In the following tutorial, you will learn how to create a screen print effect in Illustrator.
If you don't have the time to learn how to create a screen print effect in Illustrator, you can always try Envato Elements. There you'll find a massive collection of print textures and screen print textures and add-ons. This template is one of the many examples.
Do you prefer video tutorials to learn new Illustrator skills? If that's the case, you can watch this new video from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel to learn how to make an overprint in Illustrator:
What You'll Learn in this Overprint Illustrator Tutorial
- How to set up a grid
- How to create a block print effect in Illustrator
- How to make an overprint in Illustrator
What You Will Need
You will need the following resource in order to create an overprint in Illustrator:
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, set the Width to 850 px and the Height to 610 px, and then click that Advanced Options button. Select RGB for the Color Mode and set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click the Create button.
Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid or Control-") and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid or Shift-Control-"). You will need a grid every 10 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, and enter 10 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.
You can learn more about Illustrator's grid system in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator's Grid System.
You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don't forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.
2. How to Create the Background and Apply a Print Texture
Focus on your toolbar and pick the Rectangle Tool (M), and then focus on the color settings. Select the stroke and remove the color, and then double-click the fill and set it to white (R=255 G=255 B=255).
Make sure that your shape stays selected and focus on the control panel. Set the Alignment to Artboard, and then click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons to easily move your rectangle to the center of the artboard.
Download this Heart and brain fight illustration from Envato Elements and drag it inside your document. Press Control-G to Group all the shapes that make up this illustration and focus on the Transform panel (Window > Transform) to adjust the size of this group.
Make sure that the Constrain Proportions button is checked and set the Height to 600 px. Once you're done, use those Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons from the control panel again to easily center this group.
Make sure that your group is still selected and lower its Opacity to 10%.
Reselect that white rectangle, press Control-C to copy it, and then press Control-Shift-V to add a copy in the same place, on top of the existing objects.
Keep this new rectangle selected and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Select the fill, change the color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0), and don't forget to change its Blending Mode to Color.
Make sure that your front rectangle stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.
Use the Add New Fill button to add a second fill and select it. Set the color to R=236 G=0 B=140, and this time change the Blending Mode to Overlay.
Make sure that your front rectangle stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel to apply a subtle print texture vector.
Add a third fill and select it. Set the color to black, lower the Opacity to 75% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay, and then go to Effect > Texture > Texturizer. Enter the settings shown in the following image and click OK.
Make sure that your front rectangle stays selected, keep that top fill selected, and go to Effect > Artistic > Paint Daubs. Enter the settings shown below, click OK, and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.
3. How to Make the Overprint in Illustrator
Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Fibre font, and set the size to 300 px, the leading to 250, and the tracking to 100.
Click on your artboard and type in "HEAD HEART" on two separate rows. Once you're done, press the Escape key to easily switch to the Selection Tool (V), and move your text roughly to the center of the artboard.
Keep your text selected and start by clicking the [None] swatch from the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) to remove the current text color.
Move to the Appearance panel and add a fill using the Add New Fill button. Select it, set the color to R=46 G=50 B=147, and don't forget to change the Blending Mode to Hard Light.
Make sure that your text stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel to apply the overprint fill in Illustrator.
Use that Add New Fill button again to add a second fill for your text and select it. Drag it below that other fill and set the color to R=236 G=0 B=140, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Move-Horizontal slider to -10 px and click OK to move the selected fill 10 px to the left.
Make sure that your text stays selected, and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.
Add a new fill on top of the other two and select it. Set the color to black, lower the Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the settings shown below and click OK.
Reselect the Type Tool (T) and return to the Character panel to lower the font size to 60 px. Click again on your artboard and type in "OVER".
Make sure that your "OVER" text stays selected, click that [None] swatch to remove the current text color, and let's apply the same Appearance settings that you used for the other piece of text.
This can be easily done using the target icons from the Layers panel (Window > Layers). Target icons are the little round icons displayed at the far right of each individual layer or shape. Hold down the Alt key, click the target icon that stands for your first piece of text, and then drag it onto the target icon that stands for your "OVER" text.
Finally, let's make a small adjustment to the Appearance settings applied to your smaller text.
Focus on the Appearance panel and click the Transform effect that's applied to the bottom fill to edit it. Just lower the horizontal movement to -5 px, click OK, and your Illustrator overprint design is complete.
Congratulations! You're Done!
Here is how your design should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.
Feel free to adjust the screen print textures as you wish. You can find some great sources of inspiration at Envato Elements, with interesting solutions to create new block print effects in Illustrator.
Popular Print Textures From Envato Elements
Envato Elements is an excellent resource for print texture vectors. Here's a short list of some of the most popular overprint assets that you can find.
Lino Print Textures: Paint & Paper (AI, PNG)
Check out this set of print textures and use them to adjust those overprint fills in Illustrator. This pack contains 36 unique print texture vectors.
Here's another set of hand-made ink print textures that will make your design stand out. Besides the 20 print textures, you'll also get 30 edgeless brushes.
Cut the hassle of learning how to create a screen print effect in Illustrator and do it with just a few clicks using these ready-to-use styles.
Quickly create screen print textures using this toolkit. The pack contains ink print textures, frame brushes, and graphic styles that can be transformed in a matter of seconds.
Light Print Texture Illustrator Brushes (AI, EPS)
You can always use brushes to create light print textures. This pack of carefully prepared brushes could be the perfect solution to create a unique block print effect in Illustrator.
Want to Learn More?
We have loads of tutorials on Envato Tuts+, from beginner to intermediate level. Take a look!
- How to Create a Vintage Brush to Add Texture in IllustratorDiana Toma21 Feb 2020
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- How to Create a Japanese Hanko Stamp Text Effect in IllustratorDiana Toma06 Aug 2020
- Illustrator in 60 Seconds: Create Textures Using the Grain EffectAndrei Stefan20 Jul 2016
- How to Create Different Vector Textures Using Adobe IllustratorAndrei Stefan07 Sep 2021
- How to Create a Textured City Snapshot Illustration in Adobe IllustratorAndrei Stefan30 Jan 2018
- How to Design a Vintage Travel Poster in Adobe Illustrator and PhotoshopJanie Kliever17 Mar 2016
- How to Make a Brush in IllustratorAndrei Stefan08 May 2019
- How to Design a Retro Theatre Poster in Adobe IllustratorJanie Kliever27 Jul 2016
- How to Create a Watercolor Texture in Adobe IllustratorMary Winkler31 May 2016