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Illustrator Stroke Width Tool Tutorial by mewtwo-EX Illustrator Stroke Width Tool Tutorial by mewtwo-EX
You need Illustrator CS5 or later to use the techniques discussed here. While this guide discusses vectoring ponies, the techniques can be applied to any stroke width modification.

While not mentioned above, you can save stroke width profiles for later use.  To do this, select the path, then in the (fully expanded) Stroke pane, click the down arrow next to Profiles, then click the Add to Profiles button.  The next time you need that profile, simply select the path, then click the proper profile.

~Yanoda's fav.me/d5hbvrp has stroke width profiles that can be easily applied to common things such as legs and eyelashes.  Use my technique above for more complex items, such as the muzzle.

:new: Lop-sided strokes can be useful, especially for leg tapers. This alternative taper style as described by =Austiniousi fav.me/d6g4c48, but using the stroke width tool, has now been added.


Everything but the :iconmlp-vectorclub: icon was made by me in Illustrator CS6.
Time taken: about a day of on-and-off work.
I'm happy to announce that there are no raster components in the source!
Thanks to :iconsircxyrtyx:~SirCxyrtyx for helping me develop some of these techniques!

If you find these techniques useful...
If you know of something I'm missing...
If you need additional help...
...leave a comment!

Feel free to repost this places, but don't edit it.


Edit 20130914: Added an alternative taper style as described by =Austiniousi
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:iconking-franchesco:
King-Franchesco Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2018   Artist
What is a programm ?
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:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2018
"Programm"? The application this is written for is Adobe Illustrator, CS6 and newer.
Reply
:iconrobocheatsy:
RoboCheatsy Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2017  Professional General Artist
This so helpful!  I'm experience with Illustrator, but it used to always make my tapers turn out funky when I used the width tool; now I know how to avoid that!  Thanks! :D
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2017
Glad you found it useful!
Reply
:iconprincessfireshinee:
PrincessFireShinee Featured By Owner Edited Mar 6, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i didn't read it but i will but to make vector we have to redraw the image?
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2017
This tutorial is for more advanced features of Illustrator. Please check out here for general info on vectoring ponies: mlp-vectorclub.deviantart.com/…
:)
Reply
:iconprincessfireshinee:
PrincessFireShinee Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
kk thanks
Reply
:iconsugguk:
sugguk Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This has helped me so much! 
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2015
Excellent!
Reply
:iconsaharaporter:
SaharaPorter Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015
is it at all possible to do this in photoshop cs5 or is this an illustrator only technique? 
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2015
I believe these techniques can only be used in AI CS5.5 and newer. Photoshop is not suggested for vector work. The basic idea can also be applied to Inkscape.
Reply
:iconsaharaporter:
SaharaPorter Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2015
ugh bummer thanx anyway :I
Reply
:iconlazypixel:
LazyPixel Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015
I never thought to trace the inside of the stroke.
Imma try this for my next vector. Thanks!
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015
Excellent! Let me know what you think.
Reply
:iconetherialice:
EtherialIce Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014  Student General Artist
Thank you so so much for the last part!
I could never figure out how to do that
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014
Glad you found it useful :)
Reply
:iconvitaniiscute:
VitaniIsCute Featured By Owner May 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Clapping Pony Icon - Twilight Sparkle Twilight Sparkle approves
And so do I.
Reply
:icontwilightsparkle431:
twilightsparkle431 Featured By Owner May 29, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
i approve !
Reply
:iconvitaniiscute:
VitaniIsCute Featured By Owner May 30, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Haha x3 you do indeed! c:
Reply
:icontwilightsparkle431:
twilightsparkle431 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
lolprincess twilight sparkle icon Clapping Pony Icon - Season Four Twilight 
Reply
:iconartstude3n2:
ArtStude3n2 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Currsses: still not edited to show the power and technique on how to do this sort of thing with the Adobe Illustrator CS2. :(
 I think...
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014
Give this a read mlp-vectorclub.deviantart.com/…
It applies pretty well up through CS4.
Reply
:iconrealdarcytrix:
realdarcytrix Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2013
but i cant draw nice drawing i watch several video in youtube of drawing and i cant draw i have illustrator cs6 and paint tool sai and gimp and artrage and inkscape  and i cant draw
Reply
:iconhunterscars:
hunterscars Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013
thanks for this man, this will be so helpful when i start using illustrator instead of photoshop 
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:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013
Sure thing! Glad you found it useful!
Reply
:iconclaritea:
Claritea Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Why my handles are invisible?
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013
If you've selected more than one node, by default AI hides them. You can disable this behavior in Edit>Prefs>General I believe. Also, if the node is sharp, it may not have handles. Use the SHIFT+C tool or the convert button (dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/35….
Reply
:iconclaritea:
Claritea Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's not a easy job to learn Illustrator...
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013
Heee....well, I find Inkscape thoroughly confusing. AI makes sense (for the most part).
Reply
:iconclaritea:
Claritea Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
WOW!!!! I learned Inkscape for 1 week, and for 1 day I learned Illustrator!
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013
So...are you saying Inkscape was harder to learn?
Reply
:icondarkhoofs:
Darkhoofs Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
for me to

