Would Like the Best Possible Way to "Paint" My Designs in Illustrator for My Merchandise

Participant ,
Dec 26, 2020 Dec 26, 2020

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Hi there!

 

So, I am a newbie here with Illustrator and I need a few tips and info for creating my artwork for use on printing on products like clothing, mugs, cell phones, etc. (merchandise), particularly when it concerns using brush strokes to color my artwork.

 

What I want to do is create flowers, leaves and other elements and I will be using different artistic media and styles for each design. Some of my items will be printed via Direct to Garment printing and others will be printed via Sublimation printing (on the clothing).

 

Since the brushes are all using strokes instead of fills, I want to know how best to use them to “paint” my artwork (the closed shapes that I create for the floral elements) while still being able to keep the original strokes that I used to create the original shapes and while also being able to eliminate whatever brush strokes lie outside the shapes after painting. I used the clipping mask but this gets rid of the original stroke that I used to create the original shapes and I get a few issues after I use it when I create my pattern swatches with them later on (there is a message that says that I should expand them and sometimes it takes a while to save or use these swatches that I made with the designs after making the clipping mask).

 

So how do I best paint my elements in general if I use art brushes instead of gradients and bucket fills while maintaining the strokes that I used to create the original artwork? And should I “rasterize” everything afterwards or do something else to the artwork to prevent issues when creating pattern swatches? Do you recommend that I use Photoshop instead of Illustrator for coloring my artwork that I design in Illustrator and then re-upload to Illustrator to make my pattern swatches? I have heard of people doing this, since it seems to be easier to recolor with paint in Photoshop than it is in Illustrator. I just want to make the best possible designs for my print on demand store 🙂

 

Also, what brushes should I avoid if any that may have "sub-par" results for DTG or sublimation printing on clothing (for example, they would show up a bit blurry, not sharp enough, etc.) for all the media available (watercolor brushes, gouache brushes, pastels, oils, acrylic, and so on)?

 

Please let me know.

Thanks so much!

TOPICS
Draw and design, How to, Print and publish, Tools

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correct answers 3 Correct Answers

Adobe Community Professional , Dec 27, 2020 Dec 27, 2020
Draw Inside? Select the leaf an click the 3rd option at the bottom of your Tools panel.

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Adobe Community Professional , Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020
Watercolor or Bristle Brushes in Illustrator can create really complex artwork, which becomes visible when the brushes get expanded or transparency gets flattened. What may look like a simple leaf will become complex when used as a pattern, because the brush gets expanded when making the pattern. Here is an example. At the bottom right you see a single pattern tile in outline mode. Sometimes it may be useful to rasterize the content of the leaf and use a clipping mask before creating the pattern...

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Adobe Community Professional , Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020
Generally it is preferrable to keep everything "Live" and editable as long as possible. Rasterizing content freezes it and makes it hard to change. Only when your file becomes unworkable, I would  rasterize content as a workaround.

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Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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I just didn't realize that I needed to provide examples as I only wanted a general tip on how to optimize a design element after using a clipping mask. But if you want to have an example, I have created a couple of  leaves with a watercolor stroke similar to what I had used before. Of course, it is not what I included in my original illustration, but at least you will see the approximaion of what was done before ... the first image is the one with the clipping mask (without the original stroke of the leaf itself), and the second one had been created by using the "design inside" approach.Screenshot (2826).png 

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Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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* pardon: the "draw inside" approach.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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And now you want to make a pattern?

Try out the pattern editing mode.The clipping mask shouldn't be an issue.

 

There are tutorials on the web that teach you an ancient method of how to create patterns, but in most cases the pattern editing mode should get you what you want. Unless of course by "pattern" you mean something else than a repeating pattern.

 

And then depending on what you want to use it for exactly there might be additional precautions to take. But it would be like writing a book on that subject telling you all the general tipps and tricks of the trade (and I have actually written books). So a broad, unspecific question like yours without an exact example is not the kind of question that is suitable for a forum post.

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Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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Yes, it was for a seamless pattern and I used the old approach because I had a lot of elements to use and initially thought that it was the better option for that design. I have used the new method before for other seamless pattern swatches that I created (I had not, however, used clipping masks for those), so I shall look into using the new method for all my patterns that require clipping masks. Hopefully I will no longer get the popup.

I thought I had been specific, though, with my questions. I asked how to best color an object with the paint brush tool (which was answered) and whether or not I need to perform any additional step with my seamless pattern design elements that I used a clipping mask for in order to avoid the popup in the future.

But thank you for your involvement in this and the final recommendation as to what to do. I will be able to carry on with all my future designs from hereon in!

Have a wonderful day!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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Watercolor or Bristle Brushes in Illustrator can create really complex artwork, which becomes visible when the brushes get expanded or transparency gets flattened.

What may look like a simple leaf will become complex when used as a pattern, because the brush gets expanded when making the pattern.

Here is an example. At the bottom right you see a single pattern tile in outline mode.

Sometimes it may be useful to rasterize the content of the leaf and use a clipping mask before creating the pattern or create the pattern in Photoshop.

Screenshot 2020-12-29 at 23.37.56.png

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Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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Thank you! That is what I needed to know. So should I rasterize before or after I create the clipping mask?

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Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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Thank you! That is what I needed to know. So do I rasterize before or after I create the clipping mask?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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Generally it is preferrable to keep everything "Live" and editable as long as possible.

Rasterizing content freezes it and makes it hard to change. Only when your file becomes unworkable, I would  rasterize content as a workaround.

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Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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Thank you so much for this information. I feel confident now with what I am doing and what I will be doing with my future designs due to your answers. They are greatly appreciated! 🙂

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2020 Dec 29, 2020

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Good to hear that helped.

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