Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Deke's Techniques
Illustration by John Hersey

Deke's Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: 346 Hand-drawing custom-made letters in Illustrator

- Hey gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week, I'm gonna show you how to create some hand-drawn custom-made letters inside of Adobe Illustrator. So the idea is that I want to create the words, "Fire Up", for this piece of artwork right here. I've already gone ahead and sketched the letters in advance, using a pen, as you can see here, and then I scanned it in. And now what we're gonna do is we're gonna trace those letters inside of Illustrator, and we're gonna do so in a way that ensures that all of the letters are nice and uniform so that they look like they go together, the F, and the I, and the R and the E, they're all compatible.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 42m 49s
    1. 346 Hand-drawing custom-made letters in Illustrator
      19m 33s
    2. 347 Drawing letters with curves and holes
      15m 56s
    3. 348 Enhancing your hand-drawn text in Photoshop
      7m 20s
  2. 12h 33m
    1. 282 Ringing in the New Year with dynamic effects in Illustrator
      12m 59s
    2. 283 Dynamically transforming fills and strokes
      13m 41s
    3. 284 Tracing an avatar from a photograph in Photoshop
      12m 24s
    4. 285 Drawing a vector-based avatar in Illustrator
      19m 44s
    5. 286 Coloring and shading your avatar
      16m 0s
    6. 287 Exporting an illustration as a universally supported PNG file
      10m 54s
    7. 288 Upsampling a layered composition with great results
      13m 43s
    8. 289 Rebuilding a pattern at a higher resolution
      7m 29s
    9. 290 Painting happy little trees
      13m 46s
    10. 291 Shading and lighting the happy forest
      15m 15s
    11. 292 Enlarging a low-res photograph in Photoshop
      12m 20s
    12. 293 Enlarging a photo by tracing it in Illustrator
      13m 10s
    13. 294 Mastering Exposure in Camera Raw
      11m 40s
    14. 295 Super smooth and unflinchingly sharp
      10m 46s
    15. 296 Deleting an inadvertent photo bomber
      8m 13s
    16. 297 Correcting a distorted panorama
      17m 23s
    17. 298 Rebuilding bad stitching in a panorama
      14m 53s
    18. 299 Nondestructive dodge and burn
      8m 54s
    19. 300 Blending a shadow into any background
      8m 37s
    20. 301 Saving a PNG image with a translucent shadow
      8m 45s
    21. 302 Cleaning up a smart phone photo
      11m 17s
    22. 303 Using Photoshop 1.0
      5m 45s
    23. 304 Creating your own Chinese seal (or chop)
      26m 4s
    24. 305 Simulating hand lettering with art brushes
      20m 8s
    25. 306 Adding texture to your hand stamp
      3m 34s
    26. 307 Creating a black chop on red paper
      5m 55s
    27. 308 Auto-hiding iconic panels in Photoshop
      3m 44s
    28. 309 Creating a custom toolbox in Illustrator CC
      4m 21s
    29. 310 Creating the perfect passport photo
      20m 18s
    30. 311 Retouching your passport photo
      13m 38s
    31. 312 Turning a photo into a giant mural
      13m 11s
    32. 313 Enhancing the reality of your mural
      11m 8s
    33. 314 Creating a 3D bump map
      12m 7s
    34. 315 UV overlay and 3D bump paint
      14m 4s
    35. 316 Using Lens Flare for good (not evil)
      10m 48s
    36. 317 Using the Perspective Crop tool
      9m 29s
    37. 318 Reducing real-world camera shake
      10m 4s
    38. 319 Reducing glare in a photograph
      15m 25s
    39. 320 Restoring repeating details
      13m 43s
    40. 321 Integrating a detail captured with a phone
      9m 6s
    41. 322 Blending two exposures of a single scene
      12m 25s
    42. 323 Masking mountains away from sky
      14m 22s
    43. 324 Creating a photographic caricature in Photoshop
      10m 7s
    44. 325 Exaggerating facial features with Liquify
      12m 48s
    45. 326 Masking a caricature against a new background
      11m 20s
    46. 327 Shading and sharpening a caricature
      10m 6s
    47. 328 Drawing a Möbius strip in Illustrator
      12m 21s
    48. 329 Shading the Möbius strip with gradients
      9m 0s
    49. 330 Adding twisting edges to the Möbius strip
      8m 9s
    50. 331 Creating an impossible Penrose triangle
      10m 37s
    51. 332 Shading the cubes in your Penrose triangle
      8m 15s
    52. 333 Selectively converting a photo to black & white
      7m 53s
    53. 334 Straightening and “uncropping” a photo
      16m 17s
