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Design

How to Create a Cherry Pie Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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

Love a good cherry pie? I do! So let's have fun and turn it into a cherry pie text effect. 

At the beginning you'll create the shape of the letters with the traditional wavy edges of a cherry pie. After that you'll add the tasty filling with the help of a custom Cherry Scatter Brush, and then it's time for the intertwined stripes on top of the cherry pie. 

Let's not forget about the pie crust texture and the custom Powdered Sugar Scatter Brush. If you want to know how to create all these things, let's begin!

If you are hungry for more text effects or food vectors in general, then GraphicRiver has you covered with plenty of resources to choose from. 

Tutorial Assets

To complete the tutorial, you will need the following assets:

1. Open a New Document

Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the dimensions, and then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode. Make sure that Align New Objects to Pixel Grid is not checked.

Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 pxand while there, go to Units to make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

open new illustrator document

2. How to Create the Pie-Shaped Letters

Step 1

Take the Type Tool (T) and type “PIE” on your artboard using the Geist Knt Font, with a size of 200 pt. Under the Set the tracking for the selected characters field, choose 200 in order to spread the letters.

type the pie text

Step 2

With the text still selected, choose Expand from the Object menu and then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) to obtain the individual letters.

Keep those letters selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners. Apply a Radius of 10 px and hit OK.

create rounded edges for pie letters

Step 3

With the letters still selected, choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu to expand the effect applied, and after that, Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) if necessary.

Stroke the letters with the Diamonds 1 Pattern Brush, which you can find in the Brush Libraries Menu under Borders > Borders_Geometric. Reduce the Stroke Weight to 0.75 pt.

apply border to pie letters

Step 4

Select only the letter “P” and choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu in order to expand the brush stroke applied. Next, press Unite in the Pathfinder panel to merge the border and the letter into a single shape. 

Repeat the same thing for the other two letters.

unite border to pie letters

Step 5

With the new letters still selected, go to File > Scripts > Round Any Corner and apply a Radius of 5–6 to obtain the rounded edges that are characteristic of a pie.

If you want to make extra adjustments to the wavy edges, take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move some of the points or adjust their handles. 

create rounded edges for pie letters

3. How to Add Texture to the Letters

Step 1

Fill the letters with the color indicated; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown below.

apply inner glow effect to pie letters

Step 2

With the letters still selected, add a New Fill above the first one and keep the same fill color. Next, go to Effect > Texture > Texturizer and apply the settings shown. Set this Fill attribute to Blending Mode Multiply and 40% Opacity.

apply texturizer effect to pie letters

Step 3

To get rid of the pixelated edges generated by the Texturizer effect, we will use a mask. Select the three letters and then Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) to get copies of them; then remove all existing appearances from the Appearance panel.

Now, select the letter “P” along with the copy of letter “P” and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Repeat the same thing for the other two letters, and you will have sharp edges. 

create sharp edges for pie letters

4. How to Create a Cherry Scatter Brush

Step 1

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a small 18 x 18 px circle. Distort this circle a little with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) to obtain the shape of the cherry, which shouldn't be perfectly round.

Next, follow the sequence of images and use the Pen Tool (P) to draw some random shapes on the cherry as highlights and shading.

draw the cherry

Step 2

Draw a few smaller shapes on the cherry to add more highlights. Fill these shapes with white and reduce the Opacity to 50%

add highlights on cherry

Step 3

Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up the cherry, which is pretty small. Drag the group into the Brushes panel and choose New Scatter Brush. In the Scatter Brush Options window, just type a name for your new brush and leave the rest of the settings as they are. 

create cherry scatter brush

5. How to Create the Cherry Pie Filling

Step 1

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the shapes of the letters from under the mask, and then go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Apply an Offset of -20 px and you will get the smaller letters in the center. I will name these shapes “filling background”.

create the cherry filling background

Step 2

Take the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a random circular path over the three “filling background” shapes. Stroke these paths with the Cherry Scatter Brush that you saved earlier. With the paths still selected, go to the Appearance panel, open the Stroke Options window, and change the Size and Rotation settings as shown or until you get a slightly messy look. 

apply cherry scatter brush

Step 3

Select the three “filling background” shapes from underneath and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to get copies of them.

Now, select the cherry stroked path over the letter “P” along with the copy of the “filling background” and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). Repeat the same thing for the other two letters and mask the cherry filling. 

mask the cherry pie filling

6. How to Add Highlights and Shading to the Cherry Pie Filling

Step 1

Let's make the cherry filling more glossy. Zoom in on the letters and use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw a bunch of short paths following the contour of the cherries in the filling. You can add as many as you want. After you are done, create three groups of paths, one for each letter.

draw highlights paths on cherry pie filling

Step 2

Select a 1 pt white Stroke for all these paths and use the Width Profile 2 in the Stroke panel. Set the Opacity for each group of paths to 80%.

create highlights on cherry pie filling

Step 3

Select the three “filling background” shapes from underneath the cherries and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to get copies of them. Use white as the fill color; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown below. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply in order to make the white fill transparent, and you will only be able to see the inner shadow. 

add inner shadow to cherry pie filling

7. How to Create the Lattice Top Pie Crust

Step 1

Focus on the letter “P” and draw a few paths over the cherry filling in a criss-cross pattern using the Pencil Tool (N). The paths are not supposed to be perfectly straight. Group (Control-G) every second path in each direction because it will be easier to obtain the intertwined design later. 

For example, I have four groups of stripes: white and green in one direction, and yellow and blue in the opposite direction.

draw criss cross paths on letter P

Step 2

Select an 8 pt Stroke for all the stripes and press the Round Cap option in the Stroke panel to get the rounded ends.

create lattice top on letter P

Step 3

With the four groups of stripes still selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown.

