Quick Long Shadow Text Effect in Illustrator

Today I’m going to show you how to quickly create a long shadow text effect in Illustrator.

First I’ll show you how to do this in what I consider the more traditional method: using the Appearance Panel. Then we’ll look at an alternate method using the Blend Tool. Finally, we’ll wrap this tutorial up with some tips on making your long shadow effect extra special.

Let’s get started!

Long Shadow Effect with the Appearance Panel

Step 1

Let’s start by creating a new canvas in Illustrator. As always, it can be any size you like.

Next, type out some text you’d like to apply your long shadow effect to, and then open the Appearance Panel by going to Window > Appearance.

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

Making sure your text is selected, click the New Fill icon in the bottom left of the Appearance Panel and fill your text with the desired color. This is going to be the color that’s on top, not the color of your shadow.

Step 2

After you’ve chosen your new top fill color, select the original fill layer again. You can change the color if you desire, then click the “fx” icon at the bottom of the appearance panel and choose Distort & Transform > Transform.

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

The Transform Options Pop-up appears. You can copy my settings from the image below or mess around with your own.

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

What we’re doing here is making 250 copies of our text. With each copy, we’re stepping one pixel to the right (move horizontal) and one pixel down (move vertical). You can choose a stepping point loss than 1 pixel or make more/fewer copies as you desire.

Here are the results:

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

Step 3

The best part of using the Appearance Panel to create this long shadow effect is that it keeps both our text and our effects completely editable.

So if you don’t like the red long shadow, go ahead and change it. Need to change your phrase? Not a problem.

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

Step 4

And there’s more good news: you can save this effect in Graphic Styles so you’ll have a long shadow effect anytime you need it. Go to Window > Graphic Styles to bring up that panel.

Then, with your text selected, click the icon in the bottom to Create a New
Graphic Style based on your effects. Your new style icon is added instantly.

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

Step 5

Before we move on to the next part of this Illustrator tutorial, I want to mention that you don’t have to apply this only to text. It works on shapes as well.

For example, I created this starburst shape and then chose my style from the Graphic Styles Panel. Voila!

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

If you decide you want to make changes, you can still go into your appearance panel and make edits without affecting the saved style in the graphics panel.

Check it out! This time I filled my long shadow with a gradient.

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

Long Shadow Effect with the Blend Tool

As I mentioned, I want to show you an alternative method for creating a long shadow effect. It’s a little less traditional, but I think it’s pretty cool.

This time we’re going to use Illustrator’s Blend Tool to create a long shadow effect.

Step 1

Go ahead and type out some text, then duplicate it. Drag the copy down & away, and then fill each with a different color.

Next, grab your Blend Tool from the toolbar. You’ll want to hold down Option on your keyboard and click once on the canvas to bring up the Blend Options.

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

From the spacing drop-down menu, I’ve selected Specified Steps, but as always- I encourage you to play around with the other options as well. I’ve entered 100 steps. Here are the results:

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

Step 2

Hopefully you know this about me by now, but I always like to show a little something extra in my tutorials. An idea to get your thinking about ways to spice up your designs or think outside the box as a graphic designer.

So I typed out my phrase again, filled it white, and positioned it on top of my new gradient.

Then, I added some additional effects. I love to use the Effects > Warp options to test out different looks. What do you think?

Long Shadow Effect Illustrator Tutorial

That wraps up this Illustrator long shadow effect tutorial. I hope you enjoyed it! Want to keep learning graphic design skills? Check out some of my other popular tutorials:

Share this Tutorial

If you did enjoy this tutorial, would you do me a big favor? Pin the image below to help spread the word with your friends & family so they can learn awesome Illustrator & Photoshop skills, too. If you do, I really appreciate it! 🙂

Long Shadow Effect - Text - Illustrator Tutorial

How to Fake a Riso Print Effect in Illustrator

In a previous post, I showed you my best techniques for creating a riso print effect in Adobe Photoshop.

And today I’m showing you how to make a riso print effect in Adobe Illustrator! That’s right. Illustrator lovers, rejoice.

I’m super curious: do you prefer designing in Photoshop or in Illustrator? They certainly have their different/specific uses, but then there are times that you could choose one or the other and get similar results.

I honestly love them both equally. So annoying, I know. 🙄

Before we get started, remember: this tutorial is not intended to show you how to set up your artwork for an actual risograph printer, but to imitate the effect we get printing from a risograph.

What is a Risograph Print?

If you didn’t see my Photoshop Tutorial on this topic, you may be wondering what a risograph print is. Here’s a definition:

“The Risograph is a stencil duplicator. Think of it as a cross between screen printing and photocopying. The Riso prints one color at a time in bright, vibrant colors. It is ideal for posters, graphic prints, zines, comics, and other graphic arts.”

The University of Illinois

I also encourage you to check out this awesome PDF pamphlet from the University of Illinois with more detailed explanation:

https://art.illinois.edu/images/documents/Tutorials/riso_print_guide.pdf

What I love most about riso prints is 1) they’re imperfect and textured, and 2) the overprint effect – where the colors overlap to create new, unique colors. Like this:

And finally, here are some photos from a Pinterest Search to help give you an idea of what Riso Prints looks like:

riso print pinterest

How to Create a Riso Print Effect in Illustrator

So now that we’ve covered what a riso print is, let’s fire up Adobe Illustrator and get started.

In my Photoshop tutorial, I did something a bit annoying and imported some artwork I made in Procreate. Today I’m just going to use some basic shapes to demonstrate this process.

Step 1: Create Your Art in Illustrator

One nice thing about Illustrator compared to Photoshop is we don’t have to worry so much about maintaining separate layers. And therefore we don’t have to worry about renaming them or keeping them straight. Win/Win.

To start making this riso effect, create a new canvas in Illustrator. It can be any size. If you intend to use it digitally, 72ppi and RGB Color Mode is fine. If you intend to use it for print, a higher resolution of 300ppi and CMYK Color Mode is recommended.

Here are my canvas settings:

  • 500 x 500 px (until I inevitably change them during the course of this tutorial 😉)
  • RGB Color Mode
  • 72 ppi

Next, I’m going to add 4 ellipses to my canvas and fill them with CMYK colors. By CMYK colors, I’m referring to the first five colors in your Swatches Panel: CMYK Red, CMYK Yellow, CMYK Green, CMYK Cyan, CMYK Blue, and CMYK Magenta.

CMYK Colors Illustrator Riso Effect

You don’t have to strictly stick to these 5 colors, but I think they produce some of the most riso-like effects.

Step 2: Change the Blending Mode in the Appearance Menu

Step 2 is where the real magic happens! Just like we did in Photoshop, we’re going to play with the Blending Mode of these shapes. Each shape has its own blending mode versus changing the blending mode per layer (like in Photoshop).

To access Blending Mode, bring up the Appearance panel. If you don’t see it, go to Window > Appearance.

Riso Effect Color Burn Blending Mode Illustrator

Select one of your shapes, and in the Appearance Panel, click on the dropdown arrow next to Fill to bring up the Opacity options. An additional menu pops up where you’ll be able to cycle through all the different blending modes.

The two best blending modes for achieving the overprint look of a riso print are Color Burn and Hard Light.

Hard Light Blending Mode creates Riso Effect in Illustrator

Step 3: Order of Layers Matters

It’s also worth mentioning that the order of your shapes matters a lot when it comes to making a realistic riso effect in Illustrator!

