Calligraphic strokes

Dave Curd reveals how to create custom brushes and use them to emulate calligraphic strokes and create quick flourishes, before demonstrating how to use these skills to create an image in the vein of classic Greek pottery.

Yeah, yeah, we get it already: less is more. The Spartan, minimal design shows elegance and restraint. It's modern, cool and clean. However, not every project is best solved with a light sans serif and a black turtleneck - there are the jobs that require a little flourish, a bit of pizzazz! Perhaps the addition of some floral accents to boost the logo, or some calligraphic strokes to enhance the type?

The truth is, sometimes more is more, and it's okay to gild the lily. As designers, it's okay to break the rules once you understand them. But with deadlines looming, it's impractical to break out the calligraphy pen every time you want to spruce up your design. So it's up to Illustrator CS2 to bridge the gap between deadline and detail.

In this tutorial you'll be creating two sets of brushes. The first set will be art brushes that emulate the charm and elegance of calligraphic strokes. The second set will comprise brushes that replicate the elements of floral and decorative accents. These brushes can then be combined to do any number of things, but in this tutorial you'll use them to make a Greek pottery-inspired illustration of Hercules. Finally, you'll use Photoshop to apply the texture and colour to really sell the intended look and feel.

Once complete, you'll have gained new insights into creating vector work. First, you'll have a better understanding of what goes into brush creation, and the best ways to build them. Second, you'll see the limitless possibilities afforded by making combinable assets. Finally, you'll understand that while sometimes more is more, it need not be more work.

Click here to download the support files ( 6MB)

Click here to download the tutorial for free