I want a scribble effect (as if someone had taken a pencil and scribbled out this headline), and I can get the desired brush style (pictured here as the circle) when I draw, but not when I use the scribble tool to fill the rectangle.

enter image description here When I change the brush to the desired style, it automatically applies it to the outer stroke of the shape, (so I know it is possible), but it won't allow me to change the style of the scribble that fills the box. Is there a workaround? Previously I had drawn a path and applied the brush, but it looked very unnatural.

1 Answer 1


I can't boot CC 2020 at the moment. It's not impossible that Adobe changed things in "bleeding edge" versions...but..

... in CC2017 (or earlier)

To apply the Scribble Effect

  • Target the *fill if you wish the Scribble to be applied the fill.
  • Choose Effect > Stylize > Scribble from the menu and the Scribble Options dialog will pop up, and apply the effect the to selected object.
  • Within the dialog window you can make any adjustments you want to the scribble itself.
  • Click the OK button when you are happy.

To alter the Scribble effect after it's applied...

  • Look at the Appearance Panel (Window > Appearance)
  • Expand the fill (or stroke) and click the Scribble item seen in the panel.
  • This will open the Scribble Options Dialog window again where you can make further changes.

enter image description here

To alter the style of the strokes
within the Scribble Effect

There's no direct way, in CC2017 at least, to directly alter the stroke appearance within the effect itself. The Scribble effect will only create simple, basic, strokes. There's no ability or method to apply something such as a brush stroke to the paths created by the effect while at the same time, keeping the effect "live" and editable.

However, you can expand the appearance to apply a brush stroke...

  • Set the effect
  • Choose Object > Expand Appearance from the menu. This will "bake in" the scribble and it'll no longer be adjustable.
  • Now you can click a brush and it will be applied to the scribble paths...

enter image description here

If the effect has been expanded...

Lastly, if the effect appearance has been expanded via the menu command Object > Expand Appearance, and all the lines are highlighted when you select the object... a la...

enter image description here

... Then there is no way to easily alter the effect any further. It is no longer a "live" effect in that case. The easiest solution for this is to recreate the original object/shape and then reapply the effect to the new object, deleting the expanded artwork.

These animations are using CC2017. There may be some visual differences in more recent versions of Illustrator. However, all the functionality should still be present in the options dialog window.

  • You can group the object and apply the stroke you wish on the group.
    – joojaa
    Mar 29, 2021 at 7:36
  • True @joojaa but that may come with other issues. For example, the subsequent stroke will also include the object's outer path, not merely the inner scribble paths.
    – Scott
    Mar 29, 2021 at 7:42
  • yes but you can eliminta ethat with the scribble effect itself, but yes not entrely ideal. Again a reason for the delete/filter effect
    – joojaa
    Mar 29, 2021 at 7:50
  • @joojaa I don't know how a user removes that boundary stroke via the effect itself. Perhaps that's something CC2019+ does? It doesn't appear possible in CC2017 or CS6.
    – Scott
    Mar 29, 2021 at 7:53
  • 1
    It must begin with a stroke thats visible. Yeah i know counter intuitive
    – joojaa
    Mar 29, 2021 at 11:25

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