For example, a red circle on top of a yellow circle with hard light as the blending mode produces a different result than a yellow circle on top of a red circle with hard light blending mode.

To see this in action, check out the differences in the images below:

CMYK Riso Settings
CMYK Riso Settings

You can easily change which shape is on top of another by right-clicking with your mouse on a shape and selecting Arrange > Bring to Front or Arrange > Send to Back.

Step 4: Optional: Add Texture

For the final step, you can add some texture to your art to produce more of that fuzzy, imperfect effect of a real risograph printer.

However, a warning: Illustrator’s built-in textures kind of suck. Or maybe it’s not that bad and it’s just me. My stomach turns when I see raster effects happen in vector software.

Here’s an example where I applied a Grain texture to the magenta ellipse by first selecting the shape, then going up to Effect > Texture > Grain:

Grain Texture Riso Effect Illustrator

And that’s all there is to it! Keep trying out different color combinations with the CMYK swatches, and then try other colors to see what you like best.


Save this Tutorial for Later

If you enjoyed this tutorial, would you pin the image below? When you do, two things happen: 1. You’ll save it to come back to later, and 2. You’ll be able to share it with your lovely Pinterest followers. I would appreciate it if you do!

Create a Riso Effect in Illustrator with Blending Modes

You might also be interested in some of my other design tutorials:


That’s all, folks!

Hoping one day we all get to print real risographs,

Lexie

Why Every Graphic Designer Should Use Photoshop Actions & Batch Processing

photoshop actions and batch process tutorial

I have this running joke with my twin sister, Brooke about how she’s a one-trick-pony when it comes to Photoshop.

Her one trick?

Batch resize.

It’s a skill she picked up working as a photography assistant years ago when we were still in graphic design school. Yes- she and I both went to graphic design school together. However, she took a different career path and seldom uses Photoshop anymore. Or at least not for the same reasons I do. But again: the thing she never forgot? Batch Processing!

It’s just that good.

So today I’m going to show you how Photoshop Actions and Batch Processing are going to make you a faster & much more efficient graphic designer.


What is a Photoshop Action?

A Photoshop Action is simply a series of steps you take in Photoshop that can be recorded, saved & reused again and again.

For example, if I want to put my watermark on a bunch of photos, I can record that process in Photoshop once, save it as an action, and then run that action on any photo I want to apply my watermark to.

Imagine how much time this saves! Think about it: what are the steps of applying a watermark to a photo in Photoshop?

  • Navigate to your files
  • Open the original photo
  • Resize the photo (optional)
  • Navigate to my watermark file
  • Bring in your watermark on a separate layer
  • Adjust placement of the watermark
  • Adjust the size of the watermark
  • Adjust the opacity or blending mode of the watermark
  • Flatten the image
  • Save or Export the image

Now imagine I have 100 photos I need to do this for. That means I have to repeat all 10 steps 100 times.

Oy vey. No way. It would take all day!

Instead, I can record these 10 steps as a Photoshop action so I don’t have to do each of these things manually. I’ll show you exactly how to do that in just a moment, but first: for this watermark scenario, we also need to understand how batch processing works together with actions to speed up our workflow.

What is Batch Processing in Photoshop?

Batch processing in Photoshop allows us to point to a folder on our computer, run a photoshop action on all the files in that folder, and then save all our new files in a location of our choice.

Going back to the example of applying a watermark to 100 photos: we talked about how creating a Photoshop action would eliminate the need to complete the same 10 steps for each file separately.

But batch processing takes things a step further, and now: we don’t even have to open each file individually. If all 100 of our photos are saved in the same folder on our computer, we can apply the watermark action to every single one of them just by telling Photoshop where that folder is.

Pretty cool! Let’s fire up Photoshop and see exactly how this is done.


How to Create a Photoshop Action

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how I apply a custom watermark to a batch of photos of my dog. 🐩

Step 1: Create a New Photoshop Action in the Actions Panel

If you haven’t already, go ahead and fire up Photoshop and open a photo that you want to apply your watermark to.

As you’ll see in the screenshot below, I have my Actions Panel and my Layers Panel open. If you don’t see the Actions Panel, go to Window > Actions to access it.

There is a Default Actions Folder containing all the actions that come built-in to Photoshop, and then there’s the option to create your own.

Click the icon at the bottom of the Actions panel to create a New Action.

Create a New Photoshop Action

A New Action Pop-Up appears, allowing you to enter details like a custom Name for your action, select the Set (folder) where you want your new action to be stored, and also assign a Function Key (optional) or a Color tag (optional).

Once you have your settings how you like them, hit Record.

New Photoshop Action Settings Pop Up Box

Step 2: Record Your Photoshop New Action

Once you press record, you’ll see the red record icon light up to indicate that you’re indeed recording your action.

Photoshop is now literally watching your every move. So if you create a new layer in the layers panel, for example, that action will be recorded as the first step in your new action.

Photoshop Action Recording

Go ahead and complete the steps necessary to add your watermark to your photo. For me, that was:

  • File > Place Linked and navigate to my custom watermark. Photoshop adds it to a new layer in my Layers Panel
  • Resize the watermark & place it in the bottom corner of my photo
  • Flatten the image so it’s all one layer

After I completed these three steps, I pressed the Stop Icon in the Actions Panel to finish recording the new action.

Stop Recording Photoshop Action

My new action appears in the Action Panel, and you can use the drop-down arrows to display the details and specific steps taken. My new action is saved, and I’ll be able to use it anytime I open Photoshop and go to my Actions Panel.

However, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Since I linked my watermark file in this new action, it will only work as long as Photoshop can find that file again. If I move my original watermark file to a different location, Photoshop won’t be able to see it, and therefore won’t be able to complete the action. You can correct this by relinking the file after you move it.
  • If I try to apply this action to a photo of a different size, or if I use a landscape photo versus a portrait photo, the watermark won’t land in the same place.
  • You can record a lot more steps and processes in your action. For example, I could first resize my photo, then adjust the brightness/contrast, then place my logo watermark, then save the image all in one action.

How to Use Batch Processing in Photoshop

Step 3: Use Automate > Batch to Process Many Photos at Once

Now that I have my new action made, I’m going to apply this watermark to 6 different photos of my dog without ever even opening the images!

Amazing. Let’s see how to do this.

Open Photoshop, and go to File > Automate > Batch

Automate Batch Processing Watermark Photoshop

Step 4: Point to your Source Folder and Destination Folders

Now the Batch Processing Pop-Up has appeared. There’s a lot going on in this menu, but it’s not that complicated. Let’s break it down:

  • Starting on the far left under Play, Choose the Set (folder) where your action lives and then select the action you want to run.
  • Next, click Choose to navigate to your Source Folder.
  • Optional: There are some extra options and settings for how you want Photoshop to handle errors. These will depend on your desired outcome & your files! Most are self-explanatory.
  • Now Choose your Destination Folder. You can save your new files in your same folder or choose a different location.
  • Choose the settings for how you want Photoshop to name your files. You can enter a custom name if you want or leave it as the Document Name. Again, there’s no right or wrong here, it’s just dependent on your goals/preferences.
  • Finally, Click OK.
Automate Batch Pop Up Settings Photoshop

You probably won’t even see anything happen, but depends on your computer. And you’ll probably wonder… did this batch processing even do anything? Did it work?