    54. 335 Restoring a missing photograph detail
      11m 26s
    55. 336 Drawing a hand (clenched in a fist)
      11m 44s
    56. 337 Cleaning up a sketch captured with a phone
      6m 17s
    57. 338 Four hands united in brotherhood, solidarity, and teamwork
      12m 24s
    58. 339 Swapping out colors in existing gradients in Illustrator
      4m 37s
    59. 340 Select > Focus Area and the pseudo engraving effect
      12m 26s
    60. 341 Integrating 3D art into a 2D scene in Photoshop
      13m 41s
    61. 342 Creating a 3D shark in Photoshop
      11m 16s
    62. 343 Creating a 3D doughnut in Illustrator
      15m 23s
    63. 344 Creating a golden 3D ring in Illustrator
      10m 21s
    64. 345 Mapping Elven runes (or text) onto a 3D ring
      15m 57s
  3. 17h 21m
    1. 185 Creating a custom 2013 calendar in Illustrator
      11m 44s
    2. 186 Adding dates to a calendar using tables
      9m 50s
    3. 187 Branding your calendar with a field of logos
      10m 54s
    4. 188 Crafting an Infinity symbol to match a specific font
      12m 6s
    5. 189 Op art experiment 1a: Inflated checkers
      10m 49s
    6. 190 Op art experiment 1b: Rounded windows
      6m 39s
    7. 191 Building a universal ISOTYPE man with strokes
      15m 6s
    8. 192 Building a universal ISOTYPE woman with strokes
      11m 7s
    9. 193 Drawing an ISOTYPE couple in love
      12m 55s
    10. 194 Creating a Warhol-style silkscreen effect
      14m 43s
    11. 195 Creating a series of Warhol-style variations
      10m 43s
    12. 196 Adding Warhol-style background variations
      8m 20s
    13. 197 Creating opaque colored shadows
      5m 20s
    14. 198 Assembling multiple variations into a single comp
      5m 9s
    15. 199 Creating a pattern of unique inset circles
      9m 55s
    16. 200 Changing a static blended color scheme
      7m 16s
    17. 201 Op art experiment 2a: Undulating pattern
      20m 26s
    18. 202 Op art experiment 2b: Concentric rings
      9m 43s
    19. 203 Developing a dramatic castle in Camera Raw
      13m 21s
    20. 204 Artificially coloring a photo in Camera Raw
      9m 38s
    21. 205 Creating an antique photo effect in Camera Raw
      7m 53s
    22. 206 Adding a weathered old-photo frame effect
      12m 0s
    23. 207 Drawing an Angry Birds-like character
      16m 59s
    24. 208 Stroking an entire layer in Illustrator
      9m 21s
    25. 209 Drawing a classic snarling cartoon face
      11m 10s
    26. 210 Drawing a radiant, cheerful cartoon background
      18m 29s
    27. 211 Stroking any kind of type in Illustrator
      5m 0s
    28. 212 Creating synthetic water droplets
      9m 29s
    29. 213 Simulating liquid reflections with effect
      5m 19s
    30. 214 Simulating liquid refractions with a dmap
      5m 30s
    31. 215 Creating an eye-catching splatter effect
      9m 8s
    32. 216 Defringing purples and greens in Camera Raw 7
      10m 4s
    33. 217 Making a danger sign more dangerous
      15m 9s
    34. 218 Using texture and depth to add realism
      10m 22s
    35. 219 Precisely aligning artwork to the bleed
      7m 16s
    36. 220 Creating and importing a tracing template
      6m 50s
    37. 221 Drawing a distinctive 2D video game character
      18m 52s
    38. 222 Adding features to the face of a 2D character
      14m 3s
    39. 223 Creating a vivid aura around an entire character
      7m 25s
    40. 224 Adding variable-width strokes in Illustrator
      11m 23s
    41. 225 Animating bird wings with Puppet Warp
      12m 15s
    42. 226 Animating text by onion skinning in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    43. 227 Creating an animated movie in Photoshop
      9m 15s
    44. 228 Exporting an animation to QuickTime and GIF
      5m 44s
    45. 229 Correcting an underwater photograph
      10m 30s
    46. 230 Making a photo razor-sharp and porcelain-smooth
      7m 17s
    47. 231 Reducing noise in a high-ISO shot with Camera Raw
      8m 33s
    48. 232 Creating highly reflective sunglasses
      10m 43s
    49. 233 Adding drama to an outdoor portrait shot
      6m 35s
    50. 234 Creating volumetric forms with shape layers
      15m 52s
    51. 235 Creating a bloodshot eye effect
      7m 11s
    52. 236 Shading an image with shapes and layer masks
      13m 2s
    53. 237 Creating fabric textures with pattern layers
      7m 27s
    54. 238 Colorize any layer with Color Overlay
      3m 23s
    55. 239 Turning a portrait into a dot drawing
      7m 40s
    56. 240 Creating a full-color dot drawing
      3m 29s
