply move it 6px down using the down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 6

Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and simply move it 1px up using the up arrow button from your keyboard.

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 7

Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and simply move it 2px up using the up arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 8

Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and simply move it 3px up using the up arrow button from your keyboard.

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 9

Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and simply move it 6px up using the up arrow button from your keyboard.

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 10

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) and switch to gridline every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Reselect your blue shape and remove it.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 31 x 12px shape, set the fill color at white (R=255 G=255 B=255), place it as shown in the second image then lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 11

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two, 31 x 4px shapes and set the fill color at white. Place these new shapes as shown in the first image, lower the Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Using the same tool, create two, 31 x 2px shapes and set the fill color at white. Place these new shapes as shown in the second image, lower the Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 12

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 31 x 4px shapes, set the fill color at white and place it as shown in the first image.

Using the same tool, create a 31 x 2px shape, the the fill color at white and place it as shown in the second image. Reselect both rectangle made in this step, lower the Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

6. Use the Shape Builder Tool to Easily Cut the Your Shapes

Step 1

Select all the shapes made so far and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel, simply double-click on this new group and rename it "main". Make sure that your "main" group is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Keep focusing on the Layers panel and simply click on the little eye icon that stands for your "main" group copy to make it invisible. You'll need it later.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Focus on the visible "main" group. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 10 x 30px shape, set the fill color at R=39 G=169 B=224, lower its Opacity to 50% and place it as shown in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Select your "main" group along with that blue rectangle and grab the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Hold the Shift button from your keyboard and simply drag a selection along the right side of your blue rectangle as shown in the following image. You might have to repeat this technique once or twice to make sure that you get rid of the really tiny shapes. Just make sure that you don't drag that selection over the edge of your blue rectangle. In the end things should look like in the second image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

Reselect your "main" group along with the blue shapes and make sure that the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) is still active. Don't forget to hold the Shift button from your keyboard and simply drag a new selection along the left side of the blue rectangle as shown in the following image. Take a closer look at the edge, it's very important to that you get rid of the really tiny paths and make sure that you don't drag that selection over the edge of your blue rectangle. In the end things should look like in the second image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 5

Select one of your blue shapes and simply go to Select > Same > Appearance to select the rest of the shapes with similar Appearance attributes. Once you have all these shapes selected, hit the Delete button from your keyboard to remove them from your artboard. In the end things should look like in the third image. Move to the Layers panel and rename the remaining group "bodyMain".

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 6

Take a closer look at your "bodyMain" group and you'll notice some tiny gaps that need to get covered. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 10 x 26px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the Layers panel, select this new rectangle, drag it inside your "bodyMain" group then simply hit Shift-Control- [ to send it to back.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 7

Focus on the Layers panel, turn off the visibility for your "bodyMain" group and turn on the visibility for that "main" group copy. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 22 x 30px shape, set the fill color at R=39 G=169 B=224, lower its Opacity to 50% and place it as shown in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 8

Select your "main" group along with that blue rectangle and grab the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Hold the Shift button from your keyboard and simply drag a selection along your blue rectangle as shown in the first image. Just make sure that you don't drag that selection over the left edge of your blue rectangle. Continue with the Shape Builder Tool, don't forget to hold the Shift button and drag a new selection along the shapes highlighted in the second image. In the end things should look like in the third image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 9

Select all the blue shapes and simply remove them from your artboard. Move to the Layers panel and rename the remaining group "snakeTailEnd". Also, turn on the visibility for your "bodyMain" group. In the end things should look like in the third image.

Snake Pattern Brush

7. Create the Two Ends of the Snake

Step 1

Select your "snakeTailEnd" group and go to Object > Transform > Move. Enter -210 in the Horizontal box and simply click the OK button to move the selected group 210px to the left as shown in the second image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Select your "bodyMain" group and go to Object > Transform > Move. Enter -10 in the Horizontal box and simply click the Copy button. Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this newly created group and rename it "snakeTail".