Step 5: Navigate to your New Files to see the Results of the Batch Process

Go ahead and navigate to the location where you chose to save your photos once they were done processing. As you can see in my screenshot below, the watermark has been applied to all of them.

Success!

batch process results watermark photoshop

Share this Photoshop Tutorial

Did you try this? How did it go?

Make sure to comment if you got stuck anywhere so I can help you troubleshoot. Otherwise, if you enjoyed this tutorial, would you do me a favor?

Pin this image to share this amazing Photoshop tutorial with your friends!

watermark your photos in one click with batch process and photoshop actions

If you’re interested in more Photoshop and Illustrator graphic design tutorials, check these out:


Happy Batching,

Lexie

Riso Print Effect in Photoshop

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through & make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no cost to you.

riso print effect photoshop

Today we are going to create a riso print effect in Adobe Photoshop. This is not to be confused with setting up a file for an actual risograph printer. What we’re doing here today is simply creating the riso effect: artwork that looks like it was printed with a Risograph, only it’s strictly digital.

If you don’t know what a riso print is, I am more than happy to introduce you. It’s basically a graphic designer’s dream come true. Well, it’s mine, anyway.

According to The University of Illinois:

“The Risograph is a stencil duplicator. Think of it as a cross
between screen printing and photocopying. The Riso prints
one color at a time in bright, vibrant colors. It is ideal for
posters, graphic prints, zines, comics, and other graphic arts.”

PDF: https://art.illinois.edu/images/documents/Tutorials/riso_print_guide.pdf

Riso is actually short for Risograph, which is a special kind of printer that prints one color at a time. The ink colors are usually bright & vibrant. And part of the fun is in the overprint – where two colors printed on top of one-another create a third color, like in the photo below:

I just love the overprint vibes, but knockout is cool, too- especially since riso ink is so bright! Which one do you prefer?

I feel like riso printing must have come up at some point in the past 10+ years of graphic designing, but somehow I either A) just discovered it, or B) just rediscovered it 🤔. Actually, I think my college professor had a Risograph. Either way, it’s my current obsession!

Just go do a Pinterest search and get ready to be inspired.

So now that we’re all clear on what a risograph is, let’s create something like this using Adobe Photoshop.

Risograph Effect Step 1: Create Layered Art

Ok, the obvious first step here is that we need to create some artwork for our riso effect. I whipped out the ol’ Procreate App and made this “Just Peachy” Art in a matter of a few minutes.

I feel like it was cheating a bit, because just by using the Artistic > Quoll Brush in Procreate, I was able to create an imperfect-looking, textured work of art. Since quoll isn’t a 100% opaque brush, it’s even got a little bit of the overprint effect going already. But not nearly enough!

Riso Effect Import Procreate Art to Photoshop
Artwork drawn in Procreate App

It’s very easy to export your artwork from Procreate to a Photoshop .PSD file, which is exactly what I did. But the main thing to remember here is to create your art in layers. I can’t emphasize that enough! Layers, layers are your friend.

See how I have 7 wonderful layers in the image below? There’s a layer of pink peaches, a layer of stems for the pink peaches, a layer of orange peaches, a layer of stems for the orange peaches, a layer for the word just, and a layer for the word peachy. Plus a background layer and one extra layer I forgot to delete.

Layered Artwork from Procreate to Photoshop Layers
Composition meh/10

Risograph Effect Step 2: Change Blending Modes

The next obvious step is that you should RENAME YOUR LAYERS, because DUH: that’s graphic design best practice 101.

Oh, and if you’re like me, you remake the composition of your art because you aren’t happy with your original creation. Couldn’t have done it without my layers!

Reorganize the composition in Photoshop with layers

Now that we’ve got our composition, we’re nearly there. The final thing to do is to adjust the blending modes of the layers. This is the real magic.

By default, the blending mode is set to “Normal” for each layer.

You’ll find the Blending Modes Drop Down Menu right inside the layers panel. See it? See the word “Multiply” in the image below? That’s now my blending mode for the “Orange” Layer.

Changing the blending mode to Multiply riso effect Photoshop
Blending Mode: Multiply

The effects are immediately obvious. Now my orange-colored and pink-colored peaches are really popping, and where they overlap, the effect looks a lot like a riso overprint! Don’t you think?

There are a lot of Blending Modes to choose from, and obviously you should cycle through them all just for funsies, but I found that Multiply and Linear Burn gave me an effect most like a risograph print.

Risograph Effect Step 3: More Fun with Blending Modes

Ok, so I was fairly happy with my finished results, but naturally I had to take it one step further.

I added back some stems to my orange-colored peaches and cycled through the blending modes. Subtract turned them pink, and I absolutely love the end result.

Subtract Blending Mode Photoshop Riso Effect
Subtract Blending Mode

I loved it so much I was inspired to do a little bit more and play around with my original composition that had the bright lettering. Nothing really says riso print more than BRIGHT VIBRANT colors.

Riso Effect in Photoshop Results
Riso Effect with Photoshop Blending Modes

I loved these riso effect prints so much I went ahead and threw both of them in my Etsy Shop as Instant Download Printable Wall Art. They are High Quality 11×14″. Grab them here:


So what do you think? Are you going to give this Photoshop riso effect a try? If you do, be sure to tag me @makerlex on Instagram so I can see your creations.

Check out some of my other Graphic Design Tutorials:

If you enjoyed this tutorial, Pin it for later or share it with friends. I would so appreciate it if you do!

riso print effect photoshop makerlex

Happy Risographing,

Maker Lex Signature

Convert Procreate Artwork to Vector with Illustrator

Convert Procreate artwork to vector in illustrator
Learn how to go from Procreate to Illustrator

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through & make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no cost to you.

In today’s blog post, I’m going to teach you how to convert your designs from Procreate into vector graphics using Adobe Illustrator.

If you clicked on this post, I’m sure you already have some motivation for why you want to convert your art to vector format. But if you don’t, here are some super neat things you can do with vector art:

  • Scale it infinitely to any size. Pixels are so last century.
  • Save it as an SVG for vinyl cutting. Such as with your Cricut machine.
  • Use it to create products. Onesies, tumblers, .svg craft files, etc.

By the way, if this is your first time hearing the term vector, then you should check out my blog post Everything You Need to Know About Vector and Raster Graphics as a Designer. I lay it all out in a way that’s easy to understand.

And without further ado, let’s fire up Procreate and Illustrator and get to work.


What You Need to Know Before Converting Your Artwork from Procreate to Vector Format

Before we begin, let’s cover some best practices when converting your artwork from Procreate into vector format with Illustrator.

First of all, artwork that is extremely detailed is never going to perfectly translate as a vector, especially if you’ve included gradient shading or drop shadows or intricate patterns, etc…

For the best results, use simple art work that is high quality resolution and isn’t overly detailed. Line art, or artwork with only a few high-contrast colors is going to render much more easily into vector format.

Technically you can use more detailed art, which I will also show you in this post, but expect to lose a lot of detail and/or be prepared to use your most advanced Illustrator skills to clean it up.

Speaking of which, if you want to learn Illustrator, check out my Free Illustrator Course for Beginners. You’ll find 12 short videos that will guide you through creating (and bonus: animating in Photoshop!) your first vector Illustration.

Step 1 : Save Your Procreate Art for Illustrator

Now that we’ve covered some best practices and adjusted our expectations, the first step in this process is to save your artwork from Procreate to open in Illustrator. All the file-types in Procreate are raster (as opposed to vector) format.

