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Giving a vector shape a rough edge without manipulating anchor points


Question

I’m looking to give my very smooth vector drawing a hand-drawn style.

When I say this, I don’t mean applying a texture over the top of the whole vector (like this).

A technique that would produce something like this would be what i’m looking for:

Breakfast (detail)
Author: Rob Clarke

2013/06/18
1
14
6/18/2013 6:29:00 PM

If you'd like to apply precisely some of these stroke effects on your vector text, I think the best way is to do it manually.

The stroke in Illustrator are sometime hard to predict and also very well known... it's easy to recognize them sometimes and you probably don't want to have your text look like it used a default stroke.

Here's a way to do it. You don't need to work on the anchor points and risk moving the curves of your text but it won't be editable anymore, so make a copy of the original text. If you need to keep the text editable then go at the end of this "tutorial."


Start

Let say this is what you want to modify.

original image without brush or grunge effect

1.

Find some brush stroke texture or whatever texture you want to apply on the edges of your text.

Example:

Brush stroke textures

2.

Trace it to make it a vector if it wasn't a vector already.

Image trace in Illustrator

You will get a perfect vector. Clean it to remove the white and transparent paths.

clean paths

3.

Make these new brush strokes or textures white, and apply them on the edges of your text, as you prefer. You might need to deform some of them and use only the edges of that stroke to get the same effect as on your example.

I added a bit of grunge on this example to show you it's the same concept. You can use any texture.

Apply grunge or brush effect to vector text

4.

Select your text and the new texture, and use the Pathfinder to divide all this! You can use the function you prefer on the pathfinder, I used Divide on my example.

Divide with pathfinder Adobe Illustrator

5.

Clean that new vector to remove the white and empty paths. Fastest way is to select a part of the white and do a "select same fill & stroke" and then delete. Do the same with a shape that has no stroke and no fill to remove the empty paths.

This is not exactly as your example but you can easily get there if you spend a few more minutes!

Final result

If you want to also add some brush strokes on every sides of your letters, you could use this technique to accentuate the edges, and use the standard brush strokes at very small size to make all your letter less even. You can find this in the menu "Window", then "Brush libraries", then select any style in "Artistic". In this screenshot below, it's the "Artistic Paintbrush." You can also use these stroke style at bigger size and move them separately on your text instead of doing the steps #1-2-3.

Add textured stroke to text

If you need to keep the text editable because you might need to modify it later, there's a cheap way to use the strokes without vectorizing your text.

You can duplicate the text you want to add stroke on, and vectorize this one ("Create Outline.) Then you can freely add the brush strokes mentioned above to it. It's not a perfect way but you can at least keep partly your text editable and simply add a new stroke when you need to update it, maybe even create an action for this.

I did the example with a yellow filling so you can see how it looks like. The text below the stroke is still editable.

Text stroke

2015/08/15
11
8/15/2015 6:57:00 AM