Brush Styles



A brush is an instrument that a painter uses to fill an area or figure with a color. Just as in real life there are different brushes for different jobs, in Microsoft Windows, before drawing, you can create a special brush for a particular job you want to perform.

There are three main characteristics you can specify when creating a brush: a color, a style, or a picture. For now, we will view only the second characteristic.

Using a Style

When using Borland C++ Builder, you will usually not need to explicitly create a brush. Since you usually draw on a special area called a canvas, the object on which you are drawing will have a member variable called a brush. All you have to do is to specify what characteristics you want to use.

By default, the area a brush hits is uniformly made of one color and no background line. A brush style is a line or a combination of line patterns that would cover the area painted using a brush. The Microsoft Windows operating system provides a (limited) list of styles you can use for your brush to cover a painted area. These styles are:

The Visual Component Library (VCL) provides an enumerator that holds 8 constant for brush styles. This enumerator is TBrushStyle and is defined as follows:

enum TBrushStyle {bsSolid, bsClear, bsHorizontal, bsVertical, bsFDiagonal, bsBDiagonal, bsCross, bsDiagCross};

To select a style for your brush, assign the desired value to the Brush member variable of your TCanvas object.

Brush styles are typically used to fill an area for a particular pattern. One way you can use them is to use a constant brush for a simple drawing. On the other hand, if you are creating a drawing application, you may want users to select the brush style they want. This can be provided through a list such as a combo box:

This form with a bsDialog BorderStyle contains a combo box whose Style is csOwnerDrawFixed, a ColorGrid under the combo box, and a Shape control.

You can start by creating an array that would hold the list of styles as follows:

#ifndef Unit1H
#define Unit1H
#include <Classes.hpp>
#include <Controls.hpp>
#include <StdCtrls.hpp>
#include <Forms.hpp>

const AnsiString strStyle[] = { "bsSolid", "bsClear", "bsHorizontal",
                                "bsVertical", "bsFDiagonal", "bsBDiagonal",
                                "bsCross", "bsDiagCross" };
const TBrushStyle brStyle[] = {  bsSolid, bsClear, bsHorizontal,
                                 bsVertical, bsFDiagonal, bsBDiagonal,
                                 bsCross, bsDiagCross };
class TForm1 : public TForm
__published:	// IDE-managed Components
    TShape *Shape1;
    TComboBox *ComboBox1;
    TCColorGrid *CColorGrid1;
private:	// User declarations
public:		// User declarations
    __fastcall TForm1(TComponent* Owner);
extern PACKAGE TForm1 *Form1;

The first thing you should do here is to initialize the control that would hold the list of styles. This can be done in the OnCreate event of the Form:

void __fastcall TForm1::FormCreate(TObject *Sender)
    for(int i = 0; i < 8; ++i)

Since you would usually use an owner draw control, such as a combo box, a list box, a list view, a tree view, grid list, a menu, etc, you should use the related event to process the actual drawing. For our example, we can use the OnDrawItem event as follows:

void __fastcall TForm1::ComboBox1DrawItem(TWinControl *Control, int Index,
      TRect &Rect, TOwnerDrawState State)
    if( State.Contains(odSelected) )
        ComboBox1->Canvas->Brush->Color = clHighlight;
        ComboBox1->Canvas->Brush->Color = clWhite;


    ComboBox1->Canvas->Brush->Color = clBlack;
    ComboBox1->Canvas->Brush->Style = brStyle[Index];
    ComboBox1->Canvas->Rectangle(Rect.Left + 1, Rect.Top + 1,
                                 Rect.Width(), Rect.Bottom - 1);

With this event, the control has been appropriately drawn and is ready to be used. All you need now is to retrieve the value selected by the user and do whatever you want with it. For a drawing application, you would usually use the selected style/pattern to fill an area. Here is an example:

void __fastcall TForm1::ComboBox1Change(TObject *Sender)
    Shape1->Brush->Color = CColorGrid1->ForegroundColor;
    Shape1->Brush->Style = brStyle[ComboBox1->ItemIndex];



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