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How to Create a Candy Striped Text Treatment with Colorful Candy Accents

Read Time: 10 mins

Candy-striped rope-like lettering has such a nostalgia factor for me; remnants of board games and food packaging of my youth. With two techniques for this candy coated text treatment, I'll guide you through with Adobe Illustrator CC and make this technique a breeze to learn when modifying your favorite font or hand drawn lettering of your own.

1. Prepare Sketch and Font

Step 1

I like to start out my designs with a sketch. The main idea is candy, so it's represented well in theme and color. The best thing about vector work is the ability to correct mistakes made in the sketching stage (since I tend to draw first with markers and ask questions later), such as the "d" in "candy".


Step 2

I wanted a script font to use for this design without actually drawing it out myself. Below are two freeware fronts: Lobster Two and LeckerliOne. I also like Thirsty Script at MyFonts.com. Choose your favorite script font. I'll be using LeckerliOne from FontSquirrel.


Step 3

Write out "candy girl" in your script font, right-click and hit Create Outlines and Ungroup. I found it easier to keep "candy" and "girl" separate.


2. Define the Text's Shape

Step 1

Think of the text as a candy rope. since it's scripted, it's already joined together, so you'll have to consider how this rope curves, folds, and turns while writing out your work.


Step 2

See below for lines I've drawn to indicate where letters overlap each other and portions of the letters that fold over on itself.


3. Editing the Letters

Step 1

Using the Pen Tool (P), I've drawn over the tail of the "y", adding a rounder end to it. All additions will eventually be United in Pathfinder to the main text.


Step 2

With the Direct Selection Tool (A), select one of the anchor points of the dot on the "i". This will allow you to select the shape completely and delete it. I've drawn a heart in its place with the Pen Tool (P).


Step 3

For the "c", I reshaped the top and using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M), selected the portion of the original "c"'s top curve that doesn't intersect with the new shape and deleted it (select with the tool, deselect, and delete).


Step 4

Other changes made were to the tail of the "l", negative space of the "y" and the "g", and the indent of the "r". I wanted the script to look more organic, as though I had written it out, without having done so while retaining legibility and looking as though it's constructed from a rope of candy.


4. Add Simple Stripes

Step 1

I'll be breaking down two techniques for striped text in this tutorial. The first one, in this section, is the easiest to do. Draw a long, thin rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M) and rotate it so it's on a diagonal. Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the rectangle along the length of the text and Unite the white rectangles in Pathfinder.


Step 2

Copy and Paste the text, Align with the original text and Unite in Pathfinder. With the white rectangle shape above the new "candy girl" text, select both and Minus Front in Pathfinder. You'll be left with the striped text seen below. It's an easy method, but it doesn't follow the curves of the letter themselves.


5. Create Complex Stripes

Step 1

With the Pen Tool, draw curved shapes along each shape, keeping the curve of the letter in mind while drawing each stripe shape.


Step 2

To avoid overlapping with other shapes, Unite the white stripes in Pathfinder and, after Copying and Pasting the main text (and Aligning it), Minus Front in Pathfinder (also make sure the white stripes are over top the copied text). You'll be left with stripes that curve and conform to the main text shape.


Step 3

See below for the animated version of Step 2. It's a pretty laborious process compared to the previous section, but the final look is excellent.


Step 4

Continue moving along the letters so you fill the entire word with stripes.


Step 5

See below for the stripes applied to the word "girl". Notice how they overlap and curve around where we indicated a change in shape from section two.


6. Shade the Letters

Step 1

For the shadow gradients seen in the previous step, simply draw with the Pen Tool (P) shapes that help define the overlap between letters.


Step 2

Adjust the linear gradient (one that goes from transparent to opaque dark purple) with the Gradient Tool (G) so that it creates a perfect, gradual shadow, rather than an abrupt shape that's merely transparent on the letter. Using the Shape Builder Tool, select the main text and the shadow shape, then select the non-intersecting components of the shadow shape, deselect, and delete.


Step 3

Continue adding shadow shapes to each letter where the letter after it overlaps.


Step 4

Draw shadows where portions of the letter twist and curve, like the stem on the "a" or the the left loop of the "y".


7. Add Highlights and Outlines

Step 1

For highlights, use the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw tiny circles that follow various curves on the letters.


Step 2

Group together all of the letter, stripe, shadow, and highlight shapes. Copy and Paste this group, Unite in Pathfinder, and set the fill and stroke color to white with a Stroke Weight of 2pt. Align this new "candy girl" shape with the original group and set it behind in the Layers panel. Repeat with dark purple as the stroke color and a larger Stroke Weight. Group together your text with new outline shapes.


Step 3

Copy and Paste the main text shape (teal, in this case) for the "candy girl" group. Unite it in Pathfinder and align with the main text. Set the fill to the same linear gradient as the shadow shapes with a 90 degree angle, overall Opacity to 40%, and the Blending Mode set to Hard Light. Group together.