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Reselect your "snakeTail" group and go to Object > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

Reselect your "snakeTail" group along with the "snakeTailEnd" group and Group them (Control-G). Make sure that this new group stays selected and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort. Drag the left anchor points roughly as shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Move to the Layers panel and simply rename this new group "bodyTail".

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 5

Select your "bodyMain" group and go to Object > Transform > Move. Enter 160 in the Horizontal box and simply click the Copy button. Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this newly created group and rename it "bodyHead".

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 6

Reselect your "bodyHead" group and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 7

Reselect your "bodyHead" group and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort. Drag the right anchor points roughly as shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 8

Focus on the Layers panel and simply turn off the visibility for your "bodyMain" group. This should make it easier for you to notice where the "bodyTail" and the "bodyHead" groups start and end.

Snake Pattern Brush

8. Create the Tail Tip

Step 1

Focus on the left side of your "bodyTail" group. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 14 x 4px shape, set the fill color at R=39 G=169 B=224 and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the anchor point highlighted in the second image and delete it. In the end your new, blue shape should look like in the third image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create two, 14 x 3px shapes, set the fill color at R=255 G=200 B=25 and place them as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points highlighted in the second image and delete them. In the end your yellow shapes should look like in the third image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create two, 12 x 2px shapes, set the fill color at R=240 G=90 B=41 and place them as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points highlighted in the second image and delete them. In the end your orange shapes should look like in the third image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

Reselect the blue path, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ). Select this group copy, drag it to the right and place it as shown in the second image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 5

Select the two blue shapes and focus on the Appearance panel. First, select the existing fill and replace the blue with R=198 G=144 B=0.

Add a second fill for these shapes, select it, set the color at R=153 G=63 B=0 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Finally, return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "0.5px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 6

Select the two yellow shapes and focus on the Appearance panel. First, select the existing fill and replace the yellow with R=198 G=144 B=0.

Add a second fill for these shapes, select it, set the color at R=116 G=43 B=0 and simply hit Shift-Control-E to add the same Transform effect used in the previous step.

Return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "0.5px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. In the end things should look like in the first image. Select the remaining orange shapes and focus on the Appearance panel .

First, select the existing fill and replace the orange with R=185 G=127 B=0. Add a second fill for these shapes, select it, set the color at R=116 G=43 B=0 and hit Shift-Control-E. Finally, return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "0.25px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. In the end things should look like in the second image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 7

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 20 x 4px shape, set the fill color at white, place it as shown in the first image, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Using the same tool, create an 18 x 2px shape, set the fill color at white, place it as shown in the second image, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 8

Reselect all the shapes highlighted in the first image and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel, rename this new group "tailTip" then send it to back (Shift-Control- [ ).

Snake Pattern Brush

9. Create the Head of the Snake

Step 1

Focus on the right side of your "bodyHead" group. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 66 x 48px shape, set the fill color at R=175 G=103 B=0 and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangle is selected and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points.

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the right side of this new shape. Select the top anchor point and drag it 15px down then select the bottom anchor point and drag it 15px up. In the end things should look like in the second image. Move to the Layers panel and simply rename the shape made in this step "snakeHead".

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and go again to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply click on the two anchor points highlighted in the first image to remove them. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the left side of your "snakeHead" shape. Select the top anchor point and drag it 2px down then select the bottom anchor point and drag it 2px up. In the end things should look like in the third image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Keep focusing on your "snakeHead" shape. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply remove the six anchor points highlighted by the blue circle in the following image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points highlighted by the yellow circles in the following image and go to the control panel.

