Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Hand-drawing letters as stroked paths, part of Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Mastery.
In this movie, we'll hand draw the letters in the word Maximilian, and we'll do so as we've done most everything we've done so far, using a series of stroked path outlines. And again, most of the segments are angled either at 90 degrees, 60 degrees, zero degrees, in the case of the crossbars across the a's. The only exception is the x, which is a little different. Switch over to my illustration in progress, and press Ctrl+semicolon, or Cmd+semicolon on a Mac, in order to bring back my guidelines. And then I'll press the P key in order to switch to the Pen tool. Your smart guide should still be turned on, by the way. And then you want to go ahead and click at this bottom left-most intersection in the guidelines in order to set an anchor point there. And then click at this location, and notice, you're not only intersecting the guidelines.
You're also creating a segment that aligns to 60 degrees. Then click down here, so you see a line, 90 degrees at the top and intersect at the bottom. Click up again when you see a line 60 degrees down at the bottom, and intersect at the top, and then click down when you see these words on screen. All right, now what we want to do is assign this path outline at different strokes. So I'll the V key to switch to the black arrow tool. Then I'll go ahead and click on my M. And I'll go up to the control panel, and I'll change the line weight, this time to ten points, and I'll go ahead and change the color of the stroke to that dark green, ZADM25y100k0.
And I'll change the fill to none. And we end up with this effect here. And now I'm going to zoom in, by the way, so that I can take in my text a little tighter. And I need to move it over. Notice that the outside edge of the black initial aligns to the guideline, where the center of the green m is in alignment with that guide. So, I'll double-click on the Black Arrow tool in order to bring up the Move dialog box. You want to set the vertical value to zero, and then set the horizontal value to 5.75 points. In order to create this effect here.
And you might wonder why 5.75, why not just 5 points? Well you can see, because the line is angled, that moving the line in five points, which is what I'd do if I was moving it inward from a vertical guideline, or downward from a horizontal guide, because that's half the 10 point line weight. However, because the segment is at an angle, I actually had to use trigonometry. But I'll tell you, you can just eyeball it as well. And you'd figure out that 5.75 points is going to work just fine. Then click OK. All right, now let's create the other m that appears at the middle of my child's name.
And I'll do that by taking the existing one and dragging it by its top right anchor point until it snaps into alignment with the anchor point at the bottom of the big w. And then I'll press the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac, and release my mouse button in order to create a duplicate of this location. Now, it's hard to get this one to snap into place right, so you might want to press Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y on a Mac. Make sure that things have snapped properly. In other words, you want this path outline to continue into the bottom m, like so. So the angle of those two lines should be exactly the same. Now, double-click on the Black Arrow tool again to bring up the Position dialog box.
And what's great about this is we just moved the path outline this terrific horizontal distance. We don't care about that. We now know this is the distance we wanted. So just go and change that value to zero, in order to skip to the vertical value. We don't want to move it upward however, so we want to undo the upward movement by changing the vertical value to a negative version of what it was before. So it was negative 20, meaning that we need to change it to positive 20. And so these two values, zero for horizontal and 20 for vertical, end up producing exactly the effect we're looking for.
Then click OK in order to accept that change and now you'll see now that the two m's are precisely horizontally aligned with each other. All right, now for the other letters. Go ahead and press Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y on a Mac to switch back to the preview mode, and press the A key in order to switch to the Wide Arrow tool, and click on this top anchor point in this first m to select it, and then press Ctrl+C, Cmd+C on a Mac to copy it, press Ctrl+F or Cmd+F on a Mac to make a copy of just those two segments and then drag them over.
This will eventually be our a. Next we want to make an x, follow by an i. So you might as well make a copy of this a, just by dragging it while pressing the Shift and Alt keys, that would be the Shift and Option keys on the Mac, until you create a copy of this location. And then, go ahead and switch to the Scissors tool, which you can get from the Eraser tool File menu, or you can just press the C key, and click on this top anchor point, in order to sever those two segments away from each other. And I'll go ahead and zoom in to get rid of that screen artifact as well. And then I'll press the V key to get my Black Arrow tool. I'll marquee this diagonal path.
And press Shift+Left Arrow a few times to move it over to the left. And then I'll go ahead and switch from the Rotate tool to the Reflect tool, which you can get by pressing the O key. Double-click on the tool inside the toolbox, change the axis to vertical, and click Copy, and you've got yourself an x. Problem is, it's too narrow in my opinion, so I went ahead and pressed the A key to get the White Arrow tool. And then I went ahead and marqueed these two right-hand points. Then I pressed the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac to bring up the Move dialog box, and I changed the horizontal value to eight, and then I'll click OK. And then I did the same thing for the left anchor point. So go ahead and select them and press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac. And this time I'll change the horizontal value to negative eight. But you don't really have to do it that way.
