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Design

How to Create a Crunchy Cartoon Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create an editable crunchy text effect in Adobe Illustrator.

For starters, you will learn how to create your own pattern starting from a built-in pattern. Next, using a simple piece of text and the Appearance panel, you will learn how to create the text effect. While adding the tiny crumbs around your text, you will learn how to easily save and use graphic styles. Finally, you will learn how to subtly adjust your text and how to add a simple background for the final design.

For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your final text effect, you can find plenty of resources at GraphicRiver.

What You Will Need

You will need the following resource in order to complete this project:

1. How to Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width box and 500 in the height box, and then click that More Settings button. Select RGB for the Color Mode, set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click Create Document.

Don't forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units.

new document

2. How to Create and Save a Pattern

Step 1

Open the fly-out menu from the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures. Select the USGS 22 Grave Beach pattern and simply drag it on your artboard.

pattern

Step 2

Select one of the black circles that make up your imported pattern and go to Select > Same > Fill Color to select all the shapes with a black fill. Simply replace the black with R=140 G=67 B=23.

select same

Step 3

Select all the shapes that make up your pattern and simply drag them inside the Swatches panel to save them as a new pattern.

save pattern

3. How to Create the Text Effect

Step 1

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Knicknack font, and set the size to 170 px and the tracking to 50.

Click on the artboard and add your piece of text about as shown below. Make it black, for now.

type tool

Step 2

Select your text, focus on the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches), and click that [None] swatch to remove the black text color.

Move to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and add a new fill using the Add New Fill button. Select that new fill and set the color to R=253 G=243 B=188.

fill none

Step 3

Make sure that your text stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button.

Select this new fill, set the color to R=255 G=188 B=53, and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the settings shown in the following image and click OK.

add new fill

Step 4

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a third fill and select it.

Set the color to R=210 G=96 B=12 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the settings shown in the following image and click OK.

offset path

Step 5

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a fourth fill and select it.

Set the color to R=255 G=188 B=53 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the settings shown in the following image and click OK.

transform effect

Step 6

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a fifth fill and select it.

Apply your pattern from the Swatches panel and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

apply pattern

Step 7

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a sixth fill and select it.

Apply the USGS 21 Intricate Surface pattern from the Basic Graphics_Textures panel, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

soft light

Step 8

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a seventh fill and select it.

Set the color to R=140 G=67 B=23, change its Blending Mode to Soft Light, and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3 px Offset, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the settings shown in the following image, click OK, and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

film grain

Step 9

Make sure that your text is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and select the stroke.

Set the color to R=210 G=96 B=12, increase the Weight to 3 px, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the settings shown in the following image and click OK.

roughen

Step 10

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a second stroke using the Add New Stroke button and select it.

Set the color to R=103 G=22 B=1, lower the Weight to 1 px, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the settings shown in the following image and click OK.

add new stroke

Step 11

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Select the entire text (click the 'Type' section from the top of the panel) and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the top-left window (in the following image), click OK, and then apply the other four Drop Shadow effects shown below.

drop shadow

4. How to Save a Style and Add Some Crumbs

Step 1

Make sure that your text is still selected, open the Graphic Styles panel, and click the New Graphic Style button.

graphic style

Step 2

Make sure that your text is still selected and pick the Touch Type Tool (Shift-T). Click on the first character from your text and use the round handle that lies above the selected character to rotate it as shown in the following image.

touch type tool

Step 3

Use the same Touch Type Tool (Shift-T) to rotate the other six characters roughly as shown in the following images.

rotate characters

Step 4

Using the Pen Tool (P) or the Brush Tool (B), draw some tiny shapes around your text, roughly as shown in the first image. These new shapes will be the crumbs. Select all these shapes and simply apply your style from the Graphic Styles panel.

crumbs

5. How to Create a Background

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create an 860 x 510 px shape. Fill this rectangle with R=253 G=243 B=188, send it to back (Shift-Control-[), and make sure that it covers your entire artboard.

rectangle

Step 2

Make sure that your rectangle is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill. Select it and apply the radial gradient shown below. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to stretch your gradient as shown in the following image.

radial gradient

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects. Don't hesitate to share your final result in the comments section.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You can find some great sources of inspiration at GraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve your design.

final product
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