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How to Create a Spray Grunge Splatter


We all have seen many techniques of making a vector grunge in Illustrator. Live tracing a textured image and Symbol Sprayer tool are the most common ones. In this tutorial, we will learn how to create an original vector grunge from scratch using some less common tools. Let’s get started!

Final Image Preview

Below are example effects we can achieve with this technique, and the final image in this tutorial follows. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Step 1

Create a new document. Now use the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a rectangle of 100px by 300px and fill it with your favorite color. There is no specific rule about the size. You may start with any approximate size and shape here; this is just the size I used.

Step 2

Grab the Knife Tool from the Tools palette and chop the rectangle in zigzag, up-down, left-right and any possible way (this is a freestyle step). Make sure you don't leave any big part un-chopped. Our aim is to create a large number of tiny elements that are different in size and shape. The result should look something like the image below.

Step 3

Now let’s scatter the elements. Select the entire set and click once on the approximate center of the rectangle. Next, click on Horizontal Distribute Space in the Align palette with 0px spacing value. This will scatter the elements on a large area of your artboard.

Step 4

Zoom out to see the entire set of elements. Select half of the elements and drag them below the first half. Re-arrange them to form a roughly shaped square. You may resize the entire collection of elements to fit on your artboard.

Step 5

The base for our splatter is now ready. Select all the elements and click on Object > Transform > Transform Each (Alt + Shift + Command + D). Enter 30px each for Horizontal and Vertical Move. Enter 30 degree for the Rotation and enable the Random option. Now click on Copy. (Note: We are applying the transform effect on individual elements. So, do not group the elements).

Step 6

Now, without clicking elsewhere, press Command + D and repeat pressing it 25 to 30 times until you see a dense result like the one below. (You may encounter a slower performance due to increase in number of anchor nodes. Once the high resolution raster file is exported, we need not worry about the performance).

Step 7

The grunge is ready. Next, we will add some ink flows and splatters to use this result for a Stencil effect. Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw some rough shapes to show the ink flow. Fill them with the same color as that of the grunge.

Step 8

With the Pencil Tool (N), draw some more lines and stroke them with the Ink Splatter brush. You can find it in Window > Brush Libraries > Artistic > Artistic_Inc. Here, I have used Ink Splatter 3.

Step 9

Next, draw a background rectangle and fill it with your favorite color. Add text on the top of all objects. I have used the Stencil Std Bold font for a nice stencil effect. Use the color of text that is the same as that of the background color.

Conclusion and Scope

The technique used in this tutorial is very easy and requires less time to obtain the result. Since the output depends on the manual chopping of the shape; the end result is dynamic in shape and size. It involves some randomness so you won't make the exact same grunge in two different trials.

Every time, the end result will be different in appearance and size. This yields unique grunge designs on each trial. You can use the result in poster designs, T-Shirts, grunge texts and backgrounds. You may also give it a try on making a Galaxy, sand effect, and scattered diamonds. Thanks for your valuable time. Hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial.

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