All posts by LSA Recas + Creative Outlet

Use Fonts to Create a Bird in Adobe® Illustrator®

You don’t need to be an artist or illustrator to create unique, stylized illustrations. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create an illustration out of simple fonts.

Step 1
To create a stylized bird, start with two fairly common fonts: Times New Roman and Century Gothic, for example. You may use a serif and a sans-serif font to achieve a bit of variety with the letter forms. The hardest part is to figure out what letters will work for different parts of the bird’s body. To begin, select the Type tool and write random letters. Then narrow down the choices to letters that would best define the shape of the bird.


Step 2

For the body of the bird, you may use the uppercase Q in Times New Roman. The roundness of the oval will work well for the body, and the tail of the Q will be your bird’s tail feathers. This technique is similar to putting together a puzzle, assembling pieces and rotating or resizing them until they resemble a specific part of the bird’s anatomy. An uppercase W in Century Gothic forms the beak, while small Vs emulate texture for feathers. An uppercase J forms the legs/feet. Simply duplicating and reflecting the J creates a second leg.


Step 3

As the general shape takes form, it’s time to add details, such as in the eye. The eye is built from a lowercase C with a lowercase O forming the iris. The pupil is simply a period. The feather plume on top of the head is a large comma. Mix and match letter forms until you come up with shapes that make sense. Even with smaller letters, additional details may be added.


Step 4

Once you’re happy with the general look and layout of the letters, select all and go to Type > Create Outlines. This will convert the letters from text objects into outlined objects so they will display correctly no matter what the fonts or software on another computer.
To complete the bird, add a bit of color with an orange oval in the body, a yellow beak and a blue eye.

This is a really simple, fun technique of illustrating without using any drawing tools.

Create a Checkered Flag with Adobe® Illustrator®

Step 1

This is a simple technique for creating a checkered racing flag. Start by selecting the Rectangle tool in the tool palette. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and draw a perfect square box. This will form the skeleton of your flag. Now you need to give the flag a bit of contrast and dimensionality with a gradient color fill. In this example, a dark gradient of gray is blended into black and is angled diagonally.
With the color set, you now need to duplicate the box horizontally six times and vertically four times to create the flag shape. The easiest method to do this is to use the Shift-Option-drag method (on a Mac) or the Shift-Alt-drag (on a PC) to copy and drag a box directly to the right of the first box. Repeat until you have a horizontal row of seven boxes. After you have the first row created, simply select all seven boxes and use the same key commands to copy-drag the horizontal row vertically and build your five rows of boxes.
Once your rows have been created, you need to change the color in every other box to achieve the checkerboard pattern. To alter the color, select every other box and lighten the dark gradient into a diagonal gradient of medium gray to light gray.

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Create a Motion Effect with Adobe® Photoshop® CS

Step 1

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use a few simple techniques to add interest to a typographic headline. Start with the word “Race” using the font Impact. Add color to the type and slant it to create the impression of speed. Then duplicate this copy or layer so that you have two versions to work with.

Continue reading Create a Motion Effect with Adobe® Photoshop® CS

Creating Realistic Clouds in Adobe® Photoshop®

Step 1

You can create clouds in Photoshop using only one tool! Begin by creating a blank canvas and fill it with blue to simulate the sky. Now click on the Brush tool in the upper left-hand corner of the menu. Select a brush with a large diameter and no hardness. This will create a very “soft” and “fuzzy” brush. Set the opacity of the brush to around 45%. You want to keep it very subtle. The goal is to use a layering technique and build up the shapes of the cloud with the single brush.

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Creating Flat Color Texture in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

Interesting, detailed compositions can be created quickly using repetitive geometric shapes in Illustrator. In this example, you will use some very basic shapes to create a texture-rich flat color illustration: a primitive globe (just a circle and two rough-drawn continents), a small blue circle, two different rectangular shapes and a primitive tree shape (made from triangles).

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Is your design full of C.R.A.P.?

Don’t be mistaken. In the design world, C.R.A.P is a pretty well-known acronym for four very basic, yet highly important guidelines in graphic design: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. These four principals can help you simplify, improve and control your design for a more pleasing aesthetic for your viewer.


Continue reading Is your design full of C.R.A.P.?

Create a Spring Flower in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

There may be times when you need a graphic but don’t want to spend the time creating it from scratch. One method to speed up the process is to use a pre-made shape as a starting point. Letters or characters work perfectly for this. In this example, you can create a quick flower using an exclamation point as the basis for the shape. First, find a font that will work for the petals of the flower. Times New Roman has a rounded tapered shape that will work well for the petals.


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Create a Fast Abstract Graphic in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

This is a very quick and simple technique for creating abstract graphics. Begin by creating a simple shape. The shape can be a circle, square or a freeform shape. Adjust the color of the shape until you are happy with it. In this workshop, two graphics will be created—one using the square and a second one using the circle.

Continue reading Create a Fast Abstract Graphic in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Create Type Reflection in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

A word or phrase in Adobe Illustrator can be embellished quickly and easily with a reflection. This simple technique will add dimensionality to your type and make it stand out in your designs.

Begin by typing a word. In this example, the word “Reflection” is used. Change the color to blue and outline the text by going to Type > Create Outlines.

Step 2

Duplicate the word so that you have two versions of it. Select the copy and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. In the dialog box, select horizontal. Your two words should look like example A.

Now, position the upside-down copy directly underneath the original word, leaving a very small amount of space between it and the original word. See example B.

Step 3

The next step is to squish the “reflected” version of the word. Select the bottom (upside-down) word and double-click on the Scale tool in the Tool palette. In the dialog box, select Non-Uniform and set the vertical percentage to a low setting, such as 50%. Click OK. The resulting copy should look squished or slightly flattened.

Step 4

To complete the effect, adjust the color by assigning the bottom word a gradient. The gradient should be a smooth transition from white to light gray. You can also put a light blue to dark blue gradient on the original word as shown here.

The result should be a clean and crisp-looking type effect that stands out in your design.