I'm wanting to add a selection of objects to create a pattern brush.

I can create the pattern brush fine but one or more of my objects get an unwanted square bounding box when I apply the pattern brush to my path (in this case, a rounded square).

I've checked 'add spacing' as opposed to stretching to fit.

Objects added to pattern brush:

Objects pre-pattern brush

Objects after pattern brush applied to rounded square path:

Objects after pattern brush applied

I'm guessing this has something to do with the spacing/different sizes/shapes being applied to the path.

Is there a way to prevent this from happening?

  • 1
    I can't reproduce your issue, everything works fine for me, maybe is something with your Illustrator. I wonder how the red circle + star is made: it's just a flat circle shape and a flat star?
    – user120647
    Mar 25, 2019 at 11:37
  • I think you need to tell us exactly how the circle was constructed, or share the AI file.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 25, 2019 at 12:41
  • The circle/star were both created using the shape tool. I was having some problems dropping the shape into the pattern brush, though - I was getting an error message about being unable to create the pattern brush. I had to expand the object before it would work...
    – mindshaft
    Mar 25, 2019 at 13:44
  • Definitely the problem is the way in which the shapes have been created. If the shapes are correctly made, when making a pattern brush it's not necessary to expand anything. Check all the drawings are just shapes with regular fills and strokes (no images, no effects, etc)
    – user120647
    Mar 25, 2019 at 16:50

1 Answer 1



The star has a clipping mask forming the circle. Even if you did not directly create a clipping mask, the use of some of the shape tools may generate clipping masks "under the hood". Since a brush actually uses a clipping mask to define its' art, the dual clipping masks fail - the brush takes priority.

Simply create the circle star without a clipping mask. Draw a standard ellipse with the Ellipse Tool - don't use any shape tools.

Adobe has made this rather convoluted in the last several versions.

  • CS6 will refuse to use a clipping mask for brush artwork
  • CC2017 will use a clipping mask in brush artwork correctly
  • CC2018, I can't launch this version at the moment, but my guess is that the clipping mask can be used, but then doesn't display correctly. As in your example.
  • I'll give this a shot. I did try recreating the circle with the ellipse tool and star but was blocked from adding the object to the pattern brush. Could color space also be an issue? I've noticed the pattern brush rejects some objects but will accept them if I swap out a color. Will upload a version of the file
    – mindshaft
    Mar 26, 2019 at 7:32

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