Every time I switch from computer to work on illustrator I foud myself changing some settings. This post is like a checklist of things that you may like to adjust to improve your experence with the Brush and Live Paint tools in illustrator.

Brush tool

Problem: For some strange reason all the brushes will be done with the basic brush. This is annoying since we have to apply another brush every time to the strokes.

Solution: If you search the way to change this behavior you won’t find that in the brush palette but in the Appearance palette.


If you deselect the checkmark “New Art has Basic Appearance” in the appearance panel, every new stroke will use the current brush selected in the brush panel.

Add shortcuts to control the size of the brush
Since with some languages the symbols [ and ] won’t work. You can set new shortcuts for changing the size of the brush,

1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.
2. Search for Increase/Decrease Brush Size (in other languages has different names like in spanish “Aumentar /Disminuir diámetro”). You can use some free shortcuts like 2 and 3.


Blob brush tool

Problem: Usually you will like to add some parts to a current shape with the Blob brush tool. The defaults for this tool are creating separate shapes every time.

Solution: Double-click in the tool palette on the Blob brush tool and select the checkmark “Keep Selected”. That’s all. Keep in mind that you’ll have to start from the old Fill towards outside if you want to merge the shapes. Illustrator creates new shapes when the brush is applied outside the old shape.


Live Paint

Live Paint is used to fill areas between lines.

Problem: Usually your drawing will have some middle gaps in the lines. The default is set to small gaps.

Solution: Change the default to Middle or Big gaps in the “Gap Options” dialogue (Object >Live paint menu). This setting has to be confirmed before creating a new Live Paint object.


Problem: You may adjust the areas of the paint indepently of the Drawing lines.

Solution: Duplicate the lines in another Layer before creating the Live Paint object. This way you have the freedom to change the Fill areas independently of the Artwork.

Suggestion: Create a Frame around the picture to paint the background shapes.


Avoid Lines after releasing the Live Paint
Change the Stroke of the lines to “NONE” (no color) before creating the Live Paint object. This way after releasing the Live Paint object the Lines will be deleted.+


Adjust Lines to close areas in Live Paint
While painting with the shortcut K use the “hide selection” (Ctrl+H or Cmd+H in Mac). You can adjust the lines of the layer for Live Paint to close areas that were open. Then apply the Live Paint.

illustrator_livePaint03 illustrator_livePaint04



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