8. Add the Candy Dots

Step 1

Now that your text is complete, let's focus on the candy collage behind it. For some classic candy dots, draw two curves shapes that represent sheets of paper. Apply a gradient to each shape going from purple to white.


Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool, draw a pink ellipse for a candy dot. Copy and Paste it around the sheet so there's three pink candies, three yellow, and two blue, in three rows. For portions of the ellipses that hang over the white "piece of paper" shape, delete them with the Shape Builder Tool, as was done to the shadow shapes on the lettering. Repeat on the other paper. Group together the candies and their respective white paper sheet.


Step 3

For the shadows, Copy and Paste a candy dot ellipse and set the fill as a linear gradient going from transparent to opaque dark purple. Draw a smaller ellipse, overlapping the shadow shape and hit Minus Front in Pathfinder. Copy and Paste this shadow and align it with each candy dot.

For the highlight, draw an ellipse on each candy piece with a linear gradient going from transparent to opaque white and reduce the overall Opacity of the ellipse to something below 50%.


9. Add the Hard Candy

Step 1

The wrapped hard candies have a simple construction. Draw a circle with the Ellipse Tool. With the Pen Tool, draw a teardrop shape. Copy and Paste two more of them, and gather them around one end of the circle. Repeat on the other side.


Step 2

For the shadows, draw teardrop shapes, smaller than the first, with a linear gradient as the fill going from transparent to opaque purple. Repeat on all six teardrops. Draw a circle with the same gradient and align with the main body of the candy. Repeat for the highlight on the upper right corner of the candy. This gradient goes from transparent to opaque light yellow. The additional shadow and highlight shapes are curved teardrops (almost like the yin and yang). Group your candy pieces together.


Step 3

Copy and Paste your candy twice, and change the fill color of the main candy shape and arrange behind the text.


10. Add Little Rainbows and Taffy

Step 1

The little rainbows are simple. Draw three circles, each in a different color, each one smaller than the last. Stack them up and Group together. Draw a smaller circle and align to the middle. Using the Shape Builder Tool, select all four circles and click the center one. Deselect and delete the center to leave a rainbow ring.

Copy and Paste the grouped ring, Unite this new group in Pathfinder, and apply a linear gradient going from transparent to opaque dark purple, with the color concentrated toward the bottom. Group together and Copy and Paste the group as many times as necessary to stack them up and create a design similar to the one seen below.


Step 2

For the colorful taffy pieces, draw a long, curving teardrop shape with the Pen Tool. Use any bright color you like best. Add thin shadow shapes to each taffy piece with a gradient fill going from transparent to opaque dark purple (or a contrasting color of your choosing). Play with the shadow shapes until you get an effect, like pulled taffy, that you enjoy. for non-intersecting parts of the shadow shapes, delete with the Shape Builder Tool as done previously.


11. Create the Jelly Beans

Step 1

Use the Pen Tool to draw a jelly bean shape. Copy, Paste and Align the bean with the original shape and draw a circle that intersects at least half of the curved candy. Minus Front in Pathfinder with the second jellybean and circle selected. Apply a linear gradient going from a dark shadow color to transparent.

Draw additional shadows accentuating the curve of the candy and a highlight shape adding emphasis on the upper left and right of the candy itself. Delete any non-intersecting portions of shadow and highlight shapes with the Shape Builder Tool.


Step 2

Group together the jelly bean pieces and Copy and Paste it for a tiny collection of them. Recolor and rotate each candy as necessary.


Step 3

Place your jellybeans behind the text within the candy collage.


12. Add a Lollipop

Step 1

Use the Ellipse Tool to draw an ellipse that will serve as a lollipop (similar to safety suckers). With the Pen Tool draw a loop shape starting at the center of the ellipse, bring it down and back around. Set the fill to none, the stroke to white, and the Stroke Weight to 10-20pt. Expand the stroke in Object. Copy and Paste the looped stick and apply a shadow gradient to it.

Reduce the overall transparency and keep it above the other two pieces. the idea is you're seeing it through the candy itself. For a shadow along the bottom edge of the candy, use a gradient fill going from transparent to opaque dark orange.


Step 2

Additional shadows and highlights are layered ellipses, alternating between transparent to purple gradients to light yellow transparent gradients. Four additional shapes are added in this step. Group together your lollipop pieces.


13. Create Additional Sweeties

Step 1

For additional sweeties, draw long shapes using the Rounded Rectangle Tool and Unite them in Pathfinder. Copy and Paste and recolor as needed.


Step 2

Much like the jelly beans and hard candies, draw shadow and highlight shapes that accentuate the overall shape of the sweeties. Group together your candies once complete.


Sweet! You're Done!

Little white circles were added to the candies for highlights as well as purple, pink, and yellow outlines to the overall candy collage. The text itself can have numerous applications from logos to packaging designs, etc... It's a fun process and project, why not try it yourself?

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