Follow this tutorial and learn how to create a bagel text effect in Adobe Illustrator.
We will start with the text and make a few adjustments to get the individual letters. After that, you will learn to create the bagel texture and add shading and highlights to make this text effect as realistic as possible.
Next, we will create and save the Poppy Seeds Scatter Brush and use it to add the seeds on the letters and around the letters in the background. This sounds fun, so let's begin!
To complete the tutorial, you will need the following assets:
- Pleasantly Plump Font I dafont.com
- Black Blend Art Brush I How to Create a Set of Multi-Use, Blend Brushes
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.
2. How to Prepare the Text
Grab the Type Tool (T) and write “BAGEL” on your artboard using the font Pleasantly Plump, size of 140 pt (1).
Now, use the Selection Tool (V) to select the piece of text and drag the bounding box upwards in order to make the text a little taller (2).
While the text stays selected, choose Expand and Ungroup from the Object menu to get the individual letter shapes. Select only the letters “B” and “A”, go to Object > Compound Path > Release, and after that, delete the three small ellipses that make up the holes.
3. How to Create the Bagel Texture
Fill the letters with a light shade of brown and then add a New Fill in the Appearance panel above the first. Use a warm shade of brown for the second Fill; then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and apply an Offset of -10 px.
Keep the letters selected, and also keep the second Fill attribute selected in the Appearance panel, and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Apply the settings shown on the left side for the letters “B” and “A”, and apply the settings shown on the right side for the letters “G”, “E”, and “L”.
With the letters selected and also the second Fill attribute selected, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 3 px.
With the letters still selected, add a New Fill at the top of the Appearance panel and use the color indicated. Go to Effect > Texture > Texturizer and apply the settings shown; then set the Blending Mode to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 30%.
Let's add some highlights on the edges. Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw two or three paths on each letter, following the edges. Give them a 3 pt light yellow Stroke and choose the Width Profile 2 in the Stroke panel. When you are done, apply a 1.5 px Gaussian Blur for all of them.
4. How to Create the Holes
Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw two small shapes of about 16 x 14 px on the letter “B” and one shape on the letter “A” as the holes. Select white as the fill color and a 6 pt Stroke using pale yellow. Also, press the Align Stroke to Outside option in the Stroke panel. Next, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 4 px for all of them.
Now, select the existing Stroke attribute and choose Duplicate Item from the fly-out menu of the Appearance panel. As a result, you will get a second Fill attribute at the top. Keep the same settings and just reduce the Stroke Weight from 6 pt to 3 pt.
5. How to Mask the Letters
Select the shape of the letter “B” along with the two holes and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to get copies of them. After that, remove all existing appearances for the copies (stroke-none, fill-none). Just for visual reasons, in the image below I gave them a simple stroke, but you don't have to.
While the copy of the letter “B” and the copies of the holes are selected, go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8) in order to get a new “B” shape.
Repeat the same thing for the letter “A”. For the letters “G”, “E”, and “L”, just make a copy of the original letters in front of everything, and don't forget to remove the existing appearances.
Now, take the Selection Tool (V) and drag a selection over the letter “B” in order to select everything including the copy from the previous step that should be in front, and set to stroke-none and fill-none. Go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).
Repeat the same thing for the other letters, and you will get clean edges.
6. How to Add Shading and Highlights to the Letters
Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a few shapes on each letter as shown in the following image. Fill them with brown and then apply a 4 px Gaussian Blur. Reduce the Opacity to 35%. This will create the appearance of browned crusts on our bagel letters.
To add some shine, first take the Pen Tool (P) and draw two or three short curved paths on each letter, mainly on the upper right side. Stroke these paths with the Black Blend Art Brush 100x3 (info below). Keep the Stroke Weight at 1 pt and use the color indicated. When you are done, apply a 1.2 px Gaussian Blur to all of them.
I have an entire tutorial dedicated to Blend Brushes and how useful they are: How to Create a Set of Multi-Use, Blend Brushes. You can find more information about the Black Blend Art Brush 100x3 used here, how to create it, and how to save it in your Brushes panel. I use these Blend Brushes all the time in my drawings, and you should definitely have them in your library, always ready to use.
7. How to Create the Poppy Seeds Scatter Brush
Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and draw a 21 x 31 px ellipse filled with gray (1). Copy and Paste in Front (Control-F) this ellipse and change the fill color to black and, after that, draw a small ellipse in the center filled with white (2).
Now, select the black and white ellipse and go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Choose 10 Specified Steps, and then go back to Object > Blend > Make (Alt-Control-B). Set the resulting blend group to Blending Mode Overlay (3).
Select all the shapes that make up the poppy seed and drag them into the Brushes panel. Choose New Scatter Brush and hit OK. In the Scatter Brush Options window, just type a name for your brush and leave the settings as they are for the moment.
8. How to Use the Poppy Seeds Scatter Brush
Take the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a random spiral path on each letter, as shown in the following image. Stroke these paths with the Poppy Seeds Scatter Brush and reduce the Stroke Weight to 0.75 pt. Open the Stroke Options window from the Appearance panel and play with the Size, Spacing, Scatter, and Rotation settings in order to get a realistic look.
These are the settings that I've used. Also, change the Rotation relative to Path.
When you are happy with your poppy seeds, select all the paths and choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu. Now, focus on the letter “A” for example and double click on the group of poppy seeds to enter the Isolation Mode.
At this point you will be able to select the poppy seeds individually and delete the ones that fall over the edge of the letter (1). Once the area around the letter is clean, you can press the Back one level arrow until you exit Isolation Mode (2).
Repeat the same thing for the rest of the groups of poppy seeds on the other letters, and you can see the final result in the image below (3).
Select all the groups of poppy seeds and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Apply the settings shown and hit OK.
If you want to add more poppy seeds in some areas for a more realistic look, use the Pencil Tool (N) or the Pen Tool (P) to draw one or two extra paths on each letter as shown in the following image. Stroke these paths with the Poppy Seeds Scatter Brush and reduce the Stroke Weight to 0.75 pt again.
After that, open the Stroke Options window and play mainly with the Scatter settings because the poppy seeds should be closer to the path this time.
These are the settings that I've used:
Here is a before (1) and after (2) image. Now we have more poppy seeds on the bagel letters.
9. How to Create the Shadow
In this step, you need the shapes that you used to mask the letters earlier in the tutorial, so select those shapes and Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) in order to get copies of them. Move these copies of the letters in a new layer behind the text effect. Now, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect four times.
Here are the settings for the four Drop Shadow effects in order:
10. How to Add Extra Poppy Seeds
You can add extra poppy seeds around the letters, but this is optional and part of the background. Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw a random path over the letters as shown in the following image, and move it to a new layer behind the shadows. Stroke it with the Poppy Seeds Scatter Brush, reduce the Stroke Weight to 0.75 pt, and change the brush settings as you did before.
When you are happy with the result, select this path and choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu. Now, enter Isolation Mode and clean up some of the areas where there are too many poppy seeds overlapping or you just don't like where they sit. Exit Isolation Mode when you are done.
The final thing is to select the group of poppy seeds in the background and apply a Drop Shadow effect.
Congratulations! You're Done
This is the final image of the bagel text effect. I hope this tutorial was fun, and if you decide to recreate this text effect, don't forget to share an image with us. I would love to see it.