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Scribbled Text

Digitip 031 – Adobe Illustrator CS

In previous Illustrator tips I’ve covered the Appearance palette, possibly one of the most powerful tools in Illustrator. The following tip looks at how multiple fills and stroke effects can make my Bogus Text look snazzy… (am I having a creative moment??)

The text

Start by typing some ‘bogus’ text and format it (size, font etc.). I’ve used Chaparral Pro Bold at 93pts.

target bogus text

In the layers palette click the target next to text to select it (the double circle indicate you have targetted/selelected this object).

transparent text

Set the default Fill Colour to ‘none’ (Activate Fill, then press the ‘/’ on the keyboard). You text will now be ‘invisible’ and the baseline and target icon next to the text will indicate your text is still selected.

We’re ready to scribble now…

Scribbled stroke

From the Appaerance palette fly-out menu select “Add New Stroke”.

add new stroke

Then Select  Effects> Stylize > Scribble to apply your scribbling affect only to the text outline (stroke).

scribble options

I’m using a small scribble with minimal variation. Tick the preview box to see your effect on the selected text. Once you’ve got the desired look, click OK to apply the settings.

Wobbly fill

Now that the scribbling has been added, we’ll amend the fill settings. Click Fill in the Appearance palette and apply a fill colour (I picked Green).

select fill

Then with the Fill still selected in the Appearance palette apply a slight smooth zig zag effect to the fill shapes. Select Effects > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag.

zig zag settings

Again I’m applying a minimal zig zag effect (you’ll get some wierd effects if you overdo the zig-zagging…)

select fill

Now select the Fill again, and from the Appearance palette fly-out menu select “New Fill”.

add new fill

Apply a contrasting fill colour to this second fill (I picked yellow), this time we’re not zig-zagging or scribbling, instead we’ll apply a pretty decent feather to the fill.


With only your new Fill selected in the Appearance palette, select Effects > Stylize > Feather.

final result appearance palette

Using the Appearance palette, you can now still amend any of the scribble, zig-zag or feathering effects that were applied and amend any colours if needed.

bogus word scribbled

And if Bogus isn’t your favourite word, you can still alter the text to any other word or line of text you prefer.

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