You could've just moved one set of points 16 points in either direction and you would've gotten the same effect, but just giving you a sense of how I put this together in the first place. Then I'll click OK in order to make that change. All right, now I am going to zoom out a little bit, so I can see more of my artwork at a time. And I'll press the V key to get the Black Arrow tool. I'll go ahead and grab that I there, and Shift+Alt+drag it or Shift+Option+drag it over to the right, like so. I'll make another copy right about there. And I need another copy right there for the l, so I'll go ahead and create it. And then I'll go ahead and zoom in on that l. And the bottom of the l, by the way, needs to go ahead and lift upward so that it's inside of this guideline.
So I'll press the A key in order to switch to the White Arrow tool, I'll click off the path outline then I'll click on that bottom anchor point. And then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key again, in order to bring up the Move dialog box. I'll change the horizontal value to zero, and I'll change the vertical value to half the line weight, negative five, which raises that anchor point up five points. Then I'll click OK. And now I press the P key to switch to the Pen tool, and I'll click on that anchor point to make it active. And I'll Shift-click right about there in order to add a new anchor point and create that mitre joint. So now the l is laying right there on the guideline.
All right, I want the bottom of the l to be a very specific length. So I'm going to press the A key, switch to the Lined Arrow tool. And I'm going to go ahead and drag the right-hand anchor point back over to the left-hand one so it snaps back into place like so. So we've got two anchor points right on top of each other. And then I'll press the Enter key for the billionth time here, in order to bring up the Move dialog box. And I'll change the horizontal value to 35 points and leave the vertical value set to zero points. So, this segment right here is exactly 35 points long. And then, I'll click OK in order to accept that change. All right, let's go ahead and zoom out a little bit so that I can better see what I'm doing. We've got ten letters here.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, so we need two more. So I'll go ahead and press the V key to get my Black Arrow tool, and I'll Shift+drag that I over a little bit, and then I'll go ahead and grab that a, and I'll Shift+Alt+drag it over to about here, for example, in order to create a copy of it. And then, I'll double-click on the Reflect tool. And make sure that axis is again set to vertical, and then click OK this time, we don't need to click copy. And then go ahead and press the P key to get the Pen tool. Click at this anchor point and Shift-click there, on that guy, in order to create the final segment of the n. And now we need to go ahead and select this guy with the Black Arrow tool, drag it over by this anchor point til it snaps into alignment. And then press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac, in order to bring up the Move dialog box.
And change the horizontal value to half the line weight, negative five, in order to move it to the left. So we're aligning the right edge of the end with a right edge of the initial above, and then click OK. All right, we just need to make the crossbar in the a, so I'll go ahead and zoom in on it. And I'll press the P key in order to get my Pen tool and I'll click here and Shift-click here, just to draw a horizontal line. Then I'll press the V key to get my Black Arrow tool. I'll go and drag this guy until it snaps into alignment right there, with this anchor point at the bottom. I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to bring up the Move dialog box. I'll change the horizontal value to zero, and the vertical value to negative 25 points.
And I'll be honest with you, when I was originally coming up with these values, I figured them out, by pressing the arrow keys and just nudging things around. But these are the final values I came up with. So now I'll click OK in order to accept that change. All right, now I'll go ahead and zoom out. And naturally, I want to go ahead and create a copy of this a. So I'll go ahead and marquee these two path outlines. And I'll Shift+Alt+drag or Shift+Option+drag them over to the right hand side, like so. And we now have the word Maximilian, which is fine. But we've got some spacing problems, of course, that we need to address. And we need to go ahead and move these lines downward and clip the letters as well.
And I'll show you how all that works in the next movie. (BLANK_AUDIO)
- Setting up angular construction guides
- Kerning and clipping hand-drawn type
- Creating and naming symbols
- Using symbols to simulate master pages
- Creating a gradient mesh
- Using gradients to cast shadows
- Fading artwork with a gradient opacity mask
- Warping and distorting artwork with Liquify and Envelope
- Assembling a seamless pattern brush
- Creating charts and pictographs
- Working in 3D space
Skill Level Advanced
Q: In the "Assigning colors to mesh points" lesson, I cannot pick up the color of the visible tracing/photograph layer with the Eyedropper tool. What am I missing?
A: Make sure the template file is embedded in your file, not just linked, and try to sample the color again.