How to make an SVG for VideoScribe in Adobe Illustrator


There are thousands of free images in the VideoScribe library. Rather make your own? Here’s how to create SVGs in Adobe Illustrator that draw perfectly in VideoScribe.

These instructions are for creating basic, smooth line drawings in Adobe Illustrator that draw well in VideoScribe. They don’t cover any of the advanced things that you could potentially do with SVG images.

1) Create a reference image

Draw a sketch of what you would like your image to look like. Take a photo and upload it or scan it into your computer. Or, find an image online of something similar to what you want.

Save this reference image.

2) Open the image in Illustrator

Open your reference image as layer 1 of a new file in Adobe Illustrator. Then:

  1. Go to the appearance panel
  2. Set layer 1 to 40% opacity
  3. Lock layer 1

This will help when you start tracing over it.

3) Create a new layer to trace onto

Create a new layer, layer 2. Then, from the toolbar on the left:

  1. Set the colour fill of layer 2 to none
  2. Choose any colour you like for the stroke, and any weight

Now, in the top toolbar:

  1. Set the stroke to uniform
  2. Choose the pen

4) Trace over your reference image

The pen tool will give you lines that look smooth and simple. Start tracing over the lines of your reference image onto layer 2.

Draw your lines in the order that you would like VideoScribe to draw them for you.

The pen tool works by creating a series of reference points as you draw. VideoScribe sees your reference points as the dots of a dot-to-dot picture. It draws the full image by connecting the ‘dots’ in the order you made them.

5) Delete your reference image

When you’ve completed your image, you no longer need your reference image (layer 1) – delete it now.

6) Save your SVG image

Your image must be saved in a certain way for it to draw well within VideoScribe.
When you’re happy with your image:

  1. Click File
  2. Select Save as
  3. Choose SVG (svg) from the menu

This will open up another dialogue box:

  1. Select Embed under Options > Image Location
  2. Select Presentation Attributes under Advanced Options > CSS Properties
  3. Leave all other options unchecked

It’s really important that CSS Properties is set to Presentation Attributes. A 2015 Illustrator update by Adobe means that your image won’t draw properly in VideoScribe without this setting.

And that’s it folks. Follow these steps and your SVG images should draw beautifully in VideoScribe every time.

Still unsure?

Download an example SVG file and use its settings as a guide for your own images.

Adding colour?

If you want to add colour to your image, go back to the end of step 4 and:

  1. Lock layer 2
  2. Create a new layer – layer 3 – for the fill colour
  3. Arrange your layers so that layer 3 sits directly below layer 2
  4. Choose the blob brush tool
  5. Set the stroke to none and the fill to the colour you want to use
  6. Start applying colour

When you’ve added all your colour, follow the instructions at step 6 for saving your file.

That’s it. In a future post, we’ll look at how to make SVGs for VideoScribe in Inkscape.

70 thoughts on “How to make an SVG for VideoScribe in Adobe Illustrator

  1. Ricardo Gomez

    Hi, thanks but add some color is possible Inkscape?

  2. I had an existing drawing that I traced (via Image Trace) in AI and saved as SVG. The traced image however obviously turned into a filled shape, rather than a line path. Even though it was a line drawing originally on paper. When importing into Scribe, it doesn’t draw it as a line, it draws the outline path and then fills it (see below attachment)

    Is there a way of using the native AI Image Trace tool and still end up with an SVG that works as a line drawing in Scribe?

  3. Kate Evans Kate Evans

    Hi Nadja! I could write a whole other blog post about this, but I’ll try and explain it in a nutshell for you. What you need to do is, in a new layer, trace over the filled shape with a new line path so that it covers the shape. Then all you need to do is set the opacity of that layer to 0% using the transparency window, and save as SVG as per usual. VideoScribe will follow that line path, revealing the layer below it. Here’s a screengrab of my workspace so you can see what I mean (but don’t forget – opacity should be 0%). Hope that helps!

  4. I am a small Car Rental company Owner in India ( New Delhi ). I want to get one small video made to promote my business which I can send through whatssapp to people.
    Can you help.
    Manjeet K Jagdev

  5. Angela Caraglio

    I have created a svg of my logo. Company name, Innovative Lease Services. All of the layers are in order of how I want them to be drawn. However they are actually being drawn backwards. Starting with the services, lease, innovative. Do you have any idea why this might be happening?

    Thank you.

    • Montse

      Same problem.
      In the tutorial it is not explained and Ive had the problem in the last 20 videos I’ve done.. I’m a professional user of AI also VS, and couldn’t find the answer.
      Illustrator shapes are read in VS in the opposite order, wich is crazy when you add colors…..

    • Rakshith Gowda

      swap the order of the layers that’s arranged.hope it helps

  6. geepsey


    I have a logo created with a particular font in Illustrator. When I convert that to outline and then save the file to SVG, the animation/hand drawing doesn’t trace the entire font. What am I missing?

