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Hand Lettering Tutorial – Part 3: Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Begin by opening the complete design from our basic lettering tutorial.  If you haven’t completed the first tutorial yet, CLICK HERE.

 

Step 1:  The first thing we will do is combine all of your elements together into the same compound shape.  Make sure all of your strokes are expanded (Object > Expand).  Select all of the objects and click “Unite” in the pathfinder palette.

 

Step 2:  For this effect, I want to increase the width of my lines, so I am going to select my design and add a stroke at the same color as the fill.  I set the stroke to 4 pt. Then Expanded the stroke (Object > Expand) and combined the new stroke with the main fill with the “Unite” command under the pathfinder palette.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3: We are going to create a custom art brush to add the highlights to the image.  First, start by drawing a simple line with the pen tool. Set the stroke to 3pt and change the variable width profile to #2.  Then you will want to draw three loose circles at each end as pictured.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4: Expand your stroke and select the line and all the circle shapes.  Make sure that the color is set to a “full” black (100% each of C,M,Y and K).  Drag the whole thing over to the new brush icon in your Brushes Palette.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5: Select “Art Brush” and hit OK.  Set the colorization method to “Tints” and the click OK.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 6:  With your stroke color set to a light grey (#CFD1D2), start making lines on your main text design to add in the “highlights”.  Change the stroke weight as needed.  You can also make multiple brushes with slightly different designs to vary the strokes.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 7: Before we start with the Stippling, make a copy of your letters and paste them onto a separate layer below the main text.  When you paste onto the new layer, make sure to use Paste in Front or Back, so that it lines up. Set the stroke on this new layer to light grey (#CFD1D2) and set it at about 3pt. and change the Variable Width Profile to the one with pointed ends (profile 1).

 

Step 8: We’re going to set up a new scatter brush using one of the circles you drew in step 3 (or you can draw out a new one).  Drag one of the circles over to the new brush icon and select Scatter.  We are going to want the spots to be fairly tiny, so depending on the size of your original circle, you will want to make the size small.  Once you start using the brush, you may need to adjust the settings, but we will start with the settings below.  For more on creating a scatter brush, you can visit a video article from Adobe by CLICKING HERE.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 9:  Create a new layer under the layer where you applied the light grey stroke to the letters.  Make a copy of the main text and paste it into this new layer.  Nudge the whole text design down a few points. Set the fill to blank and the stroke to black and apply your scatter brush to the letter outlines. We are going to build up the design now.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 10: From here, you can use the placement of the stipple as a guide to manually draw them out until you are happy with the design.  To save some time though, you can simply make copies of the outline and place them on top of one another to achieve the same effect in a fraction of the time.

 

Basically, we want the effect to thin out as it gets further away from the letter.  In order to do this, we will decrease the number of copies of the stroke as we nudge them.  So, for the first set of strokes, I will make 4-5 copies, making sure to re-apply the scatter brush as you make a copy and paste in front.  The image below has 5 copies of the same outline with the scatter brush applied to each.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 11:  Keep building up the stipple effect by making new copies of the text and applying the brush to them.  With each set, nudge the stroke over and down by one as you work.  You can see how my lines are set up in the image below.  Here are the number of copies I made of each line from inside to outside:

Blue: 5 copies

Red: 5 copies

Green: 4 copies

Yellow: 3 copies

Pink: 2 copies

1 copy for all other lines.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 12: As you get further away from the letters, you will start to change the stroke weight down.  After I hit the gray line in the image above, I took the line weight down to 0.75.

 

Step 13:  Now we want the stipple to scatter a little more.  Make a copy of your scatter brush by dragging it onto the New Brush button.  Apply the new scatter brush to your outer line and double click the brush to bring up the settings.  Make sure the “Preview” button has a check mark in it so you can see your changes as you make them.  Adjust the scatter as shown in the image below.  You may need to make some changes to the settings once it is applied to your image.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

And now you are done!  Experiment with adding more or less stippling and have fun with it.

Adding a stipple effect in Adobe Illustrator

This tutorial was featured in the following articles:

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