    57. 241 Drawing an orthogonal cube with the line tool
      7m 9s
    58. 242 Creating a cube of differently colored cubes
      9m 27s
    59. 243 Recreating the Creative Cloud Logo in Illustrator
      16m 18s
    60. 244 Creating a psychedelic fabric texture
      9m 7s
    61. 245 Turning psychedelic fabric into rock letters
      5m 23s
    62. 246 Creating a more finely rendered dot drawing
      8m 29s
    63. 247 Converting from RGB to CMYK via Multichannel
      12m 31s
    64. 248 Creating printer-safe CMYK shadows
      6m 48s
    65. 249 Creating bright, golden motion trails
      12m 32s
    66. 250 Creating schematic art with grid
      12m 41s
    67. 251 Drawing precisely aligned arrowhead
      12m 8s
    68. 252 Adding arrowheads around a closed path
      6m 1s
    69. 253 Drawing the Pen tool without touching the Pen tool
      17m 13s
    70. 254 Merging frames for the best possible UAV photo
      16m 40s
    71. 255 Retouching details in an aerial landscape
      12m 13s
    72. 256 Editing a video and adding transitions in Photoshop
      10m 57s
    73. 257 Importing the quadcopter crash sequences
      9m 4s
    74. 258 Color correcting a video and adding a soundtrack
      8m 56s
    75. 259 Adding precisely timed titles to your video
      11m 43s
    76. 260 Hand-painting an image with a Wacom Cintiq
      13m 11s
    77. 261 Blending the final false-color artwork
      8m 41s
    78. 262 Creating a honeycomb pattern in Illustrator
      12m 50s
    79. 263 Building up strokes to create 3D honeycomb
      9m 8s
    80. 264 Turning yourself into a zombie
      14m 0s
    81. 265 Enhancing an ambience environment for the undead
      9m 26s
    82. 266 Creating dripping, gooey ghost letters
      16m 43s
    83. 267 Turning type into gooey green slime
      11m 19s
    84. 268 Creating heavy metal type (updated for Photoshop CS6 and CC)
      12m 27s
    85. 269 Cleaning up a crummy product shot
      11m 3s
    86. 270 Scaling and rotating photographic objects
      10m 10s
    87. 271 Tracing a line drawing with uniform strokes
      11m 18s
    88. 272 Coloring line art using Live Paint Bucket
      18m 22s
    89. 273 Creating a pigture using shapes and letters
      18m 7s
    90. 274 Integrating a cartoon into a photograph
      7m 27s
    91. 275 Converting a photo into a Lichtenstein drawing
      16m 8s
    92. 276 Adding bring Ben-Day dots and a talk balloon
      15m 31s
    93. 277 Painting an eye using a custom brush
      11m 31s
    94. 278 Painting and smoothing straight-sided brushstrokes
      12m 0s
    95. 279 Simulating pressure with path outlines
      6m 3s
    96. 280 Developing a 32-bit HDR image in Camera Raw
      14m 42s
    97. 281 Converting from 32-bit to the more flexible 8-bit mode
      11m 15s
  4. 14h 31m
    1. 091 Removing people from a photo
      10m 44s
    2. 092 Masking people back into a photo
      10m 58s
    3. 093 Hand-painting a mask
      10m 5s
    4. 094 Masking a real-life shadow
      10m 40s
    5. 095 Turning a photo into line art
      7m 44s
    6. 096 Adding a crosshatch shading pattern
      6m 46s
    7. 097 Creating type that inverts anything behind it
      5m 32s
    8. 098 Creating auto-inverting line art
      5m 7s
    9. 099 Creating movie poster credits
      8m 10s
    10. 100 Creating a dual-focus hybrid image
      6m 24s
    11. 101 Adding text to a hybrid composition
      7m 24s
    12. 102 Drawing with the reshape tool
      10m 39s
    13. 103 Hand-drawing a really great letter
      10m 6s
    14. 104 Creating a vanity frame
      5m 28s
    15. 105 Adding a frame to a photograph
      5m 3s
    16. 106 Drawing a highly graphic explosion with Illustrator
      10m 3s
    17. 107 Drawing a Ninja Turtle nose
      10m 22s
    18. 108 Mapping a dog face onto a duck
      8m 20s
    19. 109 Putting a tongue on a duck
      7m 6s
    20. 110 Making synthetic lightning in Photoshop
      11m 3s
    21. 111 Creating a driving rain effect in Photoshop
      4m 57s
    22. 112 Designing a railroad track
      12m 18s
    23. 113 Bending the railroad track around curves
      7m 46s
    24. 114 Creating a Star Wars hologram effect
      9m 23s
    25. 115 Creating leafy letters
      6m 12s
    26. 116 Creating topiary type
      6m 22s
    27. 117 Creating type in grass
      9m 0s
    28. 118 Rendering type in smoke
      7m 30s
    29. 119 Rendering type in brushed metal
      9m 57s
    30. 120 Adding brushed copper effect
      4m 14s
    31. 121 Reflecting type in water
      10m 57s