You can either save it as a .PNG or a .JPEG – the choice is yours! In my example, I saved as .png.

Then, transfer your file from your iPad to your computer either through Airdrop or by emailing it to yourself. I’ve chosen this floral letter G that I drew in Procreate- the resolution/quality isn’t stellar.

In Illustrator, choose Open and select your new artwork.

Open your raster artwork file in Illustrator

Step 2: Open Your File in Illustrator

Since Illustrator CC knows I’m opening a .PNG file, it automatically shows me the Image Trace option in the top menu bar.

If you don’t see it go to Window > Image Trace.

Also notice the blue bounding box around your artwork. Because this is a .PNG file, there is nothing editable about this art right now other than the ability to scale it up or down, but it’s also pixel based (aka raster), so the larger you go the lower in quality it will appear.

Our goal here is turn those art lines into editable paths (vector).

Bounding Box on Raster File in Illustrator
Image Trace Option Appears!

Step 3: Make an Image Trace

Image trace is a super-powerful tool in Illustrator. So amazing. And also one of those things you can totally use for evil. If you can’t think of how you would use it for shady practices, then good on you! I’m not going to let my dark-side corrupt you.

But there are a few things to know about Image Trace. Click the arrow next to Image Trace in your top toolbar to see the different options.

Image Trace Options in Illustrator
Image Trace Options

You’ll see a list of preset Image Trace Options such as Default, High Fidelity Photo, Low Fidelity Photo, 3 Colors, and so on…

I can usually get something good with the built-in tracing options, but you can also open the Image Trace Options Panel, (find it under Window > Image Trace) and tinker with the settings to get a custom result. This may be necessary if your image is stubborn, aka low resolution, low contrast, or very detailed.

Window > Image Trace
Image Trace Options Pop-Up Panel

I tried out a few different options on my image, and the best results came from Low Fidelity Photo and 3 Color. In fact, when I chose Black and White Logo, I literally got NOTHING but a white box as the result.

This is just one of those individual things that depends on your artwork, so expect to have to play around. If you don’t like the result, just press Cmd + Z or Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to undo the changes and try again.

The larger and more detailed your image, the longer Image Trace will take. Illustrator will throw you a pop-up warning when that’s the case. My simple artwork only took a few seconds, but your computer speed also plays a role.

I’ve done a lot of Image Traces in my day, and my pro tip is that 3 Colors or 6 Colors works well, especially when you’re working with lower-contrast art.

Here are my Results from using 3 Color Image Trace. Notice how my art is less pixelated now? That’s exactly what you want to see.

3 Color Image Trace Results Illustrator
Result of 3 Color Image Trace

Step 4: Expand and Ungroup the Image Trace

Unfortunately, the initial Image Trace is only half the battle here! We need to do a few more steps to really get the result we’re looking for.

Did you notice how after your Image Trace finished a new option appeared in the top toolbar that says Expand? We need to expand this artwork in order to make adjustments and get rid of the pieces we don’t need.

Click Expand in the top toolbar.

You’ll see the result instantly, like in the image below. Notice how all the artwork is outlined? Cool, cool. That’s what we want.

Expanded Image Trace Illustrator

After you Expand the artwork, right click on it with your Selection Tool (V is the keyboard shortcut) and select Ungroup.

Ungroup your expanded artwork
Right Click and Ungroup the newly Expanded Artwork

Now that the artwork is ungrouped, click once outside of the blue bounding box to deselect everything, then click again in the area where the blue bounding box is to select only that.

What you may not realize is that when we made our Image Trace, Illustrator traced EVERYTHING about our photo, including the white background on our image. But you may not even realize it’s there.

Hit Delete on your keyboard. You won’t notice anything change, but you just deleted the white background of the image. We’re going to further emphasize this point in the next step.

Because spoiler alert: there are even more things we need to get rid of in this artwork! It’s a little tedious, but it’s part of the process.

Step 5: Understanding the Results of Image Trace

Next, Select the Magic Wand Tool from the Toolbar.

Illustrator Magic Wand Tool

I know this image looks like line art, but it isn’t. Inside of the pink, there is white fill in the flowers. To demonstrate this, I will click once with my magic wand tool on anything that’s colored white inside my G.

The magic wand tool selects everything that is white, which you can see in the image below. The blue outlines are all inside the flowers, and the pink parts of my image are not selected.

Selecting colors with magic wand tool in Illustrator

Now let’s do something scary to demonstrate a point. Don’t worry, we’ll undo it.

With all the white parts of our artwork selected, hit Delete on your keyboard. Do you see now what I meant when I said the pink stuff wasn’t really an outline and that there was white fill in my image?

The results of Image Trace

After you do this, hit Cmd + Z or Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to undo the damage and restore our art.

Step 6: Cleaning Up Your Artwork

Now that we understand what results we’re working with, let’s talk about how to proceed next.

I want to mention that not everyone will need to follow these next steps. It really depends on what your end goal is for your artwork. For example, if you are ok with the white fill in the flowers, you can just let it be. You can turn them green or tie-dye if you want. Whatever.

I, however, want my art to be an outline only – no white fill! So how do I accomplish this? I’m going to use the Pathfinder Tool, but I need to get my artwork prepped first.

I use my Magic Wand Tool to select everything white again. After I’ve selected it, I will right click and choose Group.

Now all my white elements are grouped together.

Then I will use the magic wand tool to select all the pink parts of my artwork, and again: right click and choose Group.

Now all my pink elements are also grouped together. You may need to right click on your pink group and select Arrange > Send to Back to send the pink elements behind the white ones again.

Grouping artwork

Step 7: Use the Pathfinder Tool to Minus Front

Good news: we’re nearly there! And again I want to reiterate: this step may be completely optional for you, depending on what your goals are.

I’m going to drag over and select my whole piece: all the pink parts and all the white parts.

Open the Pathfinder Panel. Window > Pathfinder.

Choose the second option under Shape Modes: Minus Front.

Pathfinder Tool: Minus Front Illustrator

What we’ve just done is cut the white part out of the pink part so that all the white fill is gone, resulting in the “outline” art I want.

I’m now realizing this step would’ve been a lot more visually impactful if I’d changed the white fill to another color so you could really see the results, but hindsight is 20/20.

In the image below, I’ve sized my artwork up to demonstrate the scalability of vector formatting, and you’ll notice in the areas where my art extends over my canvas… the white fill is totally gone!

Vector Artwork in Illustrator
Success: no more white fill!

Congrats! Your procreate masterpiece has been converted to vector format by the power of Adobe Illustrator.

I recommend saving your art as an Illustrator .AI file so you can edit it anytime, change the colors, start using it for graphics, and all that jazz..

Recoloring vector art in Illustrator

Don’t forget – if you really want to be a pro graphic designer, read my full post on Vector Graphics to understand the different vector file type extensions.

Try Image Trace on Detailed Artwork

I mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial that I would show you an example of how to do this with more detailed artwork.

I created a bunch of Harry Potter art in Procreate and saved it as a JPEG file. As you can see, some of the illustrations are detailed and others are more simple. I would argue that even though there are visually a lot of colors, each individual piece has only a few colors, and for the most part: high contrast.

Harry Potter Art made in Procreate
Harry Potter artwork made in Procreate

So let’s try converting it to vector format! I’m following the same exact steps as listed above.

The only difference is that I went with High Fidelity Photo as my Image Trace option.

