This blog post was previously published on our blog in 2009, and since it was so popular with our readers, we wanted to be sure the instructions were up-to-date. So we’ve updated this tutorial to be current with the most recent versions of Illustrator. Hope you enjoy revisiting this helpful tutorial in Illustrator CS6 & CC style. Want to see other articles revamped? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Here are some popular sketch fonts available that are great for grungy and hand-drawn designs and illustrations. My problem is, I want to be able to use this sketchy style in any font. Turn’s out, it is actually really easy to do in Illustrator. Moreover, you can create a Graphic Style and easily apply the style to other editable fonts to create your very own custom sketch font!
- Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6 – CC
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Topics Covered: Appearance panel, Graphic Styles
- Estimated Completion Time: 10 minutes
Below is an example of the sketch font we will be creating.
Create a new document and with the Text tool (T), type out some text with the font of your choosing. I am using Glypha Black as my font.
With the text selected, take off any stroke and fill. We are going to add a stroke and fill separate from each other in the Appearance panel in the next couple of steps.
With the no fill and no stroke text selected, open the pop-up menu in the Appearance panel, and chose Add New Fill. Keep the default black color of the fill.
Select the new fill in the Appearance panel, and go Effect > Stylize > Scribble. With the Scribble Options dialog open, change the Angle to 45, the Path Overlap to 0 px, the Path Overlap Variation to 2 px, the Stroke Width to 1 px, the Curviness to 0, the Curviness Variation to 50, the Spacing to 2 px, and the Spacing Variation to 1.5 px.
Select the Stroke option in the Appearance panel and give the text a 2 pt stroke.
With the Stroke still selected in the Appearance panel, go Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. In the Roughen dialog, change the Size to .5, select the Relative radial button, change the Detail to 30, and select the Smooth radial button for Point. This will give the stroke a little distress.
Now, we have a custom sketch font. Moreover, you can easily edit the font! To make this technique even more useful, let’s create a Graphic Style so we can quickly apply these effects to other fonts and text. First select your font and take a look at the Appearance panel. You can see all the effects in your type. Now, simply press the New Graphic Style Button in the Graphic Styles panel and name your new Graphic Style!
Now type out some more text and change the font. With the text selected, press the thumbnail of your new sketchy Graphic Style and see all the wonderful sketchy results!
You can apply the sketchy graphic style to other objects other than text. I also suggest playing around with the Scribble and Roughen effect settings. Post links to images in the comments with your results!