I am following this tutorial on Custom Lettering

In one of the steps, it says " Using the Brush Tool (B), with the “Basic” brush; use the Width Tool (Shift+W) to adjust the width of our new path"

I tried doing this in Illustrator CS5 but it seems that the width tool is not able to expand my newly created path.

Based on googling, I found this site its say's width tools works only on Art Brush and pattern brushes.

I tried using an Art Brush and Pattern brush and I was able to use the Width Tool on them.

I am just confused, how do I make it work on a brush with a basic settings that is based on the tutorial that I am following.

Any hints?

1 Answer 1


The second link is correct. The first link is just a poorly worded or thought out tutorial.

The "Basic" option in the Brush Panel is not really a brush at all. In fact, it means...

Remove brush strokes from selected paths and reduce to a basic stroke".

(Horrible naming or at least placement of the "Basic" option by Adobe.)

To use it, you must first draw the path, and THEN select it, THEN click the "basic" option in the Brush Panel. (thus removing the default calligraphy brush which will be applied to the path you just drew. Making the path a standard path, and the Width Tool will then work.)

If you just grab the brush tool, click "basic" then draw -- what actually happens is the default calligraphy brush gets applied to the path. Since you are using the Brush Tool, it's assumes you want some sort of brush stroke. Again "Basic" is not a brush. It is equivalent to the "remove brush stroke" command.

You don't need a brush if you have the Width Tool. Just draw a path using the Pen or Pencil tools... then use the Width Tool.

  • Thanks Scott! I was just following the tutorials so as to learn some techniques. Anyhow, you are right and learned something new today. Many thanks from a newbie like me. Commented May 23, 2014 at 10:33

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