This is one of those instances where Illustrator warned me this could take awhile since the file is so large, but then it only took 10 seconds. I freaking love my Macbook Pro.

Image Trace Render Illustrator

*Drum Roll Please*

Here are the results!

Image trace results Illustrator

I used Illustrator’s selection tool and also the lasso tool to select each little picture and group it together, so that’s why they’re all moved around in the results image. But more importantly: I think they turned out great!

I showed you this so that you could see it’s possible, but I will say- depending on how I plan to use these files, they could potentially need a LOT of work to clean up.

And really- I’m not sure I need most of these as vector files!

Also, when I scaled them up in size, I noticed that I lost quite a bit of detail, specifically on the Hogwarts Express Ticket. I know you can’t really tell because you weren’t as up-close and personal with this art as I was, but trust me: the loss of detail is real.

Scaled Vector Graphics after Image Trace

This has been a LOT of information about converting your procreate art into vector format with Illustrator, but I hope you found it helpful.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to comment below so I can answer them.

Otherwise, would you share this post with your friends by pinning the image below? It would mean so much to me!

Convert Procreate Artwork to Vector

Happy vectoring,

Lexie

Making Custom Patterns in Adobe Illustrator: Complete Beginner’s Guide

making patterns in illustrator tutorial

This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through & make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no cost to you.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to create your own custom patterns in Adobe Illustrator.

Lately I’ve been in such a mood for tie-dye gradients and funky looking graphics inspired by Lisa Frank. I think this inspiration came while I was making the hero image for my Wavy Type Tutorial, and I realized how awesome pattern swatches are!

Why do I love to make custom patterns in Illustrator?

There are a few reasons.

  1. Patterns are great for adding texture and style to your graphics and illustrations. Here’s a tutorial where I created a hatch mark pattern to make a special drop shadow for my text.
  2. You can save patterns as swatches to be used over and over again, which significantly speeds up workflow.
  3. Patterns are easy to edit and scale according to your design needs.

So let’s jump right in. Go ahead and fire up Illustrator and get ready to make some truly one-of-a-kind patterns.

Step 1: Object > Pattern > Make

object > pattern > make in illustrator

As always, you can make your new Illustrator canvas any size according to your needs. I believe mine is 800x800px, RGB color mode, and 72ppi.

To create a new custom pattern, go to Object > Pattern > Make

A box might pop up with some warning about live elements and editing and blah, blah blah. Just click OK and get on with life.

make a new pattern in illustrator

You have now entered into pattern making mode. Of course, I doubt that’s the official name, but that’s what I call it. You can see in the image above that the Pattern Options Panel has appeared. Also notice the blue bounding box on your canvas and the menu bar near the top of your screen where you can make a copy of your pattern or exit pattern making mode.

Take a moment to explore the Pattern Options Panel. Most of the options are self-explanatory. Go ahead and give your pattern a new name, and feel free to change the Tile Type, Width, and Height. Don’t stress too much over the settings. You can copy mine from the image above.

The important thing to remember when exploring design software like Adobe Illustrator is that (usually) nothing is permanent, mistakes can be fixed, adjustments can be made, and the best way to learn is to screw it all up.

If you’re completely new to Illustrator, be sure to check out my Free Beginner Illustrator Course where you can learn all the basics through easy video tutorials.

Step 2: Start Filling Up the Pattern Bounding Box with Your Custom Design

I decided to make a simple pattern inspired by high fashion. Fouis Fuitton, if you will. I used the Type Tool, The Ellipse & Rectangle Tools, and Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat to achieve these results.

I’m going to be giving away some awesome free patterns in this post, so keep scrolling for those. I think you’ll like them. Although I decided not to include the faux louis pattern – I don’t want to be sued!

Raise your hand if every popular girl at your Middle School had a small Louis Vuitton handbag in that rainbow monogram pattern. 🙋‍♀️ Coulda been legit, mighta come from Canal Street. We couldn’t tell. And no, if you’re wondering: I was not popular.

creating a new pattern in illustrator

Obviously, you should make something that inspires you. Whip out the tablet & stylus, the brush tool, anything you want. Let your creativity shine! Cheetah, leopard, and honeycomb patterns come to mind as ones you could get a ton of use out of.

leopard pattern illustrator

Notice how Illustrator automatically lets me preview my pattern as I create it? This is thanks to the Copies Option in your Pattern Options Panel. Mine is set to 5×5, and you can also increase or lower the opacity of the copies.

Here are 4 fun custom patterns I created:

custom patterns illustrator

If you want to grab ALL 4 patterns seen in the above photo COMPLETELY FREE for personal use, head to my Free Resource Library now:

Once you’re happy with the pattern, go ahead and click Done. The new pattern will appear automatically in your Swatches Panel. If you don’t see the Swatches, go to Window > Swatches.

Step 3: Fill Shapes with Your Custom Pattern

As you’ll notice in the image below, I dragged out an ellipse and filled it with my new Faux Louis pattern from the swatches panel.

using your new pattern in illustrator

Nice! And if you decide you want to make changes to your pattern, you can simply double click on the pattern swatch to re-enter Pattern Making Mode. You can also make a copy of your pattern if you want to make changes but keep the original intact.

You might also be wondering… what happens if I want to make the pattern bigger or smaller inside of my shape?

Step 4 : Scale Your Pattern

As you’ll notice in the image below, my pattern doesn’t really “shine” inside of this star, because it’s too big.

Here’s how to scale it:

Select your shape with the pattern fill and right click. Select Transform > Scale.

filling custom shapes with your pattern in illustrator

In the Scale Options box, uncheck all options except for Transform Patterns.

Make sure Uniform is selected under Scale, and type in a new percentage. I went with 30% for my star shape. Select Preview so you can see the changes and make any adjustments before you press OK.

scale patterns in illustrator

Step 5: Make Your Pattern More Interesting

So far we’ve looked at exactly how to create a custom pattern in Illustrator and how to apply it to your designs, but the examples have been very simple.

So how can we elevate our design skills? Here’s something I personally love to do with patterns (and really all the things in Illustrator): Play with the Blending Mode!

appearance, transparency, and blending modes in illustrator

In the image above, I’ve simply created a colorful gradient background and put a rectangle on top that’s filled with my Faux Louis pattern. On the Left, I’ve left the Blending Mode as Default, which is “Normal”. On the right, I’ve opened up my Appearance Panel (Window > Appearance), clicked on Opacity, and then changed the Blending mode from Normal to Color.

And wow! So simple to do, but looks really fancy. At least I think so.

Step 6: Illustrator’s Built In Patterns

I don’t want to end this tutorial before I mention that Illustrator does come with some built-in patterns. Most of them are absolutely hideous (sorry not sorry).

built-in patterns illustrator

If you want to explore the built-in patterns, Click the Swatch Libraries menu icon at the bottom left of the Swatches Panel and hover over Patterns. You can scroll through the various options.

And truth be told, the Basic Graphics such as Dots and Lines are actually really good. I love to use them to create retro-looking artwork.

Step 7: Save Your New Custom Pattern

saving pattern swatches in illustrator

The last thing you’re going to want to do is Save your New Pattern Swatch so you can use it again and again forevermore. Click on the Swatch Libraries menu icon at the bottom left of the Swatches Panel and select Save Swatches. Then follow the on-screen prompts to save your Swatch Panel.

Next time you want to use your pattern, you can access your saved swatches through the Swatch Libraries menu > User Defined.

