‘Path Decorator’ Creates Fancy Brush Styles

Use Artboard’s ‘Path Decorator’ style component to build custom brushes, like this double-helix.

Drawing Double-helix DNA Molecules

A customer recently sent this image asking how to reproduce the effect of a double-helix custom brush style in Artboard. Here’s how…

Draw the “Decorator” Graphic

This type of brush will use Artboard’s ‘Path Decorator’ – a style component in which your pasted a graphic is repeated along the length of the stroke. First draw that “s” shaped graphic. A tapered stroke with “bullet” style ends works well for this particular “S” shaped graphic. Start by tracing the image. Turning on graph paper will help you align the path points and curve handles symmetrically.

Create the Custom Brush Style with Path Decorator

Next, draw a path on the drawing canvas with a simple stroke style. With the path still selected, do the following:

  1. In the Style Tab, click the “+” button and choose ‘Path Decorator’.
  2. Use the Select tool to select, then command+C to copy the graphic.
  3. Reselect the path, and click the ‘Paste’ button under ‘Path Decorator’. The graphic will be applied to the Path Decorator style component.

Adjust the Path Decorator Settings

As desired, adjust the settings of the Path Decorator, such as spacing and scale, to achieve the desired effect. Click the “-” next to the plain stroke to remove it. Optionally, double-click the new style’s title to name it.


Optionally, Save As Library Style

If you want to save the style for future use, you can save it to your User Library. Click the Action Menu (looks like a gear) at the bottom of the Style Tab and choose ‘Save As Library Style…’.

Create Variations

Easily create other variations of your new brush style. Select the “S” shaped graphic and change its color. Select the path and copy/paste the updated graphic as a new path decorator.