Decorating letterforms using brushes you can make in Illustrator

I was inspired to decorate a letterform after seeing some beautiful designs on the web somewhere. My apologies for not making a note of who she is  and where her lovely artwork could be found. If anybody has any idea whose site I might have looked at please let me know so I can credit it. I think she had decorated am F and an L.

Anyway, I used a standard serif font for the h, stroked it in black, filled it with nothing then converted to outlines so I could start using the Pen tool to start shaping sections of the letter, etc. The patterns within the letter itself are designs that were dropped onto a combination of the Brushes and Swatches palette. There was some tweaking  (ha ha – could there not have been – it got fiddly at times!) and the Clipping Mask got called in to play a few times as well. It’s a nice, relaxing wet Sunday afternoon project to get into.

However, once the brushes are set up you have them forever and can use again and again on other projects.

So, for now, here is my letter H and I’ll finish the How To on making the different types of brushes and swatches and post that soon.

Creating a knock out in Photoshop

When you want to place a photo or picture in a frame in Photoshop without masking every layer or chopping the image to bits, you need to use a Knock Out group. The picture below shows how this has been used to pop this cutie patootie kitty face out of the letter ‘g’.

To find out how to use this technique, read my pdf tutorial here:

How to Create a Knock out in Photoshop

Making a spotty swatch pattern in Illustrator

Making patterned swatches is a simple and fun way to liven up dull shapes. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make a spotty swatch pattern. Once you have created a swatch you can use it to fill any shape you like. Don’t forget to save your swatches for use on future projects. The picture here shows a cow with a spotty muzzle and ears. The rest is in gingham with stitched outlines but they’re for another tutorial. Hope you enjoy.

PDF How to make a spotty swatch pattern in Illustrator