Illustrator vector tutorial: Summer text effect

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In this new tutorial you will learn how to create a summer inspired text effect in Adobe Illustrator.
Follow this tutorial and learn how to draw a fun text effect useful for summer illustrations, posters, cards and all sorts of prints. This effect is fully editable and this means that you can change the font or the settings at any time and Illustrator will automatically update the effect. Let’s start!

Tutorial Details
Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6 – CC 2019
Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate

Step 1
Launch Illustrator and open a new document. Type a name for your file and set up the dimensions then select Pixels as Units and RGB as Color Mode. Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px and while there, also go to Units. These settings will help you throughout the drawing process.

Step 2
Let’s begin by drawing the piece of text. Grab the Type Tool (T) and write “HELLO” and “SUMMER” on your artboard using the Cashew Cream Font, size of 150 pt. Under Set the tracking for the selected characters, choose a value of 20 and this will spread the letters a little.
https://www.dafont.com/cashewcream.font

Step 3
Keep the text selected, double click on Characters in the Appearance panel to see the existing attributes and then remove the black fill color. This will make your text invisible but this is exactly what we want.

Step 4
Select the text again and press the Add New Fill icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel in order to add a Fill attribute above Characters. Use the linear gradient shown set at -90 degrees to color the text.

Step 5
With the text still selected, press the Add New Fill icon again to add a second Fill attribute under the first one. Use yellow R=255, G=242, B=0; then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and apply an Offset of 2 px. This will make the yellow fill a little bigger and visible all around the blue text.

Step 6
Keep the text and the yellow Fill attribute selected, and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. In the 3D Extrude & Bevel Options window, set the coordinates as indicated, the Extrude Depth to 50 pt, the Bevel to None and the Surface to Diffuse Shading. Hit OK.

Step 7
Keep the text and the yellow Fill attribute selected, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Type 2 px in the Move Vertical field and this will move the yellow Fill a little downwards to make it more visible at the bottom of the text effect.

Step 8
Press the Add New Fill icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel to add a third Fill under the existing ones. Use orange R=255, G=157, B=0 and now, we will apply the Offset Path, 3D Extrude & Bevel and Transform effects just like for the yellow Fill.
Image
Here are the settings for the Offset Path, 3D Extrude & Bevel and Transform effects:

Step 9
While the text stays selected, press Add New Fill again in order to add a fourth Fill attribute at the bottom of the Appearance panel. Use red R=255, G=8, B=79 and now apply the Offset Path, 3D Extrude & Bevel and Transform effects like you did before.
Image
Here are the settings for the Offset Path, 3D Extrude & Bevel and Transform effects:

Step 10
Add a New Fill in the Appearance panel and move it under the first blue Fill. Use a yellow to white linear gradient at a 90 degrees Angle; then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path and apply an Offset of 2 px. This will create an outline around the blue Fill and brighten the text effect.

Step 11
Go to the Swatches panel and navigate to Swatch Libraries menu > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures. Find USGS 22 Gravel Beach and drag into your artboard. Double click on the object to enter the Isolation Mode and now you can select all the dots that compose the pattern tile. Change the existing black fill color with blue R=27, G=117, B=188. Exit the Isolation Mode and drag the new tile back into the Swatches panel to save a new pattern.

Step 12
Let’s get back to the text and press Add New Fill to add a new one at the top of the Appearance panel. Select the newly saved pattern from the Swatches panel which should be named New Pattern Swatch 1 by default. At this point the text effect should look like in the image below.

Step 13
Select the Stroke attribute at the top of the Appearance panel and use white to color it. Increase the Stroke Weight to 3 pt. Next, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and apply the Move settings shown in order to move this stroke a little upwards and to the left.
To soften the look of the white stroke, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 9.2 px. This will make it a lot smoother.

Step 14
Keep the text selected and go back to the red Fill you added earlier in the tutorial. Let’s create a shadow under the text effect by going to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown.

Step 15
It’s time to create the background. First, press the Create New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel in order to obtain a new layer. Move it under the layer with the text effect.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle having the same size as your artboard. Color it with beige R=232, G=205, B=142.
Next, use the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N) to draw a few wavy shapes on the background. Color them with white; then set the Blending Mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 75%.

Step 16
Use again the Pencil Tool (N) to draw similar wavy shapes but much thinner and position them at the top of the ones made in the previous step. Color them with cream R=253, G=235, B=204; then set the Blending Mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 75%.
Select the background rectangle and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Set it to stroke-none and fill-none. Keep this copy selected along with the thin wavy shapes and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). This will clean up the edges of our design.

Step 17
To enhance the beach background, you can add a bunch of tiny ellipses of different sizes and arrange them randomly on the artboard. Add as many as you want and then Group (Control-G) them to keep things organized in the Layers panel. Color these shapes with light brown R=232, G=205, B=142; then set to Blending Mode Multiply and 50% Opacity.

Step 18
Let’s add more shine on the text effect and improve the final look of the illustration.
Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a small white circle on some of the letters as shown in the image below. Next, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 15 px to make them smoother and also, change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Step 19
In the next steps you will learn how to create a simple sparkle that you can use in various situations to add shine.
Start by drawing a simple x-like shape using the Pen Tool (P). Color it with white and then apply a 7.5 px Gaussian Blur. Continue to draw a thin star-like shape on top and color it with white as well. This time we won’t apply a blurring effect.

Step 20
Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw a small circle in the center, color it with white and then apply a 15 px Gaussian Blur. This will create a discrete light.
Now, draw a bigger circle on top. Color it with white, apply a 15 px Gaussian Blur and then set the Blending Mode to Overlay. This will create a brighter light.

Step 21
Select and Group (Control-G) all the shapes that make up the sparkle and make copies of them. Arrange a few of them on the text in the upper side.

Step 22
Optional you can decorate the background with a sun and waves that you can simply draw using the Pen Tool (P) or the Pencil Tool (N). They make the final design more fun and colorful so it is worth the time.

Awesome work!
Here is the final image of the summer inspired text effect. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you learned new things today.

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