    32. 122 Reflecting water back into type
      11m 14s
    33. 123 Joining type to a circle
      7m 14s
    34. 124 Making flared type on a circle
      7m 17s
    35. 125 Making a person emerge from water
      5m 32s
    36. 126 Creating progressive water ripples
      10m 17s
    37. 127 Creating an upside-down face effect
      10m 17s
    38. 128 Achieving silky smooth skin with retouching
      6m 33s
    39. 129 Pearly white teeth
      7m 28s
    40. 130 Head-shrinking
      8m 26s
    41. 131 Getting a big head
      5m 11s
    42. 132 Adding a photographic texture to vector type
      4m 28s
    43. 133 Adding strokes in back of photo type
      5m 9s
    44. 134 Adding a border to an image in Illustrator
      4m 17s
    45. 135 Two ways to crop in Illustrator
      7m 29s
    46. 136 Inventing a 3D temple with a depth map
      10m 0s
    47. 137 Drawing a 3D object with Curves
      11m 41s
    48. 138 Creating a superhero shield in Illustrator
      16m 28s
    49. 139 Turning Illustrator paths into Photoshop shapes
      11m 42s
    50. 140 Creating a photorealistic superhero shield
      12m 39s
    51. 141 Pimping your ride in Photoshop
      9m 59s
    52. 142 Masking and blackening a car
      10m 20s
    53. 143 Drawing a multi-part vector mask
      12m 46s
    54. 144 Masking and painting a shadow
      8m 26s
    55. 145 Integrating blades of grass into tires
      5m 34s
    56. 146 Making a (ridiculously) dramatic sky
      6m 2s
    57. 147 Adding flame stripes to a car
      8m 23s
    58. 148 Creating interlocking octagons in Illustrator
      7m 44s
    59. 149 Hand-coloring line art
      13m 9s
    60. 150 Creating a custom wave pattern
      9m 56s
    61. 151 Simulating a screen print
      8m 30s
    62. 152 Drawing a perfect linear spiral in Illustrator
      9m 42s
    63. 153 Drawing a spiraling nautilus shell
      11m 4s
    64. 154 Designing a hex pattern in Illustrator CS6
      11m 10s
    65. 155 Making a hex pattern in Illustrator CS5 and earlier
      7m 4s
    66. 156 Creating a Facebook cover in Photoshop
      9m 25s
    67. 157 Matching a profile picture to your cover
      6m 37s
    68. 158 Cloning yourself in Photoshop
      11m 16s
    69. 159 Lighting the clone party
      8m 29s
    70. 160 Hand-carving letters into wood
      8m 0s
    71. 161 Creating a Spirograph-like pattern
      7m 34s
    72. 162 Tracing scalloped gear teeth around a circle
      4m 55s
    73. 163 Applying custom carve and shadow styles to type
      8m 50s
    74. 164 Turning a pencil sketch into digital ink
      12m 55s
    75. 165 Adding a graph-paper background
      13m 42s
    76. 166 Creating a continuous single-line Spirograph
      13m 2s
    77. 167 Scaling circles into complex patterns
      7m 15s
    78. 168 Creating a money-like design
      8m 43s
    79. 169 Attack of the killer pumpkin
      14m 49s
    80. 170 Simulating a glowing Jack-o-lantern
      12m 24s
    81. 171 The headless stranger in the mist
      12m 25s
    82. 172 Creating 3D punched letters
      13m 29s
    83. 173 Designing a double-wave line pattern
      11m 2s
    84. 174 Assembling a seamless pattern brush
      9m 53s
    85. 175 Creating a hand turkey in Photoshop
      18m 42s
    86. 176 Creating a depth-of-field cast shadow
      7m 29s
    87. 177 Creating a lustrous round jewel
      13m 56s
    88. 178 Cutting and brushing light on a gem
      8m 30s
    89. 179 Creating a shiny button with inset text
      11m 5s
    90. 180 Creating a jaunty six-sided star
      15m 1s
    91. 181 Interweaving star shapes and adding gradients
      8m 28s
    92. 182 Casting shadows between interwoven shapes
      9m 12s
    93. 183 Creating a Hobbit-like text effect
      15m 6s
    94. 184 Enhancing a landscape photo in Camera Raw 7
      9m 16s
  5. 13h 11m
    1. 001 Creating ice type
      8m 39s
    2. 002 Branding type on a texture
      7m 6s
    3. 003 Creating an image-branding machine
      7m 13s
    4. 004 Capturing effects with layer comps
      7m 35s
    5. 005 Rendering type in gold
      8m 9s
    6. 006 Creating a hammered metal background
      5m 48s
    7. 007 Creating heavy metal type
      8m 13s
    8. 008 Creating a molten letter effect
      6m 43s
    9. 009 Setting type on fire
      11m 20s
    10. 010 Using an anti-edge mask
      7m 20s
    11. 011 Blending textures onto a face
      9m 28s
    12. 012 Rendering a face as a cave painting
      7m 34s
    13. 013 Creating a reflection in shattered glass
      8m 32s
    14. 014 Creating a face in a tree
