Create Smoke in Illustrator

    ●  Use the Pencil Tool to make a Smoky Brush in Illustrator.

Learn About:

FeatheringBrush OptionsGaussian Blur Blending

  •   This tutorial is used with the Monster Mesh and Don't Buy The Lie Projects.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.


Step #1: Open Your Project in Illustrator ~

Open YOUR CURRENT PROJECT in Illustrator



… (Remember: all these tutorials are intended to be
applied to YOUR PROJECT) …

… make a New Layer, and lock lock your other layers.

Step #2: Pencil Tool ~

Get the Pencil Tool, or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (n) …

… and draw 2 or 3 vertical black lines.

Step #3: Line Weight ~

Select all the lines with the Selection Tool (v) …

… and lower the weight in the menu bar.

Step #4: Blend Options ~

Go to: Object > Blend > Blend Options

blend options

… select Specified Steps and set the number of specified steps to approximately 25 or whatever you want …

Step #5: Blend ~

Then go to: Object > Blend > Make or hit the keyboard shortcut:

Alt (⌥)/Option alt option + Cmd(⌘) cmd key + B

Step #6: Average ~

Get the Direct Selection Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (a) …

… select the end points by drawing a box around them …

Right-Click and select Average …

… select Both and hit OK.

Do the bottom too.

Step #7: Drag to Brushes ~

Open the Brushes palette …

brushes palette

… select the whole shape and drag it into your Brushes palette.

… select “New Art Brush” ant hit OK.

Lastly, change the colorization method from the drop down menu to Tints.




Tints are important so you can change the color later.


Delete the Old One ~



Once you create your brush, you can the original.


Step #8: Get the Pencil Tool Again ~

Using the Pencil Tool draw some letters:

Then click the brush you made to apply it to the shapes:

Step #9: There are many options!

Create lines in any configuration …

… adjust the anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (if necessary) …

… and you can also choose different colors (if necessary).

Step #10: Blur and Feather ~

Select the lines and go to: Effect > Blur > Gausian Blur and adjust the blur to your needs …

… and lastly go to: Effect > Stylize > Feather and try that.

Last Step: Save and Attach ~


save as

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects using the following naming convention:

  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.

  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.

Other Resources: http://www.bluesfear.com/submittuts/ps/1/index.php or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2dkvz7zcf0