wanted to create a brush, but never knew exactly how to do it?
Well, if you love unique creative brushes and you want to learn how to make a brush in Illustrator, then this tutorial is perfect for you. It will take you through the entire process of drawing, saving, and applying the brush.
You will learn how to create a pickle brush and how to save it correctly as a new pattern brush by following a few tips and tricks that you will be able to apply to other Adobe Illustrator brushes as well.
And if you are a fan of the Rick and Morty animated series, we will give this text effect a unique twist by creating a Pickle Rick Pattern Brush as well. Both brushes are easy to use, and this fun text effect will be ready in no time. If you are excited about this, then let's start!
Expand your brushes library by going to GraphicRiver, where you'll find a great selection of brushes in various styles, shapes, and themes. Also, check out the text effects section, where you'll find plenty of inspiration and resources for your projects.
And you can find loads of free Illustrator brushes to download here:
1. How to Open a New Document
Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set the dimensions, and then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode.
Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px and, while there, go to Units to make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.
2. How to Create the Basic Pickle Shape
Grab the Rectangle Tool (M), click on your artboard, and enter 44 x 132 px as the dimensions of the rectangle. Color it with green.
Keep this shape selected and go to the Transform panel. Enter 20 px in all four Corner Radius fields in order to create the rounded corners.
Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the rounded rectangle to get a copy of it (the gray shape), and then move it 7 px to the right by pressing the Right Arrow key on your keyboard seven times.
Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the green rounded rectangle again to make another copy. Keep this copy selected along with the gray copy and press Minus Front on the Pathfinder panel. Color the shape obtained with a darker shade of green, and this will be the shadow on the left side of the pickle.
Now, we will add a few bumps to create that recognizable pickle look. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a few semicircle shapes on the edges of the pickle. Make them of different sizes to ensure a more realistic result for the final Illustrator brush (1).
Now, select only the pink shapes on the upper right side along with the green rounded rectangle and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel. I will name the resulting shape “pickle body” (2).
After that, select the blue shapes on the left side along with the shadow, and press Unite on the Pathfinder panel again. I will name the newly obtained shape “pickle shadow” (3).
Select the two shapes obtained in the previous step and then Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) to make copies of them. Press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge them, and you will get a new pickle shape. Give it a 1 pt Stroke using black and select the Round Join option in the Stroke panel. I will name this shape “pickle outline”.
Next, take the Pen Tool (P) and draw two curved paths at the top of the pickle as creases. Give them a 1 pt Stroke using black and Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel.
Do the same thing at the bottom of the pickle and apply the same settings.
Now, focus on one of the bumps and use the Pen Tool (P) to draw two short paths as shown in the close-up. Give them a 1 pt Stroke using black and Width Profile 4 in the Stroke panel.
Do the same thing for the other bumps in order to add details, but not necessarily for all of them.
3. How to Define the Sections of the Pattern Illustrator Brush
Creating a brush in Illustrator, especially pattern brushes, can be easy if you take into consideration the three sections that define a pattern brush: the start, the side, and the end. If we do this ahead of time and not just at the end, we make the process of saving the brush pain-free once we get to that stage, and we're less likely to make mistakes.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw an 80 x 136 px rectangle which will cover the pickle entirely. Leave a little more space on the left side of the pickle for the shadow. With the rectangle still selected, go to Object > Path > Split Into Grid and choose 3 Rows. Hit OK and the rectangle will be divided into three equal parts.
Notice how the separation between the start and the side of the pattern brush goes through one of the bumps. We don't want this. It is better to cut the brush sections between the bumps where the pickle is straight.
Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only the points indicated and move them upwards, right above the bump (2).
Select the other points indicated and move them a little downwards in order to make the start and end sections of the brush of about the same size (3). The side of the brush (the middle part) will be longer.
4. How to Add Details to the Pickle Pattern Brush
Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a path on the right side of the pickle, as shown in the image below. Give it a 3 pt Stroke using a lighter shade of green and Width Profile 6 in the Stroke panel. This will create a main highlight on the pickle.
Let's add more details. Use the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) to draw four random ellipses on the pickle. It's better to not place them on the blue lines but only inside the start, side, and end sections of the brush. Fill them with a slightly darker shade of green and apply a 1 pt black Stroke using Width Profile 6 in the Stroke panel. Two of the ellipses have no fill color, just the black stroke applied.
Still using the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N), draw a bunch of random curved paths on the pickle. Give them a 0.5 pt and 0.75 pt Stroke using black and Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel.
