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

Participant ,
Dec 26, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

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!

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Ton Frederiks | Adobe Community Professional

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.

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

Views

98

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more

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

Participant ,
Dec 26, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

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!

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Ton Frederiks | Adobe Community Professional

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.

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

Views

99

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Dec 26, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The actual print process doesn't care for how you created the artwork. Blurriness or other artifacts come from insufficient resolution or gamut issues - that old RGB vs. CMYK thing, basically, further limited by how inks on cloth behave and possibly also a more restricted color selection to begin with. You typically fix these issues in the pre-press process when actually prepping the artwork and don't concern yourself with this during the initial creation. The rest I can't tell you much about. I use AI more for technically-oriented stuff, not "painting".

 

Mylenium

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 2
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Please show something.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Screenshot (2813).png

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Basically I want the paint to be inside the shape and maintain the stroke of the shape. I would probably add to the painting of it as well. Obviously this is doable, I just don't know how to do it myself. Thanks 🙂

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Is there another way other than a clipping mask? In my post, I mentioned that this would get rid of the original outline of the shape that I made, and I want to preserve that.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Draw Inside? Select the leaf an click the 3rd option at the bottom of your Tools panel.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thank you, that worked! I was not aware of that tool ... much appreciated 🙂

Just wondering, do I need to do anything else to that object before I make a seamless pattern swatch with it? I had go a few pop up notifications in Illustrator when I was using objects with clipping masks for the pattern swatches that I was making from them. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

It is probably not the Clipping Mask that triggers the warning, but the Brush that gets expanded.

Just as long as you have a copy of the artwork before you make it into a pattern, you will be able to modify it and create new patterns from it.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 1
Participant ,
Dec 27, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thank you!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 27, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

"Thank you, that worked! I was not aware of that tool ..."

 

Draw inside is not a tool. It just creates a plain and simple clipping mask ...

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

It creates a clipping mask, and keeps the stroke color of the mask object.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Is there then another step that I should do to my artwork in order to not get the notification messages that I got before when I used a clipping mask? Please see my post. When I created my pattern swatch, it was a bit difficult using the elements that I used the clipping mask for and Illustrator wanted me to "expand" them. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Please quote the exact wording of the message.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Sorry, I can't ... I did not screenshot it and it happened a while ago when I created flowers and leaves that had watercolor elements and where I used the clipping mask. It basically mentioned that some of the elements that lied outside the box that I used to make the seamless pattern swatch had used a clipping mask and needed to be expanded. But if I expanded, then all the paint that I used popped out. 

I was eventually able to use the pattern swatch, but when I created a relatively large file with it (a large rectangle using the pattern swatch), it was a bit slow and that was where I got the message, too. Maybe because most of the elements that I used had been created that way? It seemed to be that it did not like the hidden parts of the paint to be lying outside of the box that I used to create the seamless pattern swatch. The dimensions that I used for it were 2000 x 2000 pixels.

So then is it recommended that I perform a final step to the artwork, like "rasterize" or anything else that won't disturb the design at all after I use it? What do other people do?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I did a Google search about it just now and I found the same exact message. It was derived from another website where someone else had complained that this had happened to them and that they wanted to know what to do about it. So here it is ...Screenshot (2817).png

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

So it actually asked me to "release the clipping mask", and after doing so, the brush strokes just popped out of the shapes of my design.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Can you please show the artwork you want in your pattern?

 

Without exact steps and the exact artwork you are working with it's impossible to give advice.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Sorry, but the art in question is my original artwork and I use it for my merchandise that I am selling, so I do not want to share it on a public forum. It is basically comprised of leaves and intricate floral elements, all colored with watercolor and all having had the clipping mask made for them. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Basically, I just want general info on the best practices for creating and "painting" elements to best use them for pattern swatches.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I would recommend that you dive a little deeper into the documentation to learn about the options and then maybe you can find out what works for you and what doesn't. There are so many options. I love to exchange best practices and discuss them, but doing so out of thin air just isn't a lot of fun.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 28, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

No problem. I hope then that I get the right answer as to what to do in general ... I am sure that others had the same question and I am also sure that this is all doable, since many designers use different art media and use those elements that they created from them in their pattern swatches. Thanks anyways.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 28, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Basically you want everyone to show their designs and their process while not showing yours. And this is what possibly won't work.

 

You could just draw something that looks similar and above all is made in the exact same way as your original design.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 29, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

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 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 29, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

* pardon: the "draw inside" approach.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 29, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

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.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 29, 2020 0
Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

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!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 29, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

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

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 29, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

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.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 29, 2020 1
Participant ,
Dec 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

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! 🙂

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 29, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Good to hear that helped.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Dec 29, 2020 1
Resources