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Design

How to Create a Sari-Inspired Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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

In this tutorial you will learn how to draw a text effect inspired by the stunning sari/saree clothing. The color theme here is bright pink and gold. There are plenty of details and plenty of Illustrator brushes and effects that we'll use to create the beautiful decorations and silky texture, so follow along and learn some new techniques.

If you are hungry for more text effects, make sure to check out GraphicRiver and you'll surely find what you are looking for there. 

1. How to 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 px and 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. 

how to open new illustrator document

2. How to Create the Sari Text

Step 1

Copy the text “साड़ी“, which is the Hindi word for sariand Paste it on your artboard using the Type Tool (T). You most likely will see squares instead of the text, but change the font to “Nirmala UI”, Bold, size of 220 pt. This is a Microsoft font that comes with the Windows OS, and this is the only font in my collection that allows me to see the Hindi characters. You can download it from here or here.

Another option is to simply use the word Sari or Saree.

Use the Selection Tool (V) to select the text and drag it a little to the right to make it wider.

how to type Hindi word for Sari

Step 2

While the text is still selected, choose Expand from the Object menu and then Ungroup (Shift-Control-G). You will get the individual pieces of text. Throughout this tutorial, I will refer to the pink character as “piece 1” of text, to the orange character as “piece 2” of text, and the green, blue and red ones as “piece 3”, “piece 4” and “piece 5” respectively.

As you can see, the pieces of text are overlapping at the top, especially the orange and green pieces. You need to fix that. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and use it to select only the top left anchor points of the orange piece and move them towards the inside, up to the pink edge. Continue with the top right points and move them up to the green edge. Repeat the same thing between the green and blue pieces.

Fill the newly obtained text with bright pink.

how to adjust the sari text

3. How to Create the Golden Border Around the Sari Text

Step 1

Copy and Paste in Back (Control-B) all five pieces of text and remove the fill color. Select a 1.5 pt beige Stroke and press the Align Stroke to Outside icon in the Stroke panel. While this Stroke attribute stays selected in the Appearance panel, go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and apply an Offset of 1 px.

Add a New Stroke at the bottom of the Appearance panel and select a 1 pt light brown Outside Stroke. Apply an Offset of 2.5 px this time.

Add a New Stroke at the top of the Appearance panel and select a 1 pt Outside Stroke.

how to create the golden border around the sari text

Step 2

Let's create a mask shape now. Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) the five pieces of text, remove the fill color, and select a 3.5 pt Outside Stroke which is the exact thickness of the golden border. Choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu in order to turn the strokes into fills. While the resulting blue borders stay selected, go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8) to merge them into a single compound shape (1).

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle between the inside points of the blue border as shown (2). Now, select the blue compound path along with this rectangle and press Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. As a result, you will get rid of the small segments of blue border that were on the inside (3).

how to create a mask shape for the golden border around sari text

Step 3

Take the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a random wavy path following the golden border of the first piece of text (1). Do the same thing for the other pieces of text (2).

Stroke these wavy paths with the Watercolor -Blend Art Brush that you can find in the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Watercolor. Keep the Stroke Weight at 1 pt and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 2 px. Set the Blending Mode to Color Burn (3).

how to create shading on golden border around sari text

Step 4

Now, select the mask shape from earlier (which must be in front of everything and set to stroke-none, fill-none (1)) along with all the wavy paths, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). As a result, the shading details will be visible only on the golden border (2). You can see a before and after in the close-ups.

how to mask the golden border around sari text

4. How to Create the Golden Decorative Stripe on the Sari Text

Step 1

First, let's define where the decorations will go. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a rectangle with a size of about 575 x 88 px over the text (1).

Fill the rectangle with the color indicated and then add a New Fill above. Use the Leaves Tropical Color Pattern that you can find in the Swatch Libraries menu > Patterns > Nature > Nature_Foliage. Set the Blending Mode to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 45% (2).

With the rectangle still selected, go to Object > Transform > Scale, type 50% in the Scale field, and make sure to check only the Patterns option. Hit OK and the pattern will be smaller (3).

how to create the pattern rectangle on sari text

Step 2

Select the five pieces of text and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make copies of them in front of everything. Go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8) to merge them into a single shape and set it to stroke-none and fill-none (1).

Now, select the pattern rectangle along with the newly obtained compound path and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7) (2).

how to mask the pattern rectangle on sari text

Step 3

Use the Pen Tool (P) or the Line Segment Tool (\) to draw a straight path over the text. Give it a 2 pt warm brown Stroke and select the Gold Leaf Pattern Brush from the Brush Libraries menu > Borders > Borders_Decorative. Open the Stroke Options window and set the Colorization Method to Tints and Shades so the brush becomes warm brown as well. Move this path under the mask that you created in the previous step (1).

While this Stroke attribute stays selected in the Appearance panel, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and type -45 px in the Move Vertical field. This will move the brush stroke upwards and should go exactly up to the edge of the pattern rectangle (2).

how to create the decorative stripe on the sari text

Step 4

Add a New Stroke under the first in the Appearance panel and use the Floral 1 Pattern Brush from the Brush Libraries menu > Borders > Borders_Decorative. Set the Stroke Weight to 0.75 pt and then set the Colorization Method to Tints and Shades in the Stroke Options window again to change the color of the brush.

While this Stroke attribute stays selected in the Appearance panel, apply the Transform effect again, and this time type -15 px in the Move Vertical field.

how to add the second brush on the decorative stripe on sari text

Step 5

Add a New Stroke at the bottom of the Appearance panel and use the Leaf Pattern Pattern Brush from the Brush Libraries menu > Decorative > Elegant Curl & Floral Brush Set. Set the Stroke Weight to 0.5 pt. The Colorization Method is set to Tints by default, so you don't have to change it this time.