Zoom in on one of the paths that you drew in the previous step and draw a shorter path inside it. Give it a 0.5 pt Stroke using a lighter shade of green and Width Profile 1 in the Stroke panel.
Repeat the same thing for two or three more paths in order to add little highlights on the pickle.
Next, take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a few small ellipses of different sizes in the middle of the pickle. Color them with a darker green (1).
Draw more ellipses on the right side of the pickle and color them with a lighter green (2). You can see the result in the image below (3).
5. How to Create the Shadow of the Pickle Pattern Brush
Select the “pickle outline” shape and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it. Select a black fill and reduce the Opacity to 40%; then move it 1 px downward and 2 px to the left using the Arrow Keys on your keyboard. Send this copy behind everything by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[) (1).
Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) the first shadow shape to make another copy. Move it 1 px downward and 2 px to the left using the Arrow keys on the keyboard again. Keep the black fill color but reduce the Opacity to 25% (2).
Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) the second shadow shape to make a third copy. Move it 1 px downwards and 2 px to the left; then change the fill color to dark gray and reduce the Opacity to 15% (3).
Let's do this one more time. Make a fourth copy of the shadow shape, and this time move it 1 px to the left. Keep the gray fill color but reduce the Opacity to 5% (4).
If the shadow shapes go over the blue rectangle, use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select only the corner points at the bottom and move them downwards a little. The entire pickle must be inside the blue sections.
6. How to Finalize the Pickle Pattern Brush
We are getting closer to saving the new Illustrator Pattern Brush, but we need to prepare it first by expanding it and making some final adjustments.
Select all the stroked paths next to the outline of the pickle and go to Object > Expand Appearance in order to turn the strokes into fills (1). Now, select the “pickle outline” and go to Object > Expand to turn it into a black filled shape (2).
Keep these resulting shapes selected and press Unite in the Pathfinder panel, followed by Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8). This will merge all the shapes into one (3).
Now, select the main highlight path and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Do the same thing for all the detail paths on the pickle in order to expand them, and we are ready to save this brush in Illustrator.
7. How to Save the Pickle Pattern Brush
Before you continue, make a copy of the entire pickle and keep it for later use.
Illustrator brushes can be tricky to save and may require a few tries until you are happy with the result, but let me show you how easy it is to save this brush.
Select everything on your artboard and Rotate 90 degrees in the Transform panel. Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up the pickle, and then make two copies behind. You should have three pickles on top of each other and three blue rectangles.
Select one of the pickles along with the first rectangle and press Crop in the Pathfinder panel. This will cut the pickle, and you will obtain the start section of the pattern brush. Drag it into the Swatches panel to save it (1).
Next, select a copy of the pickle along with the middle rectangle and press Crop again. This will cut the side section of the pattern brush for us (2). You don't need to save this one in the Swatches panel.
Select the second copy of the pickle along with the last rectangle and press Crop again. You will obtain the end section of the pattern brush. Drag it into the Swatches panel to save it (3).
Select the middle section of the pickle and drag it into the Brushes panel to save it as a New Pattern Brush. In the Pattern Brush Options window, this section will automatically appear under the Side Tile (1). Type a name for the brush, and let's change some settings.
As the Start Tile (2), select New Pattern Swatch 1 from the drop-down options, which is the first section saved in the Swatches panel.
As the End Tile (3), select New Pattern Swatch 2 from the drop-down options, which is the last section of the pickle saved in the Swatches panel.
Finally, under Inner Corner Tile (4), select Auto-Centered. Hit OK and your new Illustrator brush is now saved and ready to use.
Let's test the newly saved brush. Use the Pen Tool (P) or the Paintbrush Tool (B) to draw any path on your artboard and give it a 1 pt Stroke using the Pickle Pattern Brush from the Brushes panel. Fun, right?
8. How to Create the Face of Pickle Rick
Pickle Rick is the eccentric scientist Rick Sanchez from the famous animated series Rick and Morty, who turns himself into a pickle just as he and his family are about to attend a therapy session.
Let's start his face with the eyes. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw two circles of about 40 x 40 px and arrange them next to each other. Fill them with the color indicated and also apply a 1 pt black Stroke. While both circles stay selected, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen and apply the settings shown in order to distort the shapes slightly.
Still using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw a tiny black circle in the center of each eye as the pupils. Now, take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a curved path under each eye followed by the nose path. Give them a 1 pt black Stroke and select the Round Cap option in the Stroke panel.
