How to Create a Chalkboard Vector

Create a Chalkboard Type Treatment

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a chalkboard vector with some gradients, a bristle brush, and some freebies from Vector Mill! The tutorial is relatively simple and can be applied to many other Illustrator projects. Moreover, you can use the Vector Mill freebies in other projects!


 

Final Image

Below is the final chalkboard vector we will be shooting for.

Final Image

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS5
  • Difficulty: Beginner / Intermediate
  • Topics Covered: Grain Effect, Bristle Brush, Brushes
  • Estimated Completion Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Required Files: Vector-Mill-Sample.ai (compatibility CS4-CS5)

Step 1

Create a new document and create a rectangle with the Rectangle tool (M). This will be our chalkboard vector background.

Step 1

Step 2

Fill the new rectangle with a radial gradient, change the first color stop in the gradient to a green color, and the second color stop to a darker green color.

Step 2

Step 3

With the rectangle still selected, open the pop-up menu of the Appearance panel, and choose Add New Fill. Fill the new item with a light gray.

Step 3

Step 4

With the new gray fill item selected in the Appearance panel, go Effect > Texture > Grain. In the Grain dialog, change the Intensity to 60, the Contrast to 50, and the Grain type to Sprinkles. Next, expand the gray fill item in the Appearance panel, click the Opacity item, and change the Blending mode to Multiply.

If you are a vector purest, I created a set of Seamless Grain Textures in the Vector Mill February Crate that are 100% vector you should check out!

Step 4

Step 5

For this step, you need to download the Vector-Mill-Sample.ai file. This Concrete Texture we will be using comes from the February Crate. Open the file, Copy (Command + C) the big concrete texture, and Paste (Command + V) it over your green gradient. Fill the texture with white, set the Blending mode to Overlay and set the Opacity to 10 from the Transparency panel.

Step 5

Step 6

We are almost done with the chalkboard vector background texture, but let’s add a little more depth with a Bristle Brush. If you are still not on CS5 you won’t be able to create this step like in the tutorial. As an alternative, you can use some of the watercolor art brushes I created a while back.

If you have CS5, start by pressing the New Brush button at the bottom of the Brush panel and choose New Bristle Brush from the dialog. In the Bristle Brush Options dialog, make these changes:

  • Type = Round Fan
  • Size = 10 mm
  • Bristle Length = 150
  • Bristle Density = 75
  • Bristle Thickness = 50
  • Paint Opacity = 15
  • Stiffness = 100

Once you have these settings, select your Paintbrush tool (B) and draw some erratic overlapping paths on the chalkboard vector. That should do it for the background. Now onto the text!

Step 6

Step 7

With the Type tool (T), type out some text and choose a font. I’m using Vitesse Book for my text, but you can use whatever. After you have your text, remove the fill and stroke color. This makes it easier to use Appearance panel for the following steps.

Step 7

Step 8

From the pop-up menu of the Appearance panel, choose Add New Stroke and change the stroke color to white.

Step 8

Step 9

Now hop over to the Vector-Mill-Sample.ai file again and select the brushes. These brushes are part of the March Crate’s Conté Crayon Brush set. Copy both brushes and paste them into your document. They now should be available in the Brushes panel. With your new white stroke item selected, choose the VM-Conté-01-Closed brush. To make it look a little thicker, change the stroke weight to 2 pt.

Step 9

Step 10

For the fill of the text on this chalkboard vector, we need the last freebie in the Vector-Mill-Sample.ai file. This one is from the March Crate and is part of a Seamless Watercolor Paper Texture set. Copy the rectangle filled with the pattern from the freebie document to your document. Note: the rectangle has a couple of fills associated with it just so you can see the seamless pattern. The pattern swatch will automatically copy into your Swatches panel once you paste the rectangle shape into your document. So right after you copy it into your doc, you can delete it.

With your text selected, choose the VM-WC-Paper-Seamless-Rev-White pattern swatch for the empty fill item in the Appearance panel.

Step 10

Final Image

That is pretty much it for this chalkboard vector! Pretty easy, right? You can add more text, strokes, and other elements to your chalkboard vector like I did in the final image. I created the lines with the Line Tool (\), applied the VM-Conté-01-Open brush to them, and adjusted the stroke weight for the other text.

Final Image

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64 thoughts on “How to Create a Chalkboard Vector

  1. Great Tut Ryan. I’ve never messed too much with custom brushes in Illustrator. This inspires me to do so. Awesome chalkboard background that doesn’t look “vectory” at all…smooth and photoshop-like with scalability. Nice work.

  2. Thanks for the great tutorials! Your website has some of my favorite tutorials. Would you consider making a tutorial on how to create a logo in the style of the “vector mill” logo that you have? You know- the old world style effect that your logo has? It’s so neat! And I’m sure others like it too!

  3. This is awesome! It looks as though the link to the sample files is dead, and it’d be really awesome to give your tools a try. Thanks!

  4. I have problem with step 6. Since I’m using CS3, so need to download water colour artbrush. But when I fill white colour, the brush will turn invisible. So it’s impossible for me to get the same result as in Step 6: Paintbrush tool (B). Any idea?

  5. This is a great tutorial; thanks! The file size is quite large when it’s all completed. Does anyone know of a good strategy to reduce the file size?

  6. This was awesome! It was great all the way up until the end, I couldn’t import the pattern to apply to the text fill. Great stuff, though- thanks for sharing!

  7. what a ride, from crash through crappy outline messing, to troubles with the pattern fill, till it all matches together … that great feeling that you’ve learned something i’ve wanted to learn for a long time ! thx ; )

  8. I am new to Illustrator…
    On step 5, how exactly do you fill the texture to white? I have managed to execute all of the steps up until this point.

  9. Thanks so much for this great tutorial. Steps 8-10 didn’t go exactly the same but I was able to get it to work out fine. Now I have a great chalkboard!

  10. This is the second time I have been unable to finish tutorials from this website and I not going to bother next time. Either there is not enough information between steps or in this case completely different end products.

    The brush effect is not even the same and the grain like effect is pixelated as hell. I just shut down it and didn’t bother proceeding any further. That’s half an hour I won’t get back again.

    Camtasia studio man!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get it!

  11. I’m stuck in Step 5. I don;t know how to perform the blending mode action. I m using AI CS5 and I’m trying to create a chalkboard background at 11″ x 17″ for my magazine (cover spread).

  12. Need to explain how to apply the brushes to the stroke of the text. This tutorial is pointless without instructions for each step. You got lazy and decided to skip over it.

  13. I think everything posted made a bunch of sense. But, what about this?

    suppose you were to create a awesome post title?
    I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your website, but what if you added a post title
    to possibly get people’s attention? I mean Create a
    Chalkboard Type Treatment | Vectips is kinda boring. You ought
    to glance at Yahoo’s front page and note how they
    create news titles to get people to click. You might add a video
    or a pic or two to grab readers interested about
    everything’ve got to say. In my opinion, it would make your posts
    a little livelier.

  14. Once you’ve tried this, I’m sure you’ll realise that although it looks pretty cool, you could go to your local hardware store, buy some chalkboard paint, paint a wall in your house/apartment (or even just a big piece of wood you can put aside), and experiment with the REAL THING. Nothing beats the old-school approach. It’ll look better, 10 times out of 10.

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