    • Kate Evans Kate Evans

      Hi there!
      It sounds like you might need to add some vector paths over the text using the pen/pencil tool. Simply converting the text to outlines might not create the effect you need.
      I’ve explained how to do this in a previous comment (below!) – if you need any extra help or instruction then our support team will be happy to

      • geepsey


  7. Daniel Ypsilanti

    The blob brush color does not show up as drawn in Videoscribe, it just appears after the outline is made. Any idea why this might be happening or if there is something I’ve overlooked? Thanks.

    • Daniel Mehmet Daniel Mehmet

      Hi Daniel. Kate’s initial advice was to use the pen or pencil for colour rather than the blob tool. Have you tried those instead?

      • Daniel Ypsilanti

        I used the pen/pencil tool to create the initial outline but in step 6 it says specifically “The blob brush tool is perfect for adding colour to your SVG, especially if you only want to colour parts of the image.”
        However when I do this it only makes the color appear after the paths are drawn.

        If using the pen/pencil tool is the best way to have the fill color “drawn” in that’s fine and I’ll work with the illustrations that way, but the phrasing in step 6 implies otherwise.

        • Daniel Mehmet Daniel Mehmet

          Ah yes, sorry about that Daniel – my mistake. I’ll ask Kate why that might be happening and get back to you as soon as I can.

        • Daniel Mehmet Daniel Mehmet

          Hi Daniel. I spoke to Kate and she says you’re correct – colour added with the blob tool won’t draw in VideoScribe, it will simply appear. You need to use the pen or pencil to get colour that draws.

  8. nramesh31


    I create a single Adobe Illustrator file with many layers and export each later as a separate SVG file. When I place these files in Videoscribe, is there an easy way to “register” them so that they are all aligned as in the original Illustrator image. Manual registration is tedious, and using markers fails after about 20 layers.


  9. malkani

    can any one help me how to make logo in illusrator in svg format for speed paint in video scribe

  10. Aden

    Hi, I have exactly same problem with what Daniel Ypsilanti mentioned below. This is happened when ‘Only Draw Strokes?’ is unchecked. And then, no animation is made when I checked it.

  11. jane

    Could you provide a sample AI file for reference? thank would help a whole lot.

  12. Hi there, I’m using an image I drew in illustrator prior to having VideoScribe. I have added the transparent pencil stroke to just one of the colored areas of the whole piece to test, but the scribe wants to draw the fill first. Actually, it draws a few peripheral strokes, then the fill then the rest of the drawing. I tried putting the stroke on a layer beneath the layer that the fill is on — same result. Then I tried putting the scribble stroke on the same layer as the fill, just behind it — same result. Draws some of the strokes of the drawing, then draws the fill, then finishes the rest of the drawing.

  13. 1. Is there a way or a trick to take a hand drawing and get it to be a working SVG file?

    I know that Illustrator image trace does not create a working SVG.Is there any other way?

    I also know that the Illustrator (stroke) width tool changes do not export.

    Is there another program or something I can do in illustrator or…?

    2. Is there a program where I can draw with the Wacom tablet (thus creating that line thickness variation that I want) and then do something or export it as an SVG file that works in Video Scribe?

    I have a ton of drawings and it would save a lot of time to not have to redraw them in Illustrator (plus, it seems I can’t export any line width variation from Illustrator).
    I also want to capture that slight variation of thickness of line in a hand drawing in the SVG.

    I attached an example of an image I drew on an actual whiteboard that I want to convert into a working Video Scribe SVG.

    (Using Adobe CC 2015)

    Thank You.

    • Adam Sacks

      I don’t use AI, but Inkscape does an excellent job tracing from bitmaps with its path tools, all automagically (with manual options of course). It’s open source, free and *very* powerful. Works easily with Videoscribe (disclaimer: I’m new to both Videoscribe and Inkscape, although experienced with graphics software, and it’s been a friendly learning curve to climb so far (less than a week).

      [trace is loaded as a .png because this page wouldn’t load it as the .svg right now, even though it was only 1.2 Mb]

  14. This video is an example of what looks like an svg working with line variations. That is what I am talking about.

    Actually though, I think changing the Illustrator export settings to Presentation Attributes got it to work for me.

    Weird though, it was not working last night after I changed that, but it is today.

    It seems ok so far.

    Thank You!

    • pepe

      buenisimo no se como poner color a las ilustraciones ;(

  15. I’ve recently updated both Illustrator and Videoscribe to the most recent versions. The issue of lines that drew thinner than they should but then thickened up at the end of the drawing had been solved. I’m not sure what I changed other than working at a very high quality and a large canvas size (1920×1080). Suddenly after the update this problem is back. I’ve tried all of the recommended combinations of settings for saving as an SVG and nothing fixes it. Is there chance this will be fixed eventually? I know it’s been going on for a long time for a lot of people.

  16. JC

    Help! Help!

    I have a problem with recording the lines.

    Someone can help me ??

    I save the images in Adobe Illustrator with the SVG settings.

    Check the images below.



  17. Daniel Mehmet Daniel Mehmet

    I realised that some of you were finding it difficult to follow the instructions in this post. So I took it back to the drawing board with our designer and illustrator Ben. Please take a look at the new instructions above. I hope you find these clearer and easier to follow.

