Use the Paintbrush tool

Use the Paintbrush tool Cc294997.7e843b01-0c2a-4914-8464-206dd3c19ad3(en-us,Expression.40).png to draw a shape with a Bezier path.

To draw a path

When you draw a shape by using the Paintbrush tool, Microsoft Expression Design automatically fits a Bezier path to your freehand trail (or path).

  1. In the Toolbox, select the Paintbrush tool.

  2. Draw a freehand path. To create a closed path, position the pointer over the starting point of the path. When a small circle appears next to the pointer, release the mouse button.

Drawing a trail with the Paintbrush tool, and the resulting Bezier path with brush stroke applied


To adjust how tightly you want the Bezier path to fit your freehand trail

  1. On the Edit menu, point to Options, and then click Stroke.

  2. In the Stroke panel, under Freehand Tools, adjust Tightness of fit. The tighter the fit, the closer together the points (or vertices) on the path.


You can also use the Paintbrush tool as an object-selection tool. Just click (without dragging) any path to select it, or click an empty area of the page to undo the selection of all objects.

To extend an existing path

You can also use the Paintbrush tool to extend an existing path.

  1. On the Edit menu, point to Options, and then click Stroke.

  2. In the Stroke panel, under Stroke, select Drawing tools append to path.

  3. Position the pointer over the start or finish point of the path, hold down the ALT key, and draw.

Alternatively, draw a new path with the Paintbrush tool and position the pointer over one of the open nodes of a path, and press the ALT key as you release the mouse button. In this case, the new path is joined to the old one.

To replace an existing path

Sometimes you want to change a path in your artwork.

  1. Select the path you want to replace.

  2. Press SHIFT and, by using the Paintbrush tool, draw over the path.

If you draw over just part of the path, Expression Design replaces just that part.

To enable pressure sensitivity

If you use a pressure-sensitive device (such as a WACOM tablet), Expression Design can vary the appearance of the stroke according to the pressure applied at each point.

  1. On the Edit menu, point to Options, and then click Stroke.

  2. In the Stroke panel, under Freehand tool, select Enable pressure sensitivity.

  3. Adjust the Pressure scale by dragging the pointer up or to the right to increase the number, or down or to the left to reduce it. You can also double-click and type the pressure scale you prefer.

When pressure sensitivity is enabled, the stroke weight is determined by a combination of the pressure applied to the tablet, and the settings that you have made to the Pressure scale, and the Stroke Width field in the Properties panel.

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