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Shoe Lace Text in Illustrator (2 Parts)

Posted on 6th September 2018
For this Tutorial, we are going to use the image of a “Shoe” or a pair “Shoes” and the Free Font “Nickainley-Normal”.

1 - In Illustrator, create a “New Document”. Go to View > Show Grid (Command/Control + ‘) to Turn On the “Grid”.

2 - Select the “Line Segment Tool” (L) and click on top of your canvas to open the dialog box. Use a “Length” of 9 Pixels with a 270° “Angle”. Select the “Width Tool” (Shift + W) and choose the width profile number one from the top menu. Click and drag middle “Anchor Point” to make the middle thicker. Once you’re happy, go to Object > Expand Appearance” to create a shape.

3 - in the appearance panel click on the “Effects” Menu, navigate to Warp > Flag…  and use a “Vertical Bend” of 20% and a “Vertical Distortion” of 9%. Next, back to Effects > Distort & Transform > Transform using a “Rotate” Angle of 45°. Make sure that “Transform Object” box is the only one checked.

4 - Head back to the effects menu in the appearance panel and apply another instance of “Transform”. Click on “Apply New Effect” when prompted. Check the “Preview” Box, use a “Vertical Move” value of 6 Pixels and make 2 “Copies”. Apply another “Transform” Effect, this time check the “Reflect Y” Box also and use a “Horizontal Move” of 7 Pixels and a “Vertical Move” of 3 Pixels and 1 “Copy”. Finally, go to Object > Expand Appearance.

5 - Select the “Rectangle Tool” (M), and draw a Rectangle that starts in the center of the Topmost Path and ends in the center of the Bottom one. Fill it with a Light Gray, right-click on top of it and navigate to Arrange > Send to Back. Fill your shapes with White and make the “Stroke” a Medium Grey, make them 0.25 pt and “Align Stroke to Inside”. Expand your shapes.

6 - Select and drag your rectangle to a side while holding the “Alt/Option” and “Shift” keys to duplicate it. Make it bigger (in “Height”) and select the “Add Anchor Point Tool” (+) to add an “Anchor Point” in the center of the bottom portion the rectangle.

7 - Use the “Direct Selection Tool” (A) with your new Anchor Point and hit the “Down” Arrow key a few times. Then, use the “Anchor Point Tool” (Shift + C) to turn it into a “Curved” angle. Fix the curve by adjusting the “Handles”.

8 - Select the “Rectangle Tool” (M), and draw a Rectangle on the bottom curved part of the Shape you were working with. Fill it with a Medium-Dark Grey.  Make a “Copy” (Command/Control + C), “Paste” it in Front (Command/Control + F) and while keeping the same “Height” make the “Width” much smaller and fill it with a Medium Grey. The idea is to recreate a “Shoe Lace” tip. Rotate the whole thing, select everything, drag it to a side while holding the “Alt/Option” and “Shift” keys to duplicate it, then, Reflect the duplicate.

9 - Select the original Group of Shapes and drag it to the “Swatches Panel” to create a new “Pattern”. Do the same with the reflected one. Click on the “Edit Pattern” button at the bottom of the “Swatches Panel” and the rename your first “Pattern” to “End 1”, click “Cancel” in the upper Menu and repeat with the second “Pattern” naming it “End 2”.

10 - Select the Square and Shapes, rotate them horizontally and duplicate them. Select the bottom right Shape, head to the “Appearance Panel” and apply a “Transform Effect” using a value of 6 pixels for “Horizontal Move” and 1 “Copy”. Do the same with the top left Shape using a -6 Pixels “Horizontal Move” this time. Expand Appearance and Ungroup as many times as needed to have each shape alone.

11 - Make sure that the edges of the rectangle at the bottom coincide with the center of the top shapes you can have a Seamless Pattern if they overlap. Select everything and in the “Pathfinder Panel” choose “Merge”.

12 - Create a Rectangle that covers the portions of the Shapes that sit outside the Bottom Rectangle. Select all and in the “Pathfinder Panel” choose “Trim”. You may need to “Ungroup”, then repeat with the other side and delete that rectangle when you’re done.

13 - Open the “Brushes Panel, click on the “Create a New Brush” button at the bottom of the Panel, choose “Pattern Brush” and click “OK”. Name it “Lace”, choose “None” for the “Outer Corner Tile”, “End 2” for “Start Tile” and “End 1” for “End Tile”.

14 - Test your new “Lace” brush using the “Brush Tool” (B) and fix anything that may seem wrong.

15 - Go to File > Place and navigate to the image of shoes you want to use, select it and click “Place”. Click on top of your Canvas and resize it if needed.

16 - We needed to remove some of the image so we used the “pen Tool” (P) to create a “Path” around the shoes (make sure “Fill” and “Stroke” are set to “None”), then select both and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Command/Control + 7). Lock your layer by clicking on the small “Padlock” to the left of its thumbnail then “Create a New Layer” by clicking on the small button at the bottom of the Panel.

17 - Select the “Type Tool” (T), choose your Font (we used Nickianley) and type your text. Once you are done, go to Object > Lock Selection (Command/Control + 2).

18 - Use the pen Tool (P) to trace the text with a 1 Point Stroke in a bright contrasting color. Then, use the “Direct Selection Tool” (A) to fix your text.

19 -  Once you are happy, choose your “Lace” Brush from the Top Menu. If you notice some spots that need adjusting, use the “Direct Selection Tool” (A) to fix them. Remember to hit “Enter” in order to close the path.

20 - Use the “Anchor Point Tool” (Shift + C) to change straight angles to curves (like the “a”). Move some of the “Ends” to hide them and pull others out to show them better.

21 - To make the capital “L” longer, click on top of one “End Point” with the “Pen Tool” (P), then you can add more “Anchor Points” to that letter.  Get the end of the shoelace to the holes in the shoes.

22 - Once you are happy, go to Object > Unlock All (Shift + Command/Control + 2) and delete your text. Select all the “Lace” letters and right-click on top of them, then choose “Group” (Command/Control + G). Head to the “Appearance Panel”, click on the “Effects Menu”, choose “Drop Shadow” and use the following values.

23 - Your text should look similar to this.

by @lornacane

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