How to Set the Brush to Pen Pressure in Illustrator

by Elyse James ; Updated September 28, 2017

Many illustrators choose to use a tablet when creating digital art because tablets allow them to apply pressure to the brush tool when drawing for more realistic looking artwork. In programs such as Adobe Illustrator, adjusting the brush’s pressure settings will enable you to use your stylus pen. The harder or softer you press the pen against the tablet, the darker or lighter the resulting brush stroke will be.

Select the brush tool from your list of available Illustrator tools.

Select the “New Brush” option at the bottom of the Brush tool pane. The icon looks like a folded sheet of paper. Choose “New Calligraphic Brush” from the popup window and then “OK.”

Name the new brush something you will remember such as “Pressure Sensitive Brush” or similar.

Choose the drop-down menu beside the “Diameter” setting and select “Pressure.”

Change the values beside the “Diameter” and “Variation” settings. The variation setting denotes how much more or less the brush pressure is. Adjust the numbers in these boxes until you get the desired pressure for your brush.

About the Author

Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.