      11m 20s
    15. 015 Building a synthetic star field
      8m 21s
    16. 016 Making 3D type with Repoussé
      10m 14s
    17. 017 Casting 3D shadows and reflections
      9m 35s
    18. 018 Adjusting 3D light sources
      10m 51s
    19. 019 Masking highlights and shadows
      6m 27s
    20. 020 Masking glass
      10m 39s
    21. 021 High key high contrast
      8m 33s
    22. 022 Simulating sub-pixel rendering
      10m 58s
    23. 023 Fixing chromatic aberrations in Photoshop
      9m 41s
    24. 024 Fixing chromatic aberrations in Camera Raw
      8m 51s
    25. 025 Correcting red-eye like a pro
      11m 56s
    26. 026 Turning a photo into an ink drawing
      10m 42s
    27. 027 Turning a photo into a pencil sketch
      8m 43s
    28. 028 Creating a seamlessly repeating pattern
      10m 56s
    29. 029 Repairing seams in a repeating pattern
      10m 47s
    30. 030 Creating a 3D pie chart
      11m 9s
    31. 031 Splitting and modifying 3D meshes
      11m 52s
    32. 032 Using the Ground Plane Shadow Catcher
      6m 58s
    33. 033 Creating a talk show-style curtain
      7m 57s
    34. 034 Assembling a flawless panorama
      10m 5s
    35. 035 Removing people with image stacks
      11m 44s
    36. 036 Creative stacking with Maximum and Range
      11m 44s
    37. 037 Creating synthetic wood grain
      9m 23s
    38. 038 Making slats of uniquely textured wood
      10m 52s
    39. 039 Kerning within a single character
      10m 31s
    40. 040 Creating a raised bevel effect
      11m 49s
    41. 041 Putting wings on a horse
      10m 41s
    42. 042 Creating a classic heart in Illustrator
      7m 15s
    43. 043 Glossing up a heart in Photoshop
      8m 42s
    44. 044 Shooting and assembling a stereoscopic photo
      8m 15s
    45. 045 Extending 3D beyond the screen plane
      6m 13s
    46. 046 Adding stereo 3D text and shapes
      9m 9s
    47. 047 Tilting text and shapes toward the viewer
      8m 13s
    48. 048 Creating a shooting star in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    49. 049 Using blends to draw path outlines
      8m 8s
    50. 050 Inventing custom starbursts
      7m 33s
    51. 051 Making a fictional creature
      12m 5s
    52. 052 Transforming a creature into a monster
      6m 14s
    53. 053 Capturing a monster in motion
      11m 45s
    54. 054 Changing the color of a car
      7m 12s
    55. 055 Painting a colorful car black
      8m 16s
    56. 056 Coloring the stripes on a zebra
      10m 47s
    57. 057 Drawing trendy swirls in Illustrator
      10m 59s
    58. 058 Creating variable-width and brushed swirls
      10m 46s
    59. 059 Drawing trendy ornaments in Illustrator
      8m 49s
    60. 060 Designing a magically updating pattern
      8m 40s
    61. 061 Automatically collapsing a selection
      7m 43s
    62. 062 Adding a magnifying glass into a design
      7m 5s
    63. 063 Healing one eye onto another
      7m 15s
    64. 064 Creating a giant command key
      9m 15s
    65. 065 Drawing common symbols part 1
      6m 29s
    66. 066 Drawing common symbols part 2
      9m 26s
    67. 067 Filtering images with Camera Raw
      7m 52s
    68. 068 Creating a vivid HDR effect
      5m 29s
    69. 069 Creating an ambigram in Illustrator
      10m 45s
    70. 070 Making a two-word ambigram
      7m 47s
    71. 071 Drawing a Halloween scareflake
      10m 45s
    72. 072 Creating true clones in Illustrator
      11m 7s
    73. 073 Taking your scareflakes into Photoshop
      7m 20s
    74. 074 Making a faux HDR image in Lab
      8m 38s
    75. 075 Turning a guy into a zombie
      7m 3s
    76. 076 Miniaturizing the world in Photoshop
      6m 45s
    77. 077 Creating a synthetic rainbow
      8m 53s
    78. 078 Casting an artificial shadow from a layer
      7m 2s
    79. 079 Rendering a portrait in type
      8m 58s
    80. 080 Rendering a portrait in tile patterns
      7m 43s
    81. 081 Rotating a pattern layer in Photoshop
      4m 16s
    82. 082 Tracing an image with path outlines
      7m 50s
    83. 083 Turning path outlines into a vector mask
      6m 0s
    84. 084 Drawing rays of light in Photoshop
      5m 40s
    85. 085 Drawing concentric glow rings
      7m 24s
    86. 086 Designing an Indiana Jones-style logo
      8m 50s
    87. 087 Achieving mitered corners in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    88. 088 Masking with Blunt Instruments in Photoshop
      11m 8s
    89. 089 Creating a stained-glass ornament
      8m 26s
    90. 090 Designing a stained-glass window
      10m 23s