And that’s all there is to it. Now go forth & design some custom patterns!


Don’t forget! All 4 Patterns including the vector leopard print are available to download as an Adobe Illustrator File and are Completely FREE for Personal Use. Head to my Free Resource Library to grab them.

If you enjoyed this tutorial and decide to create your own pattern, be sure to tag me @makerlex on Instagram. I absolutely love to see your creations.

And if you have any questions, be sure to comment below so I can answer them.

You can also pin this image to save the Custom Illustrator Pattern Tutorial for later, or to share it with friends (which I would totally appreciate!).

custom patterns in illustrator

Hoping you get the Louis Vuitton bag of your dreams,

Maker Lex Signature

Hand Lettering in Adobe Illustrator: Complete Beginner’s Guide

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through & make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Good news! If you want to learn how to hand letter, the barrier to entry has never been lower.

Honestly, I attribute this to the creation of the Apple Pencil and the ever-popular Procreate App for iPad. I’ve been a faithful user of the Adobe Creative Suite for more than 10 years now, but even I have to admit: apple pencil + procreate = unparalleled combination.. if you want to letter and potentially sell your digital creations, that is.


And honestly, you don’t need any fancy courses to learn how to hand letter. If you want to jumpstart your new lettering hobby, check out my completely Free Hand Lettering Guides.


However, I can totally sympathize with those of us who have invested in Adobe for all these years and either on principle of the matter, or for lack of funds currently, don’t have an iPad that supports Apple Pencil, much less an Apple Pencil at all. Ok, actually I’m just going to empathize with you, because I actually do have both of those things now.

HOWEVER.

At one time I didn’t, and so figuring out how to hand letter in Adobe Illustrator was my only means of creating digital lettering. (Apart from lettering with a real ink pen + paper, then doing an image trace in Illustrator – should I make a tutorial on that?! Comment below if you’re curious.)

Therefore, today I’m going to tell you exactly what tools you need to get started hand lettering in Adobe Illustrator and then show you exactly how to do it.



Tools for Hand Lettering in Adobe Illustrator

So here are the items you’re going to need to letter in Illustrator if you don’t have them already:

If any of you reading this were thinking of arguing that you want to letter with your mouse or your finger & the track-pad on your laptop – just, no.

First of all, I personally possess excellent dexterity when it comes to drawing with a mouse, but even with my superior skills, there’s no way in Hades it will ever pass as art. (Hopefully you catch the sarcasm here 😉) .

Adobe Illustrator Software

As you know, everything’s a subscription service these days, including Adobe Illustrator. The con is that you pay monthly, but the pro is that you have the latest, greatest updates in the software at all times. And I have to admit, there are some incredible innovations in the software that my old CS6 version of Illustrator just can’t stand up to.

That said, this tutorial does work with Illustrator CS6, and I’m assuming with even older versions than that. As long as you have the ability to create a new brush that is pressure sensitive, and partly that option will come through your tablet/stylus.

Which leads me to my next point…

Digital Drawing Tablet

You will need a drawing tablet for this tutorial. There are a lot of them out there, but I personally own and use this Huion Tablet.

It’s $40, so it won’t break the bank, it has the bells & whistles you need for lettering, most importantly: a stylus with a pressure-sensitive tip.

Seriously – don’t go blow $300 on a tablet – unless you’re a professionally trained fine artist. I’m definitely not!

How to Hand Letter in Adobe Illustrator

Now that we have the supplies out of the way, let’s talk about how to actually letter in Illustrator.

Step 1: Set up a Comfortable Work Space

how not to set up your work space
Peep my magazine mouse-pad

I know setting up a comfortable working space may seem obvious, but I always have to learn the most simple of lessons the hard way. So if it isn’t obvious: don’t set up the way I did in the above photo!

I’m serious. The key to success here is to set up on a tabletop or desk where you have plenty of room to spread out and attach all of your USBs to connect your tablet and pen to your computer.

Step 2: Connect Your Tablet & Make Sure Your Computer is Detecting It

When you buy your tablet, you’ll have to download some software to make sure your computer can see it. I won’t go into all the setup details – those instructions should be included in the box when setting up your tablet for the first time.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve used your tablet and your computer isn’t “seeing” it, make sure you have the latest software installed.

If everything is working correctly, using your tablet should be as simple as plug & go, but sometimes mine likes to troll me.

This article explains how to troubleshoot. If you’re using a different tablet than the Huion, check your manufacturer’s website for help.

Yay! Device Connected

Step 3: Create a New Illustrator Canvas for Lettering

Now that you have your tablet and stylus connected, go ahead and create a new Illustrator canvas to work in. The canvas settings are up to you, but I went with these settings:

  • 1000px x 700px
  • 72ppi
  • Color Mode: RGB

A quick tip about Illustrator canvas settings: If you’re creating for print, then you want to choose a higher resolution, like 144 – 300 ppi, and you want to use CMYK for the color mode. If you’re creating something strictly for digital use, 72ppi (screen resolution) and RGB color mode are the correct settings.

Step 4: Create a New Brush in Illustrator

Once you have your new canvas in Illustrator, it’s time to make our hand lettering brush. To do this, first go to Window > Brushes to open the Brushes panel (if it isn’t open already).

At the bottom of the Brushes panel, click the icon with a plus sign inside a rectangle to Create a New Brush, then select Calligraphic Brush, and click OK.

The next box that appears is the Calligraphic Brush Options. This is where you get to completely customize your lettering brush.

You can give your brush a custom name, adjust the angle, the roundness, and the size according to your own preferences. Don’t sweat these settings too much, just go with what looks good for now. I’ll show you how to easily re-adjust your settings in the next step.

Once you click OK, your new custom brush will appear in the Brush Panel.

As you can see, I chose a -24° angle, 87% roundness, and 14pt size. But here’s the MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Select Pressure from the Drop-Down Menu next to the Size Settings and Adjust the Variation. I started with 5pt Variation and worked upwards, as you’ll see in a moment.

Good hand lettering, especially the calligraphic variety, is dependent on the ability to control the pressure of your up and down strokes. In fact, it takes a lot of practice to master. If you want to understand this topic better, I urge you. Yes, URGE YOU – to check out my blog post all about hand lettering.

I quickly wrote out the word “hello,” but the variation between my up and down strokes wasn’t enough for my liking.

If at any time you want to adjust your brush settings, simply double click on your new custom brush icon in the Brushes Panel and make adjustments. I increased from 5pt Pressure variation to 8pt, and then up to 11pt.

Step 5: Practice, Practice, Practice Your Hand Lettering Strokes

Now all that’s left to do is to practice.

Hand lettering isn’t easy, so don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect on the first try! Part of the beauty of digital art is that it’s easy to erase and start over.

Fail fast, recover fast! And always try, try again!

Learning how to apply light pressure on the up-strokes of letters and heavier pressure on the down-strokes of letters takes a lot of time and patience to master.

You can easily see the difference between the up and down stroke variation in the image below:

practice stroke pressure

And that’s really all there is to it!

Don’t forget to check out my hand lettering post to download free guides that will make your practice so much easier.

Using this method of hand lettering in Illustrator, I created all of these artworks & more:

Free Hand Lettered Vector Illustrator Files
Available for Download in my Graphics & Printables Resource Library

For more Adobe Illustrator Tutorials, check out these:


And to access ALL THE LETTERING FREEBIES, Join my Mailing List:


If you enjoyed this tutorial, don’t forget to tag me @makerlex on Instagram, or send me a message to show off your new skills!