Reply
:iconclaritea:
Claritea Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For me, yes.
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013
:3 AI Master Race.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconbenybing:
benybing Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
OMG I didn't know illustrator could do this. I work A LOT in illustrator, I would always at a separate tapered line to the tips of blunt strokes cause I'm clearly retarded. This was godsend. Thank you!
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
We always learn new things. Prior to CS5, what you did was the best way. Now it is not. Glad I could be of service to your improvement!
Reply
:iconzarcan:
Zarcan Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013
vry interessing
Reply
:iconsoriokink:
Soriokink Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I never knew you could do this! This might change the way i do vectors now...
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
I'm glad you found this informative! :D

I hope you haven't been doing Stroke to Path.... ;) I started out trying that and then decided it was way too much work. I almost abandoned pony vectors until I found this method.
Reply
:iconflorapony:
florapony Featured By Owner May 15, 2013
Please teach me to draw vectors!
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner May 15, 2013
Teaching is rather difficult. I can give you pointers, but you need to have something for me to look at first. There are some excellent tutorials in #MLP-VectorClub, that can walk you through the basics. Perhaps this one for Inkscape? [link]
Reply
:iconflorapony:
florapony Featured By Owner May 16, 2013
I can try it...
Reply
:iconlyssigal5000:
Lyssigal5000 Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Are you currently taking requests?
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:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner May 7, 2013
Not yet unfortunately. I hope to, but no time still. Also this isn't really the place to request them ;)
Reply
:iconlyssigal5000:
Lyssigal5000 Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Okay. Where should I request? And it's okay, just contact me whenever you have time :)
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner May 7, 2013
I can't contact people who request...that would essentially mean I would always be open. As the requester, it is in your court to send a request when I open. I hope you understand :).

You can see request status on my main page and details are here [link]
Reply
:iconlyssigal5000:
Lyssigal5000 Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Sorry! But thanks anyway, I'll check back often. Thanks anyway :)
Reply
:iconaffinityshy:
AffinityShy Featured By Owner May 5, 2013   Filmographer
Excellent! Thank you so much for making this tutorial. I've learned how to make traditional-style artwork in Illustrator CS6 with the Pencil tool, but I've been stuck for a while trying to refine my artwork. This will help greatly!
Reply
:iconmewtwo-ex:
mewtwo-EX Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
Great! Glad it is useful to you!

A note about the pencil tool: While it is good for adding a hand-drawn look, unless you're actually shooting for this, the pen tool is much preferred in the Pony community. Just something to think about :)
Reply
:iconaffinityshy:
AffinityShy Featured By Owner May 5, 2013   Filmographer
I just use the Pencil tool for planning and sketching on a separate layer. When I'm refining my artwork, I use the Brush, Blob Brush, or Pen tool. I'm getting much more comfortable with the Pen tool, and this tutorial has really helped speed up my workflow with the Pen tool. I don't mind using it for vector drawings at all now; I can create quick, clean strokes and edit them at any time. I'm using the brush tools more for vector paintings. Thanks again!
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