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
Deke's Techniques
58h 20m Intermediate Jan 11, 2011 Updated Sep 09, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.

Subjects:
Design Raw Processing Design Techniques
Software:
Illustrator Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

346 Hand-drawing custom-made letters in Illustrator

- Hey gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week, I'm gonna show you how to create some hand-drawn custom-made letters inside of Adobe Illustrator. So the idea is that I want to create the words, "Fire Up", for this piece of artwork right here. I've already gone ahead and sketched the letters in advance, using a pen, as you can see here, and then I scanned it in. And now what we're gonna do is we're gonna trace those letters inside of Illustrator, and we're gonna do so in a way that ensures that all of the letters are nice and uniform so that they look like they go together, the F, and the I, and the R and the E, they're all compatible.

They all look very consistent in other words, in order to create this final effect right here. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right, here's the cleaned up sketch, just so you have a chance to see it on screen. We're currently looking at the sketch inside Photoshop, but we want to place it into Illustrator, and here's how. I'll go ahead and switch over to Illustrator, and we're looking at a blank document that measures nine inches wide by four inches tall. What you want to do is click on the bottom layer if you're working along with me, here inside the Layers Panel, which is called Sketch.

And then go up to the File menu and choose the Place command. Select the file called Hand Drawn Letters dot PSD, and click on the Place button, and then click inside the document in order to place that artwork. Now we want to center it inside of the document by going up to the Control Panel and clicking on this Align icon and choosing Align To Artboard. And then click on Horizontal Align Center, and next click on Vertical Align Center, and you will have centered that art. Now, we want to convert this layer to a tracing template by doubling clicking on an empty portion of the layer here inside the Layers Panel, and then inside the Layer Options dialog box, turn on the Template check box.

That's all there is to it, and then click okay. And that goes ahead and dims the artwork, and it locks it down as well, and it ensures that we can see the art in both the Preview and the Outline mode, as we work along. All right now turn on this Baselines layer and this Fire Up layer, so the idea is we're going to build the baselines, many of which I've created in advance, on this second layer right here. And then we'll create the final letters, including the exclamation point, which I've drawn in advance, on the Fire Up layer at the top.

So, I'll go ahead and select the Baselines layer and I'll zoom in by pressing Control Plus, or Command Plus a couple of times, and you can see that I've surrounded the I with some big outlines, and I created these very simply using the Pen tool. So for example, this top line right here I created by dragging, in order to create one smooth point and then dragging again to create a second smooth point, and that is it, that's all that's going on. And then I just move this line into position, and tweaked it to my heart's content and so forth.

All right, so I'm gonna get rid of that line by pressing the backspace key, or the delete key on a Mac. What's a little more interesting I think is how I combine these very basic lines together. So I'm gonna Marquee these top three lines and then Shift click on the bottom line with the Black Arrow tool here, in order to select all four of them. And then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command, or you can press Control C, or Command C on a Mac, as I will be doing in the future. Now go ahead and turn off this layer for a moment, and click on the top Fire Up layer. And if you're working along with me, do me a favour, go ahead and bring up the Layer Panel fly-out menu and make sure that Paste Remembers Layers is turned off.

That way we can Copy and Paste between the two layers. Mine is already off so I'll go ahead and press Escape, and now I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose Paste in front, or you can press Control F, or Command F on the Mac, as I will be doing in the future. All right, now what we want to do is somehow combine these paths together. So we're gonna use these horizontal paths to essentially clip away the ends of the vertical paths, and that means we need to first create some closed path outlines. So go ahead and grab the Pen tool, and all we're gonna do is click, just go ahead and click here, here, here and here, like so, to create our first closed path.

And then click here all the way down so you're down beyond the bottom of the vertical paths. Click here and here to create that path outline. Let's go ahead and combine these two together, and close it as well by clicking on each of the top points. All right, now, I'll go ahead and switch back to the black arrow tool, up here at the top of the tool box, and now I'll go ahead and Marquee, at least partially, these three paths so all are selected. And now you want to go up to the Control Panel, click on this first swatch and select any color you like. I'll just go ahead and select cyan.

And now we can see that the horizontal paths are on top of that vertical path, which is exactly what we want. So now go up to the Window menu and choose the Pathfinder command to bring up the Pathfinder panel. We want to subtract the two top paths from the bottom one, and you can do that all in one fell swoop by clicking on the Minus Front icon. The second icon in the Pathfinder panel, and we now have the letter I, which we will be using over and over again. Notice that the stem of the I factors into the F, the R, the E, and the P, so everything but the U.

We'll come back to that in a moment. All right now what I want to do is copy the I by pressing Control C, or Command C on a Mac, and then I'll turn off this Fire Up layer and turn on the Baselines layer, and I'll click on it like so, and I'll press Control F, or Command F on a Mac, to paste it into place. And then, I'll drag this path outline by its top left point and to pull that off, you really want to go up to the View menu and make sure that this command right here reads Show Bounding Box. That way, you know the Bounding Box is turned off, which is the better way to work many times.

All right, so I'll go ahead and drag this top left point, and I'm pressing the Shift key as I drag. And now, as soon as I Snap into place here, as soon as I can see that white Snap cursor, I'll press and hold the Alt key or the Option key as well. So I have both the Shift and Alt keys down, and drop that path outline into place. Now I want to get rid of its fill by clicking on the cyan swatch and setting it to none, like so. And we might as well do that with the very first dye, I'll go ahead and change it to none as well, because we're going to be coming back to that I shape a few times.

All right, now notice that we've got these two path outlines here, there's a horizontal path at top and another horizontal path down here at the bottom. And they represent the top and the bottom of the opposite arms of the E. And, so what we're gonna do is blend between those two shapes, so go ahead and click on one, Shift click on the other, and then go up to the Object menu choose Blend, and choose Make. And it's anyone's guess how many steps you're gonna get in between, but I obviously have too many. So I'll return to the Object menu, choose Blend, and choose Blend Options, and then I'll change the Spacing option, the specified steps.

I'll turn on the Preview check box, and I'll click in this value right there, and press the Down arrow key until I get a total of eight steps which is going to work out beautifully. We still have too many, but the lines that remain are in the right locations. So with eight steps, go ahead and click okay, and now we want to break up this blend by going to the Object menu, choosing Blend again, and choosing Expand. And that will expand the blend to Static Path Outlines, albeit ones that are grouped together, as we can see over here by the far left side of the Control Panel.