Pin the image below to save this tutorial for later or to share with friends. I would totally appreciate it if you would!

how to hand lettering in illustrator tutorial

Happy Lettering!

Maker Lex Signature

Make Your Own Instagram Stickers : 2 Easy Ways

make your own instagram stickers

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through & make a purchase through one of the links, I earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Let me tell you about one of my biggest flaws as a human being.

I have this ridiculous need to be original all the time. Can any fellow INTPs/Enneagram 5s relate? 🙋

On the surface being original sounds like a good thing. But really the need comes from a desire to be *unique* and *special* and *cool* and *likeable*.. and.. *worthy of love*?.. Hah! Never mind, we’re not going that deep. This is a graphic design blog. 😅

But seriously. I find it to be one of my most obnoxious qualities. Mostly because it makes things so much harder than they should ever be! 😠

Anyway, originality is my motivation for many things in life, and I don’t think I’d be a designer at all if I didn’t feel that on some deeper level. But for today’s blog post- it explains why I need to know how to create my own stickers for Instagram.

You do, too? Great! You’re in the right place.

Nothing screams original like custom stickers *that no one else will have* on your Instagram stories. #amiright!?

So here’s the deal. I’m going to show you two ways to create your own stickers for Instagram today. You can use:

  1. Adobe Illustrator – Free Trial available, Student Discounts, most powerful, and my favorite.
  2. Procreate – $10 for iPad, but you need an Apple Pencil for best results.

No matter which one of these softwares you use, the superpower here is the ability to convert an image to a .PNG file.

PNG stands for portable network graphic, but you don’t really need a dissertation on file types. PNG is convenient simply because it doesn’t have a background.

Have you ever tried to copy/paste a graphic you found online only to discover a horrifying black or white bounding box? That’s because you most likely tried to paste a JPEG, my friend. But no worries – after today you’ll never make that rookie mistake again.

1. Make Instagram Stickers in Adobe Illustrator

Just to quickly reiterate: Adobe Illustrator isn’t free, but it’s easily the most powerful software on this list, and well worth learning if you have any interest in a career in graphic design and/or creating digital art.

In fact, I have an entire FREE Illustrator Course for Beginners if you want to learn it.

In this example, I’m using some hand-lettered artwork I created in Illustrator to demonstrate. You can actually grab this file as part of a larger set of Free Hand-Lettered Graphics by signing up for my Free Resource Library.

Step 1 – Create Your Sticker Art in Illustrator

I used a tablet to hand-letter the word “thankful” in Illustrator, and then I applied a leopard-pattern to make it more unique.

Step 2 – Export Your Artwork as .PNG

In order to save your artwork as a .PNG file with a transparent background in Illustrator, you must go to File > Export > Export As. Then choose PNG from the Format drop-down menu. Save your file somewhere you can navigate back to.

Bonus: For more control over the final quality/file size, you can choose File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy)…

Step 3 – Send Your New Sticker to Your Phone

If you have all Apple products, you’ll definitely want to use handy-dandy Airdrop to send the new .PNG file from your computer to your phone. Since I don’t have an Android, I have no idea if there is an equivalent option for non-iPhone users.

BUT – here’s my old-fashioned method: e-mail the file to yourself and then open the email on your phone to download the attachment/save to your Photos!

Step 4 – Copy & Paste the Sticker to Instagram

Now that the sticker is in your phone Photos, open up Instagram and make your new story. Once you’ve done that, navigate back to your Photos and copy your new sticker. All that’s left to do is paste it to Instagram!

Instagram knows what we’re up to here. It will automatically suggest the picture for you to paste. But if you somehow screw it up, don’t worry. You can also paste the image by adding text on top of your image and selecting “Paste”.

Meet my precious fur child, Gigi 🐩

2. Make Instagram Stickers in Procreate

Procreate is an app created specifically to work with iPad/Apple Pencil, and it can be yours for the one time fee of $10. I think that’s a worthy investment, and it’s a staple for hand-letterers who want to make digital art.

And best of all, we can easily export our Procreate art as a .PNG file.

Step 1 – Create your Custom Sticker in Procreate

Go ahead and create some custom artwork in Procreate. I made a Slytherin crest because.. obviously I need one.

Step 2 – Export your Sticker to PNG

The most critical step with Procreate is to make sure you turn the Background Layer OFF before Exporting as a PNG.

Step 3 – Send the Sticker to your Phone

Apple just makes sharing files between devices so easy. Whatever I save to my iPad automatically gets saved to Photos on my iPhone because of the Cloud, but there are many sharing options to get the job done.

Remember: my old-fashioned method is to email it to yourself and open it on your phone, then save to your photo library.

Step 4 – Copy & Paste the Sticker to Instagram

The last step is to copy the file and paste it into Instagram. This time I’m showing the version of copy/pasting through text.

Gigi wasn’t thrilled because she is actually a Hufflepuff 🐩

And there you have it – custom stickers for Instagram. Let me know if you give this a try, and tag me @makerlex on Instagram so I can see!

Also feel free to pin this image so you can come back to this tutorial later, or share it with friends (which I would totally appreciate!)

make your own instagram stickers

If you need some ideas for what to create as your custom Instagram sticker, why not check out one of my Illustrator Tutorials?

Happy Sticker-making!

Maker Lex Signature

Wavy Psychedelic Text Design – Adobe Illustrator Type Tutorial

groovy baby wavy text
Totally Groovy Lisa Frank Vibes

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through & make a purchase, I earn a commission at no cost to you.

I think there’s an unwritten rule for all graphic designers: you must be a self-proclaimed type fanatic.

It’s the equivalent of having a Myspace profile circa 2005 where your top Interest was something like… “Music is my Lyf3”. And rightly so. You weren’t allowed on Myspace if music wasn’t your religion.

Sometimes I write these things and then wonder if Google’s algorithm can detect sarcasm? And what does that mean for me?

Anyway.

You love type, you study fonts, you pace your breath by the kerning of individual characters. You die upon the altar of a typeface that’s been sacrificed to stretching and warping by some plebeian with a pirated copy of Photoshop CS2.

And that’s why you’re here for today’s Adobe Illustrator type tutorial in which I’m going to show you how to create some trendy, psychedelic, wavy text styles.

Ya know, to make your next design… POP!

So fire up Illustrator and let’s get groovy.

Wavy Text Option 1: Twisted Type

As a reference, I created a new canvas in Illustrator at 800 x 800px and 72dpi (screen resolution) for absolutely no other reason than it being the size I use for thumbnails on this blog. Make your canvas whatever size you like, and use a higher DPI if you intend to use this design in print.

I applied a groovy looking gradient tie-dye background just to make this more visually interesting for you, and I’ve typed out the word GROOVY in the font Oswald, which is my current favorite. It’s a google web font that I downloaded through Adobe Fonts with my Creative Cloud subscription.


If you’re interested in accessing graphic design programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, click the link below and start a Free 7 Day Trial (they alsos offer serious Student Discounts). Trust me- it’s worth it!


Now, here’s the first way to make wavy text in Illustrator.

Once you’ve typed out a word or phrase or your choice of text, head up to Effect > Distort & Transform > Twist.

Use the up and down arrows to adjust the angle for different results. Oh, and this might go without saying, but pro tip: if there is a Preview box, always check it so you can see what’s up before you commit to your settings.

