How To Create Typography Illustrations the Easy Way with Adobe Illustrator

How To Create Typography Illustrations the Easy Way with Adobe Illustrator

January 16, 2020 47 By Peter Engel


Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics
with another video tutorial. Today I’m going to show you how to create cool typography
illustrations the easy way, using the power of vector graphics to craft your design, rather
than use the traditional pen and paper technique, which is much less forgiving. We’re going to base today’s example on the
side profile of a 1970 Dodge Charger, combined with a movie quote from a film this car appeared
in. Let’s see who recognises this one. Add a comment if you do! The main graphic is a simple silhouette of
the vehicle, then the text is distorted and disfigured to fit within the outline of the
car body to create a cool composition. This effect also works great with other subjects
too, like this Buffalo example I created using the classic song lyrics. So to begin, find an image to use as reference
for your subject and open it with Adobe Illustrator. Scale the image to fit the artboard, then
in the Transparency panel drop the opacity to 50%. Go to Object and select Lock to prevent the
reference image from being accidentally selected, then grab the Pen tool and clear out the default
white fill, leaving just a black stroke. Begin tracing around your subject to create
an outline. There’s a few techniques you can use with the pen tool, but I like to simply
click and drag each point as I go, then hold the Alt key to eliminate any bezier handles
wherever I need a sharper corner. Once you’ve traced the main body, create outlines
of the windows. Make sure these are complete shapes, so close each path back where it started. Select all the objects and switch the black
strokes to black fills. Select one of the window shapes, then shift click the main car
body and use the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel to punch out the window shape.
Repeat the process with any other windows. Grab the Circle tool and switch the black
fill back to a stroke. Zoom in to one of the wheels and drag out a circle from the centre
while holding Shift and Alt. Go to Edit>Copy, then Edit>Paste in Front
to make a duplicate of the circle, then scale it down to match the inside of the tyres while
holding Shift and Alt. Select both circles, then click the Minus
Front option from the Pathfinder panel to punch out the shape. Switch the stroke to
a fill to see the filled ring shape. Press CMD+F, or go to Edit>Paste in Front
to paste in another circle. Scale this one down further, aligning it with the wheel.
Paste in another circle and scale this one down towards the centre cap.
Use the Pathfinder tool to create another ring shape and give it a black fill. Paste in another circle and scale this one
down all the way to the centre. Give this shape a black fill. Zoom in and draw a circle within the inner
ring to represent the pattern of the wheel. Hold the Shift key and add the centre cap
to the selection, then give the centre cap circle an extra click to make it the key object.
Click the Horizontal Align Centre button from the Align panel to line these shapes up. Hold the ALT key and drag a duplicate of this
circle towards the opposite end of the wheel. Shift click the original again, then copy
and paste in front a duplicate of them both. Hold Shift while rotating them to constrain
the angle to 45 degrees. Paste in more copies and rotate each one to create the circular
wheel pattern. Make a selection of all these circle shapes
while holding the Shift key, then go to Object>Compound Path>Make. Add the inner black
ring to the selection and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel to
punch out these shapes. Select all the shapes that make up the wheel
and scale them up slightly for added coolness, then copy and paste a set for the front, or
rear, depending which side you started on! Select the main car body and go to Object
>Path>Offset Path. Enter 3px, then hit OK. Right click and go to Arrange>Bring
to Front, then make a copy of this shape so we can use it again in a second. Add one of the tyre shapes to the selection
along with this new offset path, then hit the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder
panel to trim the wheel to add an outline effect. Press CMD+F, or go to Edit>Paste in Front
to paste back in the copy we made and repeat the process with the other wheel. With the main silhouette graphic complete
we’re now ready to add the text. Use the Type tool to enter your chosen wording or quote.
Select a hand drawn font so the distortion still looks fairly natural. Right click your text element and select Create
Outlines, then right click and Ungroup the letters. Head back and select all the letters
that make up each word and group them together. Give the text a random fill to make them easy
to see against the black background, then move each word into place on the silhouette
shape, roughly scaling each one to size to fill the available space. Select the first word and go to Object>Envelope
Distort>Make with Mesh. Reduce the number of Rows to 1, then add 3 columns. Use the Direct Selection tool and move each
points of the mesh to warp the text to follow the outline of the silhouette, leaving a consistent
gap around the edge. Move the bezier handles to allow the text to follow the curvature
of the shape. Select the next word and add an Envelope Distort
mesh. This word is slightly longer, so add 4 columns. Move and position each point to
fit into the design. Sometimes if a word is really stretched, you might need to evenly
space out the mesh points so it’s not awkwardly distorted. Add just two columns for small words, then
adjust the text to follow both the main silhouette and any existing words. Continue adding meshes to the following words
and mould the text to the outline. Doing this manually with pen and paper would take some
serious sketching and planning, but in Illustrator we can simply move the points around until
we’re happy. Once the layout is complete, select all the
words and go to Object>Expand to permanently apply the Envelope Distortions. Create a Compound Path, then add the car body
shape to the selection and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel to
delete the text shapes and allow any background colour to show through. This style is meant to replicate real hand
crafted typographic quotes, so to add some realism, Group all the objects and add a Roughen
effect from under the Filter>Distort and Transform menu to simulate the irregularities
of hand drawn art. Check the Absolute and Smooth options, then
enter a Size of around 0.5px and Detail of around 20. Hand crafted styles of art also look great
with some texturing. Download my free vector grunge textures and copy one of the light
grainy samples. Under the Transparency panel, click the Make
Mask button, then click the thumbnail on the right to enter into mask mode for the artwork
group. Paste in the texture and scale it down to
size. You can build up extra texture by pasting in and overlaying more textures. Just make
sure the entire design is covered. Click the thumbnail on the left from within
the Transparency panel to exit out of mask mode to see the final design. The overall effect looks just like those hand
crafted typographic illustrations, except Adobe Illustrator has allowed us to avoid
the frustrations of plotting the words manually with pen and paper.
I’m using this style to produce a little series of movie car quotes, but the possibilities
are endless when this effect is used with song lyrics and feel good quotes to produce
awesome poster art. So I hope you enjoyed this video tutorial,
if you did and you want to help spread the word a Like on YouTube or a share with your
friends on Twitter or Facebook would really help out. If you want to be the first to see my upcoming
tutorials, subscribe on YouTube, or visit my website at http://spoon.graphics for plenty
of free design resources and written tutorials. So as always thank you for watching and I’ll
see you in the next one.