About the Brush Tool Modes

When you select the Brush tool or the Stencil Brush tool, the Tool Properties view displays the different Brush modes that can control how the brush strokes behave for that tool. Click on the Brush Mode buttons to enable or disable the different modes.

When drawing on a vector layer, the Brush tool creates individual strokes with editable vector contours. On bitmap layers, the Brush tool lays down strokes as pixels, where all strokes are flattened into a single image. Depending on which layer type you have selected (vector or bitmap), the Brush modes in the Tool Properties panel will vary.

Draw Behind Mode

When enabled, your drawing strokes will be added underneath the existing artwork instead of over it.

NOTE Your stroke will appear over your artwork as you draw it, until you release the mouse cursor or tablet pen. If you want a live preview of your stroke, activate the Realistic Preview option by selecting View > Realistic Preview from the top menu.

Auto-Fill Mode

When enabled, if you draw a closed shape, it will automatically be filled with the selected colour.

Auto Flatten Mode

By default each brush stroke you draw is stored as a separate drawing object that can be manipulated individually. With the Auto Flatten option enabled, all overlapping brush strokes will be merged together into a single drawing object. This will make your artwork lighter in both file size and processing time, but may limit your ability to tweak and modify your artwork.


Opens a pop-up menu in which you can enable or disable the Snap to Alignment Guides option. When this option is enabled, the Brush tool will snap to nearby alignment guides so that you can draw along their axis, as if you were drawing against a rule.

NOTE For more information on alignment guides, see About Alignment Guides



Only available if the Stencil Brush tool and a vector layer are selected.

In this mode, existing artwork form the boundaries of a mask by having their layers selected. Drawing or painting over existing artwork results in these strokes being cut by the boundaries of the mask. These strokes are not flattened with the existing artwork and remain editable. This can be useful to quickly add shadows to drawings.



Only available if the Stencil Brush tool and a vector layer are selected.

In this mode, existing artwork is repainted, ignoring empty zones.