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Digital Scrapbook Alphabet in Adobe Illustrator

Alphabets, or alphas, are a very popular scrapbook embellishment. Just as quilters cannot have too much fabric, scrapbookers cannot have too many alphas. In this tutorial, we will use the Pen tool in AdobeR IllustratorR to draw the letters of our alphabet and then create variations on the letters by changing the stroke and style characteristics.

  1. Start a new project in Illustrator. Set the Artboard to 8 x 8 inches, a resolution of 300 dpi and RGB color mode.

  2. Set the Fill to null and the Stroke to the color of your choice. We want the letters to have a medium thickness. Set the Stroke weight to 50 pts in the Control Panel.

    We will begin by drawing a capital A with the Pen tool. The A is made up of two vertical lines and one horizontal line. We will draw the two vertical lines first.

  3. Start at the bottom left of the Artboard and click with the Pen tool to set the first Anchor Point. Move up to the top right and click to set the second Anchor Point. Use this point's Direction Lines to make a smooth curve that will begin the downward swing.

  4. The third point will complete the downward swing. Click at the bottom center of the Artboard. Again use the Direction Lines to smooth the bottom curve.

  5. To set the last Anchor Point and create the small upward swing, click about one third above the bottom of the Artboard. We now have an open path. An easy way to complete an open path is to simply switch to the Selection tool.

    Our letter would look better if it had rounded ends. We can round the ends, called Caps, in the Stroke Panel. If the Stroke Panel is not visible, click Window Stroke.

  6. Click on the path with the Selection tool. In the Stroke Panel, click on the Round Cap button.

  7. To draw the horizontal line and complete the A, click about half way from the bottom of the Artboard on both sides of the vertical lines.

    Save your file. Now that we have completed the letter, we can create some variations. The easiest way to do this is to change the Stroke weight. With the Selection Tool, draw a rectangle around the A to select all paths.

  8. From the Control Panel, use the drop-down menu to change the Stroke weight to 100 pts. The letter should get very fat.

    You can get some interesting letter variations by applying different brushes to the paths. If the Brushes Panel is not visible, click Window Brushes.

  9. Again, draw a rectangle around the A to select all paths. In the Brushes Panel, browse through the different brushes. Click on the brush that you like and the paths should change to reflect the new brush. You may wish to adjust the weight of the paths for each new brush. Here are some examples.

    Watercolor Stroke 4
    Stroke Weight 2 pts

    Borders Novelty Streamers
    Stroke Weight 2 pts

    Repeat for each letter of the alpha.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Diane Cipollo. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Diane Cipollo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Diane Cipollo for details.


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