While this Stroke attribute stays selected in the Appearance panel, apply the Transform effect and type -33 px in the Move Vertical field. This will move the brush right under the long stripe at the top of the text.

how to add the third brush on the decorative stripe on sari text

Step 6

Add a New Stroke at the bottom of the Appearance panel and use the Rococo Pattern Brush from the Brush Libraries menu > Borders > Borders_Decorative. Keep the Stroke Weight at 1 pt. Open the Stroke Options window, set the Colorization Method to Tints and Shades, and use the color indicated. Apply the Transform effect and type 5 px in the Move Vertical field.

how to add the fourth brush on the decorative stripe on sari text

Step 7

Add a New Stroke and the last one at the bottom of the Appearance panel and use the Scallopped Pattern Pattern Brush from the Brush Libraries menu > Decorative > Elegant Curl & Floral Brush Set. Reduce the Stroke Weight to 0.75 pt. Apply the Transform effect and type 15 px in the Move Vertical field.

At this point, the decorative stripe is ready.

how to add the fifth brush on the decorative stripe on sari text

5. How to Create Shading & Highlights on the Sari Text

Step 1

Select all five pieces of text and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make copies of them in front of everything. Fill the copies with a linear gradient called Tin from the Swatch Libraries menu > Gradients > Metals. Next, go to Effect > Sketch > Chrome and apply the settings shown. Set the Blending Mode to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 55%. As a result, you will get the appearance of shading and highlights on the text.

how to apply chrome effect on sari text

Step 2

Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw the four paths on the first piece of text. Give them a 5 pt black Stroke and use the Tapered Blend Art Brush that I've shown how to create and save in step 10 of the Candy Monster Character tutorial. 

Next, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 3 px. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 75%. The green path is set to 55%.

how to create shading on the first piece of sari text

Step 3

Select the first piece of text and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Set this copy to stroke-none and fill-none.

Now, select this copy along with the piece of text with the Chrome effect applied to it and the four paths from the previous step and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).

how to mask shading on the first piece of sari text

Step 4

Use the technique explained in the previous two steps and create some shading for the other pieces of text.

how to create shading on other pieces of sari text

6. How to Create Shading & Highlights on the Golden Decorative Stripe

Step 1

Let's create the mask shape first. Select the path with all the decorative strokes applied to it and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. From the Object menu, choose Expand Appearance and then Compound Path > Make (Control-8) (1).

Select the four pieces of text and Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make copies of them in front. Go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8) to merge them into a single shape (2).

Now, select these two new compound paths and press Intersect in the Pathfinder panel. You can see the resulting shape in the image below (3).

how to create a mask shape for the decorative stripe on sari text

Step 2

Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw a random wavy path over the decorative stripe. Give it a 1 pt black Stroke and use the Watercolor – Blend Art Brush from the Brush Libraries menu > Artistic > Artistic_Watercolor. Apply a 5 px Gaussian Blur; then set the Blending Mode to Color Burn and the Opacity to 75%.

how to create shading on the decorative stripe on sari text

Step 3

Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) the wavy path from the previous step and choose Flip Vertical from the fly-out menu of the Transform panel. Change the stroke color to white and the Blending Mode to Overlay at 100% Opacity.

how to create highlights on the decorative stripe on sari text

Step 4

Now, select the two wavy paths along with the mask shape made earlier, which should be in front and set to stroke-none, fill-none and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). You will get a notification saying that the mask shape is very complex, but do it anyway.

how to mask shading  highlights on the decorative stripe on sari text

Step 5

Here is a before and after GIF so you can see the difference better.

before and after shading  highlights on decorative stripe on sari text

7. How to Create the Inner Shadow on the Sari Text

Select all five pieces of text and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make copies of them in front of everything. After that, go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8) (1).

Fill the newly obtained shape with white; then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply but only for the Fill attribute because this way the white will become transparent but you will still be able to see the inner shadow (2).

how to create inner shadow on sari text

8. How to Add Shine on the Sari Text

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the following paths on the text. Give them a 3 pt Stroke and use the Tapered Blend Art Brush again. Apply a 3 px Gaussian Blur and then set the Blending Mode to Color Dodge.

how to create shine on sari text

9. How to Create the Fabric Texture on the Sari Text

Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) the five pieces of text and replace the fill color with light gray. Next, go to Effect > Texture > Texturizer and apply the settings shown. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to about 10%. It should be only slightly visible.

how to create the fabric texture on sari text

10. How to Create Extra Decorations on the Sari Text

Step 1

Draw a straight path with the Pen Tool (P) or the Line Segment Tool (\) and use the Floral 1 Pattern Brush from the Brush Libraries menu > Borders > Borders_Decorative. Keep the Stroke Weight at 1 pt (1).

While the path stays selected, choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu and then select only the small shape in the center (2).

Make a copy of this shape, Rotate it -30 degrees, and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect twice using the settings shown below (3).

how to create extra golden decorations on sari text

Step 2

Multiply the small golden decoration and align a few of the copies on each piece of text.

how to arrange extra golden decorations on sari text

11. How to Create the Shadow for the Sari Text

Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) the five pieces of text to make copies of them and then go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8). Move the new compound path to a New Layer behind the text effect (1).

Remove the existing fill color and select a 3 pt Outside Stroke. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect four times to create a shadow under the text (2).

how to create shadow under sari text

Here are the settings for the Drop Shadow effects in order.

settings for drop shadow effects

Congratulations! You're Done!

The sari-inspired text effect is ready now. I hope you learned new techniques today that you'll be able to apply to other text effects and future projects.

If you decide to recreate this effect, don't forget to share an image because it will surely make my day.

sari inspired text effect final image
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