So now you want to go up to the Object menu, and choose the Ungroup command or you can press Control Shift G, or Command Shift G on the Mac. All right now click off the paths to deselect them. Get this guy right here, the one that's in the center of the top arm, and then Shift Click the one that's in the center of the middle arm, and then Shift Click the one that's in the center of the bottom arm, and we want to get rid of this guy right here as well, so I'll Shift click on it, and then press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac. And you'll be left with just one, two, three, four, five, six, of those lines.

All right, now we want to combine these lines on the Fire Up layer in order to create the letter E and the letter F. So, go ahead and Marquee all these paths like so, taking care to not Marquee, to not select, any portion of the R, so you should manage to select all the E shapes. And then press Control C, or Command C on the Mac, to copy them, turn off the Baselines layer, turn on the Fire Up layer, click on it to make it active, and press Control F, or Command F on a Mac, in order to paste those lines into place.

All right now, we want to build all these arms, and because the top two arms are shared with the F, I'm gonna build them first. So I'll go ahead and start with this guy right here. But I'm sort of struggling to be able to see the entire path outline, so I'll zoom out a little bit. And then I'll go ahead and select the Pen tool, once again, and we're interested in this path right there, so you can see one, two, three vertical paths right in a row. We want the middle one, click, click, click and click, like so, in order to create a closed path outline. And we want to combine these guys together too, click here, and click here, that completes the top arm as you can see.

And you can go ahead and click here and here as well if you like. And now, go ahead and get your Black Arrow tool, and I'll go ahead and Marquee these two paths, and then let's go ahead and fill it with some color, maybe yellow this time around. And now notice, that the path that's going to do the cutting isn't back, which is just fine. I'm gonna bring back my Pathfinder panel, so in other words, I don't want Minus Front, because I'd get this effect right here, which is wrong. Instead, if Minus Front isn't the one you're looking for, then you want to go all the way to the last Pathfinder operation, which is Minus Back, and click on it and you'll achieve this effect right here.

All right, now click on this path outline, this big tall guy right there, and press the P key to get the Pen tool. Click, click, click, and click, like so, so we just want to make sure we're covering up that area that we want to clip away. Click here on these two parts of the arm, and on these two parts as well in order to close those shapes. Press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool, Marquee these two path outlines, go up to the Control Panel, click on a fill, let's make it yellow again, and once again, the guy that wants to do the clipping isn't back, so go ahead and click on Minus Back in order to create this effect here.

All right now, this guy is ready to go, you can see, because it's a remnant of that I, a copy of the I that is to say. So I'm gonna hide the Pathfinder panel for a moment, and what you want to do is make sure that you don't have too much overage. To demonstrate what I'm talking about, I'll go up to the View menu and choose Outline. Or you can press Control Y, or Command Y on the Mac, in order to switch to that Outline mode. And, if I zoom on in, you can see that we have a little bit of a gap here. What we want to do is make sure that one of the paths isn't kind of, go across the other.

So I'm gonna press the A key, to switch to my White Arrow tool, so I can modify the anchor points independently. And I'm gonna drag this guy down a little bit like so. And I'll drag this control handle down as well. And now what I want to do is get this little point, that I really don't want, and I'm gonna drag it where I'm currently working on the top arm, by the way. I'll go and drag it over a little bit, then I'll press the P key to switch to the Pen tool, and I'll click on that point to delete it. And now press the A key to switch back to my White Arrow tool, and I'll grab this anchor point right there and drag it down, so it snaps into alignment with the top of what was formerly the I.

And if you want to snap with impunity, then you probably want your Smart Guides turned off here inside the View menu because otherwise it can kind of get in the way. All right, now I'm going to zoom out a little bit so that I can take in all these path outlines. I'll switch to my Black Arrow tool once again, and I'll go ahead and Marquee these three paths, and then I'll go up to the View menu, and choose the Preview command, which in the newest version of Illustrator may appear as GPU Preview, or you can press Control Y, or Command Y on a Mac.

Now bring up the Pathfinder panel, and go ahead and click on Unite, in order to unite these path outlines together. And you may lose the fill, don't worry about that. And I'll drag this path over to the F position here while pressing the Shift key, and then when you get it in the right location, press and hold the ALT key as well. That would be the Option key on a Mac. So I have both Shift and ALT down, or Shift and Option on a Mac, and then I'll drop this guy into place in order to create a copy of that F.

Now we need to build the other F into an E, so go ahead and select these two path outlines right there, the ones that represent the bottom arm. And i actually am missing a line here, the line that's necessary to clip away the bottom arm. So I'll go ahead and turn on my Baselines layer. It's this guy right there, so go ahead and select it, then press Control C, or Command C on a Mac. Turn that layer back off, turn on the Fire Up layer, very important, go ahead and click on it that is to say. And then press Control F, or Command F on a Mac, in order to paste it into place.

Right now, zoom out, and we're gonna do the same thing as before. I'll switch to the Pen tool, click, click, click, click, like so. And then we'll go ahead and join the arm lines together by clicking on their end points, and clicking on these end points right down there. All right now, go ahead and press the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool. Go ahead and select these two path outlines, go up to the Control Panel, change the fill color to yellow, just so we can see what's going on. This time, this guy that's gonna do the clipping is in front, so go to the Pathfinder panel and click on Minus Front, in order to create this effect here.

