With the Brush Tool, you can draw freeform vector paths with variable width settings.
To activate the Brush Tool, press the ~ic-brush~~ic-brush~ button in the Toolbar or press ~key~B~key~ on the keyboard. Once you’ve activated the Brush Tool, a slider labeled Brush Size (1) pops up. This slider controls the size of your brush: the lower the numeric value, the smaller your brush-width, and vice versa.
Once you activate the Brush Tool, the Stroke section in the Inspector will switch to Brush Mode, where you can create new brush presets or use existing brush presets. You can find the Brush Editor and the Brush Selection Pane in these content-aware options.
How to Customize Brush Settings
The Brush Editor is the panel, where you can customize the Shape (1) and Contour (2) properties of your Brush. Additionally, you can Preview, Save or Reset your Brush Settings in this panel. To open the Brush Editor, click on the Brush Editor button in the Stroke Tab.
At the top of this panel, you can see a preview of the Shape of your brush (viewed along the Z-axis).
At the bottom of this section, you'll find three brush settings sliders, which allow you to:
- Change the Roundness of your brush by either dragging the handles in the Preview Window towards the center of the circle or by using the Brush Shape Setting Sliders. Another option to change the roundness attribute of your brush is to click on the numeric field above your slider and then enter a value with your keyboard.
- Change the Angle of the brushstroke, which defines the rotation of the brush. You can define any value within 360˚. A rotation of 0˚ will create a horizontal brush, and a 90° rotation will result in a vertical brush.
- Set the Minimum Width of the brush according to the defined contour profile. Any changes to this value will be displayed in real-time in the Preview Window (3) below.
- In this section, you'll find the Contour graph that visualizes the brush profile.
- You can reshape the contour of your brush by moving the draggable handles that form the contour of the brush along the X and Y-axis.
- You can:
- Add new handles by clicking on the graph.
- Double-click on a handle to delete it
As soon as you move the handles within the graph, you’ll see the changes immediately in the preview below.
In this section, you'll find a Live Preview Window that visualizes the current Brush profile and displays your currently set Shape and Contour options.
The Contour Graph shows a view of the brush from the frontal view, the Preview shows the view of the brush from the top view.
How to Save Your Custom Brushes
To save your custom brush, click the Save button. You can find your saved brushes in the Brush Selection Pane under the Your Brushes section. If you are not satisfied with the current brush, press the Reset button. This will reset your brush settings back to the default settings, including the shape and contour parameters.
Here is an example of three Brushes with different settings:
Note: The default Contour Profile has all initial handles set at the same height; resulting in a flat profile.
The Brush Selection Pane
By clicking on this pane, it displays a list of the Preset Brushes (B), which are built into the Brush Settings panel. These preset brushes can be used as they are or used as the starting point for your custom brushes.
Note: Preset Brushes cannot be deleted.
After you have saved your first brush in the Brush Editor, the Your Brushes (A) section will appear at the top of this panel. You can save as many brushes as you want, and they will be shared across all your documents in Vectornator. Your brushes are saved locally to the device on which you created them.
Your brushes are always saved to your local hard drive.
Pro Tip – A Quick & Easy Brush Setting Creation
You can use the saved preset brushes as a base for new brush shapes. To do that, choose a brush in the selection pane and open the editor. In the editor, you will find the settings for the selected brush, which you can then further customize. To save your changes, press save, and your settings will be saved as a new brush set.
Changing the Path Smoothness
The Brush Tool works like a freehand tool, so you can start drawing a new path just as you would on paper. The vector path will follow more or less precisely the path of your cursor, depending on the smoothness value you've set.
If you want your brush path to follow exactly what you draw, you can set the smoothness to 0%. The higher this value, the more Vectornator will smooth your brush curves and simplify the pathyou have created. To change the Smoothness, open the Appearance section in the Style Inspector and adjust the Smoothing slider (1).
If you enjoy creating beautiful typography and lettering brushes are the perfect tool to create it,
Check out the Beginner’s Guide to Brush Lettering and try it out yourself.
Video Recap | How to use the Brush Tool on Mac
Our brushes got a complete makeover and are now are easily and fully editable as any other path inside the app. Add, edit, delete, and move around nodes or change their type. And change your brush profile with just two taps to any of our dozens of presets. But have fun with it and create your own!
Plus, any path in our app can take on a unique profile defined by your brush parameters - which means that the Pen, Pencil, and Shape Tool have now expanded their capabilities infinitely. And we mean it! We're super excited to see what you guys create.
Learn how to master Vectornator like a Pro, and join the full Mac Vectornator 101: crash course on our new academy!