Open the Corners fly-out window, check the Corner: Round and the Rounding: Absolute buttons then simply enter a 20px radius. Make sure that the Direct Selection Tool (A) is still selected, select the four anchor points highlighted by the green circles and return to the control panel. Again, open the Corners fly-out window and enter a 10px radius. In the end things should look like in the second image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 5

Focus on the left side of your "snakeHead" shape. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create two, 6 x 3px shapes, set the fill color at R=39 G=169 B=224 and place them as shown in the following image. Make sure that the Ellipse Tool (L) stays active, create four, 6 x 3px shapes, set the fill color at R=102 G=45 B=144 and place them as shown below. Using the same tool, create a 6 x 4px shape, set the fill color at R=237 G=42 B=123 and place it as shown in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 6

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the seven anchor points highlighted in the first image and simply hit the Delete button from your keyboard to remove them. In the end things should look like in the second image. Select all seven paths and Group them (Control-G).

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 7

Select the two blue shapes and focus on the Appearance panel. First, select the existing fill and replace the blue with R=185 G=127 B=0.

Add a second fill for these shapes, select it, set the color at R=135 G=63 B=0 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Finally, return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "0.25px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 8

Select the four purple shapes and focus on the Appearance panel. First, select the existing fill and replace the purple with R=198 G=144 B=0.

Add a second fill for these shapes, select it, set the color at R=155 G=83 B=0 and simply hit Shift-Control-E to add the same Transform effect used in the previous step.

Finally, return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "0.5px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 9

Select the remaining pink shape and focus on the Appearance panel . First, select the existing fill and replace the pink with R=211 G=161 B=0.

Add a second fill for this shape, select it, set the color at R=175 G=103 B=0 and hit Shift-Control-E.

Finally, return to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and simply add the "1px Brush" art brush from your Brushes panel. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 10

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 122 x 14px shape, set the fill color at R=39 G=169 B=224 and place it as shown in the first image.

Make sure that the Ellipse Tool remains active, create a 112 x 8px shape, set the fill color at R=102 G=45 B=144 and place it as shown in the second image. Create a 100 x 4px shape, set the fill color at R=102 G=45 B=144 and place it as shown in the third image. Finally, create an 80 x 2px shape, set the fill color at R=255 G=200 B=25 and place it as shown in the fourth image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 11

Keep focusing on the four colorful, concentric shapes. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the four anchor points highlighted in the first image and simply delete them.

Make sure that the remaining paths are selected, replace the existing colors with white, lower their Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 12

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 15 x 10px shape, set the fill color at R=135 G=63 B=0 and place it as shown in the first image.

Make sure that this brown circle is selected and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 15 degrees angle click OK. Select this rotated shape and place it roughly as shown in the third image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 13

Reselect that rotated circle and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical box and simply click the Copy button. Select this newly created shape, drag it up and place it as shown in the second image.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 14

Select both rotated circles and turn them into a simple Compound Path (Control-8). Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy along with the compound path made in the beginning of the step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected and turn it into a Compound Path (Control-8).

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 15

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down using the down arrow button from your keyboard.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 16

Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2px down.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 17

Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and make two copies in front
(Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3px down.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 18

Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 6px down.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 19

Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 20

Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2px up.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 21

Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3px up.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 22

Reselect your "snakeHead" shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 6px up.

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 23

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Focus on the right side of your "snakeHead" shape. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 1 x 3px shape, set the fill color at black, change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and place it as shown in the first image.

Make sure that your tiny, squeezed circle is selected, rotate it 45 degrees then duplicate (Control-C > Control-F). Select the copy, flip it vertically and place it as shown in the third image. Use the same squeezed circles to create the eyes of the snake as shown in the fourth image.

Snake Pattern Brush

10. Create the Tongue

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 30 x 6px shape, set the fill color at R=101 G=1 B=18 and place it as shown in the first image.

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the left side of this new rectangle. Select the top anchor point and drag it 1px down then select the bottom anchor point and drag it 1px up. Reselect this red shape and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points.

Make sure that the Direct Selection Tool (A) is still active, select the anchor point highlighted in the second image and simply drag it 10px to the left.