All right, now you can see we've got some garbage at work over here, so I'm gonna press the A key in order to switch to the White Arrow Tool. And I'm gonna zoom pretty far in here, and I'll press Control Y, or Command Y on a Mac, in order to switch to the Outline mode. And now I'll go ahead and click on this anchor point right here to select it. And I'll press Shift Up arrow, and then Shift Left arrow to move it way out of the way. And this, by the way, is part of that bottom arm. So this is fine, it's the other points that are a problem.

We have some kind of little anchor point right there, it looks like, so let's go ahead and get rid of it by pressing the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac. And now, let's see what's left, there's another anchor point right there. This kind of stuff sometimes happens, and you just have to patiently work your way through it. There's a lone anchor point all by itself, so I'll go ahead and press the Backspace key, or the Delete key to get rid of it. So that was just an aberrant path outline, that's weird. So this guy's okay, which means that I want to select this anchor point, and because I pressed Shift Up Arrow and Shift Left arrow in order to move it out of the way, I can put it right back where it was by pressing Shift Down arrow and then Shift Right arrow.

And that, regardless of your keyboard increments, is going to work for you. And now, let's see what this is. Is this part of this path outline? It is, so let's go ahead and grab this anchor point right there, and just move it up ever so slightly, and go ahead and move this control handle up as well, so that the two path outlines come together only at the corner point. And that way we won't have any weird lumps or extra anchor points when we fuse these shapes together. And now press the V key, in order to switch to your Black Arrow tool, and Marquee these two paths. That's all we have is these two paths right there.

It's just that we're zoomed in so far, so I'll go ahead and zoom out a bit. And now, I'll press Control Y, or Command Y on a Mac, in order to switch back to the Preview mode. And I'll go up to the Pathfinder panel, and click on the very first icon Unite, in order to unite all those paths together and produce this final version of the E. And if everything's gone all right, we should have just one anchor point down here. And so I'll press the A key, in order to switch to the White Arrow tool, and I'll grab the anchor point. And, it looks like things have not gone right.

Now that may not bother you, that may not be a problem for you that we've got too many anchor points. But if it is, what you can do is just kind of, again, meticulously drag around to make sure everything is where it should be. And, what you can do is, just kind of zoom on in to these points to see if something bad is happening here. And it looks like this the control handle for this other segment, so what I'm gonna do is Marquee this segment with the White Arrow tool, in order to select just a segment, and press the Backspace key, or the Delete Key on the Mac to get rid of it.

And then, I'll click off the path and click this anchor point right there, the one I moved, and drag it back into place. And it should snap into alignment like so, and just to confirm that everything is exactly right, go ahead and Marquee these two points. There's one directly on top of the other. And press the keyboard shortcut. You need a shortcut in this case of Control Shift ALT J. That's Command Shift Option J on a Mac, and if those points are right on top of each other you'll get the Join Dialog box, select Corner, click okay, and you should be good to go.

Now I'll go ahead and zoom out, and we've got an E, which is the good news and we've also got an F, that's also very nice. And, I want to basically fill them with that same color that's at work with the exclamation point. So, I'm gonna go ahead and Marquee these path outlines like so, with the Black Arrow tool. And then, I'll select my eye dropper, which is down here, and then click on this path, the exclamation point that is. So that these paths are all filled with that shade of red.

And, you may want to do one more thing. I'm gonna press the V key to get my Black Arrow tool, and I'm gonna Shift Marquee around the exclamation point, and let's press Control zero. Or Command zero on a Mac, so that we can see all of our letters so far. And now, I'm gonna go up to the Window menu and choose the Appearance command, to bring up the Appearance panel. I'm going to click on the red fill, click the triangle in front of it to twirl it open, click on the word Opacity, and change the Opacity value to 50 percent. And the reason I'm doing this, changing just the fill of the path outlines to 50 percent is so I can see through them to the template below.

And now I'll click off the paths to deselect them. And that, friends, is how you trace a handful of letter forms, specifically the F, the I, and the E, so that they all look nice and consistent here inside Illustrator. All right, so obviously we've got a few letters left, specifically, the curving letters, the R, the U and the P. And we're gonna handle that in a follow up movie, but here's my question to you. How much would you pay for this awesome piece of poster art that you can hang in your cubicle, or in your office, or in your home? And the answer is, it's not for sale.

You have to create it yourself, and if you want to learn how then become a member of lynda dot com, of course. And if you're not a member, why, go to lynda dot com slash deke for a free week. And then, check out the course called Designs dekeConstructed Retro-Style Superhero. And you'll learn how to turn this mild-mannered weightlifting dude into this awesome piece of full-blown art work using a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop working together like the superheroes they are.

And it requires a lot less in the way of artistic talent and a lot more in the way of artistic know-how, if you know what I mean. If you're waiting for next week's free movie, I'm gonna show you how to take this unremarkable photograph right here, and we're gonna turn it into this remarkable low-color photograph using Camera Raw. Deke's Techniques, each and every week, keep watching.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Deke's Techniques.


Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.
 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Deke's Techniques.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.