Below are some examples of different angles I’ve tried. Usually less is more, but that’s completely up to you! Lean to the right by using positive angles. Lean to the left with negative. Make your text hard to read by surpassing 100° angles in either direction.

Wavy Text Option 2: Warped Type

So the twisted look is cool, but what if you want each letter of your type to appear wavy versus the whole word/phrase? Enter Warp.

There are tons of options in the Warp Options Panel that will work to create the desired wavy text effect. To access it go to Effect > Warp > Flag, Rise, Wave, or Twist.

Just choose one; you can easily cycle through all the warp styles in the pop-up options by selecting them from the Style drop down menu. I prefer flag, rise, wave, and twist, but I encourage you to try them all on for size.

You can play around with the bend angle as well as the horizontal and vertical distortion for some truly out-there styles.

Here’s some of what I created:

I think flag and rise are my two favorites. What do you think? Comment below with your primo wavy text settings.


Did you find this tutorial helpful? Feel free to leave some feedback and/or constructive criticism (which I can *totally* handle). Otherwise, let me know if there’s something you’re just dying to learn how to do in Illustrator.

In the meantime, check out some of my other graphic design tutorials:

You can also pin this image to save this tutorial for later, or to share it with friends. (Which I would totally appreciate!)

wavy text tutorial adobe illustrator

To my fellow type-fanatics: Peace out,

Lexie

Vector Watermelon Illustration – Adobe Illustrator Tutorial

vector watermelon illustration tutorial

As July ends and the dog days of August approach, nothing feels more appropriate than a slice of ice cold watermelon to break up the summer heat.

However. Truth be told, I don’t really like watermelon much, but I needed a segue into this Adobe Illustrator tutorial. And as we transition to the next paragraph, let me throw a few more words out there: covid-19, quarantine, virtual watermelon.

That’s right, there’s a global pandemic, people. So obviously we are connecting today over virtual watermelon, not over actual fruit shared at our neighborhood backyard bbq. And also because this is a graphic design blog.

By the way- don’t you get so annoyed when you click on a recipe blog to get a recipe and then have to read eighteen paragraphs about the blogger’s kitchen renovation before you can find out how to make the freaking chicken artichoke zoodle recipe? I *swear* that very specific situation didn’t happen to me today. But this blog post is totally turning into that. Wonder why bloggers do that? It’s because Google likes long-from content, my friends. And there’s only so much you can say about chicken artichoke zoodles.

Anyway, I can do better than that. This vector watermelon illustration tutorial might actually come in handy when you want to create fan art for Harry Styles’ new single Watermelon Sugar. That’s something I can totally see myself doing. I should host a contest on behalf of Harry for who can create the best concert poster based on Watermelon Sugar. Sign up for my email list if you’d be interested in that.

And now, let’s get down to business!

Today I’m showing you how to make a vector watermelon illustration in Adobe Illustrator. The significance of vector, you ask? Check out this blog post if you want to learn more about it. Otherwise, no worries. Fire up Illustrator, and let’s get started.

Step 1: Make a Diamond Shape

You can make your new Illustrator canvas any size you’d like. In the spirit of creating images for this blog, and for reference: mine is 800 x 800px and 72dpi.

Grab your rectangle tool from the toolbar and hold down the shift key while you drag out a perfect square. As you can see in my example below, I have a sweet watermelon-esque color gradient going, but you fill yours with whatever color you want. A blue watermelon? Sounds delicious.

Rotate your square 45° to make it a diamond. Again, holding down the shift key while you do this will get you the perfect 45° angle.

step 1 watermelon vector illustration

Step 2: Direct Select the Bottom Point

The next step in creating our watermelon is to get that nice rounded rind at the bottom of our wedge. To do this, use the direct selection tool. You can also bring it up by pressing A on your keyboard.

Select the bottom point and instantly a little white circle with a blue dot appears in the corner of the point. Hold down on that little point and drag it all the way up to round out the bottom of our diamond shape.

step 2 watermelon vector illustration

Step 3 Create the rind with the Pathfinder Tool

Now we have the basic shape of the watermelon wedge. This shape is going to be our “meat” of the watermelon, if you will. And we’re going to make an extra piece to be our watermelon rind.

If you still have your direct selection tool selected, make sure you switch back to the regular selection tool by pressing V on the keyboard.

Duplicate the watermelon wedge by pressing Ctrl + C (PC) or Command + C (Mac), and then press Ctrl + V or Cmd + V twice to paste two copies onto the canvas. Drag one of the watermelons off the to the side so it’s out of the way.. we’ll come back to it in a minute.

step 3 watermelon vector illustration

Now we’re going to break out the Pathfinder Tool. This tool is crucial to creating and manipulating basic shapes in Illustrator. Your pathfinder tool may already be open on the right-hand side of your screen, but if you don’t see it, head up to Window > Pathfinder.

Let’s rubber band select our two watermelon shapes. This simply means drag your mouse over both shapes to select them both at the same time. In the top panel of Illustrator, click the proper icons to align these two shapes both horizontally and vertically center. If you don’t have the align panel, you can open it from Window > Align.

The two shapes are now one on top of the other. Click your mouse off to the side to deselect the shapes. Then click once on the shapes. Now you have just the top shape selected. Hold down shift and drag this shape up to reveal the bottom of the shape underneath. Drag it up until you have a height that you like for the watermelon rind.

I’ve changed the colors in my example to help illustrate this step better.

step 4 watermelon vector illustration

The next step is to drag over both shapes with your selection tool to select both shapes. Then in your Pathfinder Panel, click on the second option under Shape Modes, which is Minus Front.

step 5 watermelon vector illustration

The result should be that you have just the rind leftover.

I took this a step further and created another sliver of a rind to add more detail to my watermelon, but this step is optional. This time, I used the third option in my Pathfinder Panel, Intersect to cut out the little lighter-colored part of the rind that’s closer to the “meat”.

step 6 watermelon vector illustration

Step 4: Assemble Your Melon

The final step is to assemble all the pieces together. Remember that original melon piece we moved off the to the side? Let’s bring him back onto our canvas and position our new rind pieces on top.

Your smart guides should allow you to line everything up pretty easily, but you can also make use of the align panel if necessary.

Finally, choose some new colors for your pieces. You can get fancy with gradients or keep it flat.

step 7 watermelon vector illustration

At this point, we have a seedless watermelon, which is totally the watermelon we all prefer. But if you want to be extra, add some seeds for additional detail. The difference between good and great is always in the details!

Step 5: Add Detail – Watermelon Seeds!

I’m not going to fully demonstrate how I created these seeds, because I used the same exact technique I used to create my easiest water drop ever. So head to that blog post if you want to know how.

Ironically, you can probably figure it out based on the steps we used in this tutorial to create our watermelon wedge. Hint: use a triangle (3 sides with the polygon tool) instead of a square.

step 8 watermelon vector illustration

& Voila! I hope you enjoyed this watermelon illustration tutorial. If you did, I have a feeling you might enjoy some of my other Illustrator Tutorials, like:

I also have a completely FREE ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR COURSE that’s perfect for beginners wanting to get started with graphic design.

Don’t forget to pin this image so you can come back to this tutorial later!

vector watermelon illustration infographic

If you have any questions about this tutorial, be sure to leave a comment below so I can help you out! Or just let me know what you’d like me to make next.

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