Finally, reselect your red shape, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill. Select this new fill, set the color at R=236 G=28 B=36 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Reselect the tongue shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 4 x 8px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the second image. Select this new rectangle along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, lower its Opacity to 75% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Reselect the tongue shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 3 x 8px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the second image. Select this new rectangle along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, lower its Opacity to 75% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

Reselect the tongue shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 2 x 8px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the second image. Select this new rectangle along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, lower its Opacity to 75% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 5

Reselect the four shapes that make up the tongue and Group them (Control-G). Make sure that this new group is selected and send it to back (Shift-Control- [ ).

Snake Pattern Brush

11. Create Your Snake Pattern Brush

Step 1

Focus on your artboard, select all the shapes highlighted in the second image and simply drag them inside the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) to save them as a pattern. Keep focusing on the Swatches panel, double-click on your new pattern and rename it "startTile".

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Select all the shapes highlighted in the following image and save them as a new pattern. Focus on the Swatches panel and rename this second pattern "endTile".

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Focus on the Layers panel and turn on the visibility for your "bodyMain" group. Select it, go to the Brushes panel and click the New Brush button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Check the Pattern Brush box then click OK to open the Pattern Brush Options window. Enter "snake" in the Name box, drag the Scale slider at 80% then move down to the Tile boxes. Open the Start Tile drop down window and add the "startTile" pattern from that list then open the End Tile drop down window and add the "endTile" pattern. Finally, click OK and you should find your new pattern brush inside the Brushes panel.

Snake Pattern Brush

12. Use Your Snake Pattern Brush and Easily Recolor It

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard and set the fill color at R=40 G=45 B=40.

Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 20%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Return to the Appearance panel and add a third fill for your rectangle. Select this new fill, open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient. Keep focusing on your Gradient panel, open the Type drop down menu and select Radial then move to the gradient colors. Select the right slider and set the color at R=20 G=25 B=20 then select the left slider, set the color at R=40 G=45 B=40 and lower its Opacity to 0%. Make sure that this third fill stays selected, grad the Gradient Tool (G), focus on your artboard and stretch that gradient as shown in the following image.

Move to the Layers panel and simply lock the shape made in this step to make sure that you won't accidentally select/move it.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Using the Pen Tool (P) or the Paintbrush Tool (B) (if you happen to own a tablet) draw a smooth path roughly as shown in the following image. For starters use a simple, white stroke for your path.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Once you feel that the path looks good enough, replace the white stroke with your "snake" pattern brush.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 4

Reselect your snake and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork (or click the Recolor Artwork button from the control panel). Go to the Edit section, make sure that the Recolor Artwork box and Link harmony colors buttons are checked, then drag the Brightness slider and the color handles roughly as shown in the following image. Once you're happy with the new colors click the OK button. Have a look at your Brushes and you should find the recolored version of your snake.

Snake Pattern Brush
Snake Pattern Brush

13. Add Shading, Highlights and Subtle Textures For Your Snake

Step 1

Reselect your snake and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Focus on the head of your snake and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Select the main head shape, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. You will need a built-in pattern for this new fill, so go to the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches), open the fly-out menu and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Nature > Nature_Animal Skins. A new window with a set of built-in patterns should open. Make sure that the fill added a few moments ago is still selected, use the "Cheetah" pattern, lower its opacity to 75% and change the blending mode to Soft Light.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 2

Reselect your snake group and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select only the group copy and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Reselect your black shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Focus on the Layers panel, select this fresh copy and simply drag it below the group of shapes that make up your snake.

Make sure that the copy made in this step stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the top, left window (in the following image), click OK then add the other four Drop Shadow effects shown below.

Snake Pattern Brush

Step 3

Finally, select the front, black shape and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Brush Strokes > Spatter. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel.

Add a second fill for your shape and select it. Make sure that the fill color is set at black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Snake Pattern Brush

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

Snake Pattern Brush
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