Howdy folks!

Normally when I contribute to the AG blog, I’m creating a brand new piece of artwork to highlight a plug-in. But this time, I just wanted to show you a few Stylism moves I use on a pretty regular basis. I’ve gotten so used to using Stylism that it’s become a part of daily workflow – from feathers to transforms to free distorts. So let’s take a look!

Example One: Transforming Key Elements!

Let’s face it … we all get a little lazy sometimes. But I prefer to think of this as optimizing my output. In this character design, my panda sumo is wearing a necklace of heavy beads. Enormous beads. Gigantical. I could use SubScribe and draw each circle as it wraps back around, but I’ve gotten pretty comfy with Transform thanks to Stylism.



I draw the first circle, then scale it down and create multiple copies. I rotate the drawn circle (seen in the red box) until the spheres wrap where I want them! Then I expand the object and begin trimming with Dynamic Sketch.



Once I’ve change the colors, I tweak the a few spots and move on. All in all? It took me longer to explain it than to do it.



Example Two: Distorting and Offsetting Shapes!

Here, I’ve drawn an Oni mask, but I want to place a decorative circle illustration on the top of its head.

Using the Free Transform tool (E), I roughly lay in the distortion. One It’s pretty close, I then place a Free Distort (seen in the red box) on the shape to nudge everything into a more pleasing position. Distort introduces some slight variations in the object that I like, so I use this a lot to “finish” a Free Transform.


Now it’s settled and I want to beef up the line work a bit. I could add a stroke, but honestly, the Stylism panel is right there and I’ve key-bound it to Shift+Z. I toss on an Offset Path filter instead and drag the indicator until I’m happy with my line width.


Voila! Expand and clean up, then I’m done.

Example Three: Return of the Transformation!

I’ve got a little illustration of a skull wearing a fancy fedora and smoking a pipe. I’ve textured the pipe already, but now I want a pattern to texture the hat with. Back to Stylism we go for another round of Transform. Before, I used it to create a integral part of the design. Now, I’m going to use Transform to quickly create a pattern to give my hat some life.



I create a line, then drag it down holding shift. When I’m happy with the distance, I shift+click more copies until I have A BUNCH. Hold shift while you click will create 10 copies at a time.


Satisfied with my initial pattern, I copy and mirror the pattern a couple times, then drag it to the swatches window …



… where it becomes a beautiful swatch I can apply to my hat. I scale it down to 75% and feel pretty good. Back in the dark ages, I would’ve Option+Dragged out a copy of the line segment, then hit Cmd+D about a billion times to create sequential copies. Ugh. Now I create Live Effect copies that work exactly the same. It’s not that Transform didn’t exist, because it totally exists … in a menu … really far away from my immediate view. Having Stylism allows me to work through a panel that I leave open all day. I think about these things now and as a result, I use more of the tools Illustrator has provided.

Example Four: Feathers Everywhere!

You may recognize my last example. It’s actually the example artwork I created for Stylism. It also contains the feathering effect I’ve come to enjoy placing in my illustrated work. It’s just a little something, but it adds a softness and indistinct texture to the pristine vector paths.


This is a really, really easy detail to pull off. Just draw your shape, set it to multiply and …



… feather it! Holding shift will constrain the values to increments (whatever you’re working in.) And it’s not just solid colors. You can feather gradients as well.


I generally build the shapes, place them in a clipping mask and feather them to my liking. I like to visually determine my feather instead of relying on set values and Stylism responds in real-time as I apply the effect. 

I leave the effect at 72dpi until I’m ready to output, then I grab em’ and click the 300dpi button.


Hopefully, you’ll give Stylism a chance and start applying some of these little things into your daily workflow. Maybe these will make you think of other things! Stylism handles Glows, Drop Shadows and Offset Paths like a boss as well, and comes equipped with a curve interface that lets you fine-tune your alpha info in conjunction with Phantasm. I’ve reached the point where I don’t have to think about it anymore … when I need a drop shadow, a feather, a blur, an offset path, etc. I reach for Stylism.

Give it a try and I think you may feel the same way. If you ever have any questions, hit me up on Twitter under @inkstatic and I’ll be happy to help!

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I didn't know Illustrator could do that!

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