Hello Kurt and JETalmage.
Thanks to both of you.
Using Illustrator CS4. JET: you were bang on: it WAS the Scatter Brush I was looking for!
Okay - this worked like a charm if I make my brush with only one "bead". I cann't find a way to make a mulit-coloured bead brush.
Here's what I want to do: create an illustration of a string of beads. BUT I want to make a brush, so that I can draw a line freehand in any direction and it will create my string of beads WITHOUT some of the beads distorting or squishing up against each other.
So I created one bead, made that a scatter brush and it works well. Then I created a string of multicoloured beads and did the same thing (only I can't use "scatter' because it doesn't work with multiple beads). The closest is "pattern", but even with this some of the beads that meet up at the ends get squished and there is distortions - even though I've played around with all of the settings to rectify this.
Is there some other way of achieving the effect that I want, without having to copy and paste one bead at a time??
Not as a standard turnkey feature, no.
You'll have to bear the anguished and tortured sweat and toil of using the Scatter Brush, expanding the Brush, and then manually coloring the beads differently as desired.
Or otherwise automating the process, for example, via writing/running a script that replaces one object with another, or performs the fill sequence, etc.
The Scatter Brush will also not prevent the beads from overlapping in such circumstances as too accute bends or corners. Woe be to us all, we do have to occasionally do some drawing manually.