  18. Pradeep Yadav

    I have some trouble with SVG files …i do all drawing in illustrator with pen tool.when i import SVG file in videoscribe it shows dots on joining points which looks ugly …i saved files in same format u mentioned (SVG,embeded) but still have this problem

    Here u can see my problem

    watch it from 0.51

    • Ben Binney Ben Binney

      Hey Pradeep,
      It looks like your revealing stroke is a little too large and it’s picking up bits of other lines as it draws. Try tweaking the size and placement of the lines and make sure they’re not overlapping. Also, try increasing your ‘Default image quality’ settings, you shouldn’t need anything more than 1800 px though.

      • Pradeep Yadav

        Thanks …

        • Daniel Mehmet Daniel Mehmet

          Also, Pradeep, that is a VERY cool scribe. Excellent work. You should submit it to our scribe wall when it’s finished:

          • Pradeep Yadav

            Thanks Daniel…sure …

      • Bhavleen

        Hi Pradeep–just a short question, what program do you use to create the characters–which program do you use to draw your own characters?

  19. Alex

    Good advise! Thank you!

  20. cgins

    Will this work with Illustrator CS3 or only CC? Custom images are key for me, and I’m still trying to hang on to my old version of Illustrator. Thanks!

    • JustLikeThat

      Hi there! I’m no expert and fortunately I’m subscribed to Adobe CC where I have the luxury of free updates. However, when working with videoscribe, I choose another software that’s similar to adobe but much cheaper at only $19 bucks and its called graphic desk and extremely user friendly and easy! It was originally called iDraw about a year or two ago. Hope this helps!

      • cgins

        Thanks for the tip! I will check it out. I also got a lead to use the paint brush instead of the pen tool in Illustrator, but I haven’t run it down yet.

        • JustLikeThat

          Great, let me know how it works out for you! Cheers!

  21. Carlos F Martinez

    Thanks so much,I will try right away. :)

  22. Andres Orozco Benítez

    Im having trouble with an SVG which looks very good on illustrator but when imported to VS looks really crappy. I don’t even need to animate it, just zoom in and out for the purpose of my video. Any recommendation for not losing quality? I’m really puzzled by this…

    • Ellis Dee

      I am having the same issue. Clean vector lines in Illustrator. Save as described above in the article, but pixelated in the Scribe canvas.

  23. gemma

    I followed the instructions in this tutorial but I am having issues where the lines drew thinner than they should but then thickened up at the end. What am i doing wrong?

  24. pepe

    I need a help look these, one expert please

    • pepe

      solution but how put the color?

      • pepe

        alguien habla español :)

        • pepe

          I need a video tutorial SPARKOL

        • Tutora Michol Silva

          Hola Pepe ya encontraste cómo pintar el dibujo?

          • pepe

            ya hace rato :)

            2016-11-17 23:10 GMT-05:00 Disqus :

        • Paul Yanque

          hola yo hablo español

  25. Joelma

    I have used illustrator to create the svg file and have fill set to none, but when imported in VideoScribe, it still fills in the image. Help!

  26. Is there a similar tutorial for Corel Draw?

  27. tom labaff

    Sorry but this post is incorrect. Do NOT use the pen tool, use the pencil tool. And you don’t need to delete your reference image. I volunteer to do a video tutorial if people want it. Let me know in the comments!

  28. Paul Yanque
  29. John Scotland

    Do you drawn using the mouse or a stylus pen? Great post:)

    • Paul Yanque

      I using stylus pen Wacom

      • John Scotland

        Thanks Paul

  30. ihsan

    you should provide an example of video too

    • Paul Yanque

      Hi Ihsan , you like an example of the process?

  31. Malik Omar

    Majority of the people are finding it very difficult to folow the above instructions. Can you please make a video on “How to make an SVG for VideoScribe in Adobe Illustrator” and upload it to your youtube channel. Regards,

    • Paul Yanque

      dear Malik , in this days i take time for it,

  32. fahd janjua

    without being offensive , I just want to say that this tutorial seems to be horrible from the written comments, Why not make it easy to follow through. Your efforts are worthy of praise but along with that the manual of instruction should be pretty straight-forward and easy.

  33. Renee Troughton

    I am having the same problem posted by many people below – that it is drawing the outline of the stroke and then filling the stroke in at the end. I have re-installed videoscribe and my illustrator is up to date.

    • Nancy Lokos

      I’m also having the same issue with drawing an outline of the stroke and then it getting filled in at the end. Has anyone managed to resolve this?

  34. Prince Mahesh

    thank you for ……….this …its a nice software to do more video by own way ….!

  35. Mohammad Iqbal Hossen

    i can not write my Language Bangla in VideoScribe, What is the best way to write bangla language in videoscribe. and I can not write Algebraic Equation of Mathematics, Plz inform me

  36. Tech Hack

    If you are looking to do the same in inkscape, here is a link.

    Inkscape is free open source software.

  37. Onda Amore

    Thanks a lot!

  38. Daniel Mehmet Daniel Mehmet

    Hi Manjeet, You can find people to make a whiteboard animation for you at our directory website Animole: Best of luck, Daniel

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