Continue to draw the shape of the mouth filled with dark green. Also apply a 1 pt black Stroke and select the Align Stroke to Outside option in the Stroke panel.
For the tooth, draw a V-like path but rounded at the tip. Give it a pale green fill color and a 1 pt black Stroke. Follow the shape of the mouth and draw similar paths next to each other to obtain the top teeth. Draw and apply the same appearances for the bottom teeth as well.
Next, draw the shape of the tongue on the right side of the mouth. Fill it with the color indicated and apply a 1 pt black Stroke.
Select the shape of the mouth and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Set this copy to stroke-none and fill-none. Keep this copy selected along with the teeth and the tongue, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).
Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a curved path on each side of the mouth. Give them a 1 pt black Stroke with the Round Cap option selected in the Stroke panel (1).
Continue to draw a C-like shape above the eyes. Give it a blue fill color and a 1 pt black Stroke (2). The final thing to add is a random shape on the upper left side filled with bright green (3).
9. How to Create the Pickle Rick Pattern Brush
First, grab the copy of the pickle that I said to make earlier in the tutorial (1) and start to remove some of the details on the top half in order to create an empty area (2).
Now, grab Rick's face and go to Object > Expand Appearance followed by Object > Expand to turn all strokes into fills. Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up the face and scale it down until it fits inside the empty area you just created (3).
When you are happy with the placement of the face, select only the indicated points of the blue rectangles with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move them downwards, until they're under the mouth. The entire face must be inside the start section of the brush (4).
Let's make a few adjustments, and then we are ready to save this pattern brush next to the other Illustrator brushes.
Focus on the shadow shape and use the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) to add three extra points next to the mouth. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and modify the shadow a little by moving these points, following the left side of the mouth (1).
Next, select the main highlight shape and change the fill color to a darker shade of green; then make it a little thinner by dragging the bounding box with the Selection Tool (V).
While this shape stays selected, grab the Knife and cut the shape following the right side of the mouth; then move the end points up to the black outline of the mouth as shown in the close-up (2).
10. How to Save the Pickle Rick Pattern Brush
The process of saving this brush is the same as before. Select the new pickle along with the blue rectangles and Rotate them 90 degrees in the Transform panel. Make two copies of the pickle behind so that we have a pickle for each rectangle (1).
Now, select the pickle along with the first rectangle and press Crop in the Pathfinder panel. You will obtain the start section of the pattern brush, which is the head of Pickle Rick. Drag it into the Swatches panel to save it (2).
Follow the same technique and cut the side section (3) and the end section of the brush as you did for the first pattern brush earlier in the tutorial (4).
Select and drag the middle section of the pickle into the Brushes panel to save it as a New Pattern Brush. Type a name for the brush and notice that the middle section already appears under the Side Tile (1).
As the Start Tile (2), select New Pattern Swatch 3 from the drop-down options, which is the head of Pickle Rick saved earlier.
As the End Tile (3) select New Pattern Swatch 4, and as the Inner Corner Tile (4) select Auto-Centered from the options available. Hit OK to save the Pickle Rick Pattern Brush in the Brushes panel.
Let's test it by applying it to a random path drawn with the Pen Tool (P) or the Paintbrush Tool (B). Looks great!
11. How to Create the Pickle Text Effect
Now that we have the two Illustrator brushes already saved, here is how to make the text effect quickly and easily.
Use the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) to draw paths as letters and compose the word “PICKLE”. Stroke all of them with the Pickle Pattern Brush and keep the Stroke Weight at 1 pt. Drag two guide lines above and under the text effect to make sure the letters are about the same height, making small adjustments if needed.
Replace one (or more) of the strokes with the Pickle Rick Pattern Brush to make this text effect more fun.
As an extra touch, you can add a small stem to the pickle letters. Draw the shape of the stem and color it with the same green as the pickle's body. Also apply a 2 pt black Stroke using Width Profile 6 in order to maintain the same outlined style.
The stem could be a part of the pattern brush if you include it in the Start Tile before saving it, but then all the stroked paths will have the same stem, and this is not the look we want for the text effect. In this case, the two stems are just extra additions.
Congratulations! You're Done
Here is the final image of the pickle text effect with the face of Pickle Rick as a creative addition. I hope this tutorial was fun for you and that you learned some new things today. Now you have the knowledge to make other creative Adobe Illustrator brushes and use them in your projects.
Don't forget to share your recreation of this pickle text effect with us. We would love to see it.
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