Illustrator Tutorial – Using The Scribble Effect

The Scribble effect in Illustrator allows you to take a shape or path and make it look like it has been scribbled with a pen or pencil. You can also create interesting painterly effects by combining the scribble effect with different brushes.

1. Draw a shape using the shape tool or by drawing a random shape with the pen or pencil.

2. Make sure the shape is filled and the stroke is set to none.


3. Select the shape you’ve just created and choose Effect > Stylise > Scribble. Make sure the preview option checked so that you can see how the effect will change your shape. Try out various settings and see how it can vary between a very tightly drawn scribble to a relaxed, scrappy scrawl. I set the scribble options for my shape as follows:

4. Click Ok to apply the settings and see your new scribbley star.

More Options

If you’d like to do more work with the scribble you can expand it into simple strokes.

1. Choose Object > Expand Appearance.

2. Click on the scissors tool in the toolbox and use it to cut the paths that the expanded scribble object created.


3. To cut a path, click once at the point you want to cut. Every time you cut a path, a new path will appear in the Layers palette.

4. Open the Brushes palette by choosing Window > Brushes.

5. Open the extra brush libraries by clicking on the small triangle at the top right of the Brushes palette. Choose Open Brush Library > Artistic_Watercolor from the pop-up menu.

6. Select all the paths that make up the scribbled shape by clicking to the right of the target circle next to the <Group> item on the Layers palette.

7. Click on a brush in the Brushes palette to apply it to the strokes in your shape. (I used the Watercolour – Blend brush from the Artistic_Watercolor brush set.) And Voila! Your shape now has a nice painterly effect.

Changing the colour of your scribbled object
Initially you started with a filled shape but when you expanded the appearance and used the scissors you created paths. When you use the brushes, their colour comes from the stroke of the selected path and not the fill, that’s why if you want to change the colour of your object now, you’ll use the stroke colour rather than the fill colour.