At this point, you can mix around the groups of stripes until they are in the correct order and they look perfectly intertwined.

add shadow to lattice top on letter P

Step 4

Now focus on the letter “I” and first draw the criss-cross paths. Apply the same settings as before and you will get the lattice top design.

create lattice top on letter I

Step 5

The same thing goes for the letter “E”.

create lattice top on letter E

8. How to Create the Pie Crust Texture

Step 1

Grab the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a random circular path over each letter as shown in the following image. Stroke the paths with the Ink Spatter 1 Scatter Brush from the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Ink. The Stroke Color is black and the Stroke Weight is 1 pt.

add black splats on pie letters

Step 2

With the three paths still selected, set the Blending Mode to Overlay and the Opacity to 40%.

settings for black splats on pie letters

Step 3

With the three paths still selected, add a New Stroke in the Appearance panel above the first one. This time, use the Ink Splats Scatter Brush from the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Ink. The Stroke Weight is 1 pt and the Stroke Color is white (although for visual reasons, in the next image the color is yellow).

add white splats on pie letters

Step 4

Set the Blending Mode for the second Stroke attribute to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 30%.

settings for white plats on pie letters

Step 5

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the letter “P” from under the mask, and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it. Remove all existing appearances from the Appearance panel.

Now, select the stroked path over the letter “P” along with the copy of the letter and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). You can name the resulting group “pie crust texture”. 

Repeat the same thing for the other two letters and create the clean edges around the text.

mask splats around the pie letters

9. How to Cut a Slice of Cherry Pie

Step 1

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the letter “E” from under the mask and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it. Remove the existing appearances and just give it a stroke (the blue shape). Next, use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a triangle-like shape as the slice of pie (the green shape). Before you continue, make copies of these two shapes. 

Now, with the two shapes selected, press Intersect in the Pathfinder panel to obtain the slice shape (1).

Grab the copies of the two shapes that you just made, and make sure that the green shape is in front of the blue shape. While they are selected, press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel and you will get the rest of the letter “E” (2).

I will name the blue shape “E cut” and the green shape “E slice”.

create the masking shapes

Step 2

First, select all the shapes that make up the letter “E” as a cherry pie and Group (Control-G) them. Name this group “E cherry pie”. Make a copy of this group in front because you will create two masks.

Now, select one of the “E cherry pie” groups along with the “E cut” shape on top and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). As a result, you will get the letter "E" with the slice missing (1).

Select the second “E cherry pie” group along with the “slice” shape on top, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). As a result, you will get a slice of pie which you can move anywhere on your artboard (2).

cut a slice of pie from letter E

10. How to Create the Shadow Under the Cherry Pie

Make a copy of the following shapes: letter “P”, letter “I”, “E cut”, and "E slice”. Move them behind everything by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[), and remove all existing appearances.

Fill these copies with black; then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect four times.

add shadow under pie letters

These are the settings for the Drop Shadow effects:

settings for drop shadow effects

11. How to Create the Runny Cherry Filling

Step 1

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape as shown below and fill it with the radial gradient shown. With the help of the Gradient Tool (G), adjust the direction and the angle of the gradient.

Next, draw two thin shapes on the upper right side as highlights, and fill them with the linear gradient shown below.

Group (Control-G) all the shapes, and name the group “runny filling”.

draw the runny cherry filling

Step 2

Scale and arrange the “runny filling” group where the slice of pie is missing. Make a copy of the group, rotate it, and arrange it on the opposite side.

Make two extra copies and arrange them on the sides of the slice. Make sure that the two small highlight shapes from the “runny filling” group are facing outwards and are visible.

Select all the “runny filling” groups and send them behind everything by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[). You can see the final result in the image below.

arrange the runny cherry filling

12. How to Add Powdered Sugar on the Cherry Pie

Step 1

First, draw a small 10 x 10 px circle filled with white (although for visual reasons, in the image below the color is black). Drag this circle into the Brushes panel and choose New Scatter Brush. It will be there, but you can't see it.

create a powdered sugar scatter brush

Step 2

Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw a random wavy path on the upper right side of the letter “P” and stroke it with the Sugar Scatter Brush that you just saved. Duplicate this Stroke attribute or add as many as you want until you are happy with the amount of powdered sugar and how dense it looks.

Open the Stroke Options window for each Stroke attribute in the Appearance panel and drag the slider for Size and Spacing to the minimum, which is 10%, in order to create really fine powdered sugar. You can also play around with the Scatter settings until you get the desired result.

After you are done, while the path stays selected, press the New Graphic Style icon at the bottom of the Graphic Styles panel in order to save the style.

create and save a powdered sugar graphic style

These are the settings that I've used in the Stroke Options window for the four Stroke attributes:

settings for powdered sugar strokes

Step 3

Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw more wavy paths following the edges of the letters. After that, simply select the Sugar Graphic Style saved earlier.

To add even more powdered sugar, draw more paths over the others and apply the Sugar Graphic Style again.

add more powdered sugar on pie letters

Step 4

Select the letters “P”, “I” and “E” and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to make copies of them. Bring them in front of everything by going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]), and then remove all existing appearances. With the three copies still selected, go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8).

Now, select all the sugar stroked paths along with the compound path and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

mask the powdered sugar around the pie letters

Step 5

If you add powdered sugar next to the missing slice or on the slice of pie, you need to move these stroked paths under the existing masks in the Layers panel (the “E cut” and the “E slice” masks from when the slice was first made). This way you will get the clean edges without creating another mask. 

add powdered sugar on slice of pie

Congratulations! You're Done

The cherry pie text effect is ready, and here is the final image. This was so much fun to create, and I hope that you enjoyed the tutorial. Don't forget to share your recreation of this delicious text effect with us.

cherry pie text effect final image
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