What You’ll Be Creating
“There’s no place like home…”
Dorothy whispered those words, and with three clicks of her sparkly ruby
slippers, she was back in Kansas again. It’s an iconic movie moment, one we
couldn’t neglect in our series of Wizard
of Oz-themed tutorials.
So in this tutorial, we’ll walk through creating a typographic
illustration using the “No Place Like Home” quote. Since The Wizard of Oz film is set in the early 1900s (and L. Frank
Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the
novel it’s based on, was published in 1900), we’ll be using a vintage style inspired
by typography from that era.
1. Get Inspired
Check out these typographic
pieces from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Vintage Me Oh My, a
blog that curates examples of vintage graphic design, is a great resource if
you’re looking for authentic inspiration.
I know some of these look pretty
ornate and complicated, but rest assured—we won’t be using pen-and-ink or
paints to craft our design by hand like they did back then. However, we will
borrow some simplified shapes and styles, and apply some neat tricks and
textures to give our final result an antique, hand-drawn look.
2. Set Up
Before we get started, you might
want to download the resources we’ll be using to complete the tutorial. They’re
all free, and you can download them at the links below:
- Fonts: Harrington, akaPosse, Fletcher Gothic, Smythe
- Textures: Vector Texture Pack, PaperTexture
Also, don’t forget to download
the graphics that go with this tutorial (see the Download Attachment button
to the right). Inside the file, you’ll find several decorative elements that I’ve
created to expedite the process, since we’ll be focusing mainly on the
typography for this particular project.
Open up an 8 x 10 in. document in Adobe Illustrator.
It’s always a good idea to create your project in a size that’s easy to print
and frame, in case you end up wanting to hang it up yourself, give it as a gift,
or even sell it as an art print.
Next, we’ll set up the background in preparation
for arranging our typography. We’ll place all our elements in black to start
out, and add color later.
Place the ruby slipper graphic
(from the attached file) and size it (proportionally, holding down Shift) to
fill most of the bottom corner of the page. Use the Ellipse Tool to draw a
circle to fill most of the width of the page (mine is 530 px in diameter).
Position it to overlap with the slipper just below the ribbon.
Adjust the stroke on the circle to 10 pt. See
where the circle overlaps with the shoe, cutting through the white space around
the ribbon? Select the Path Eraser Tool (you’ll find it under the Pencil Tool;
click-hold, and a secondary menu will pop up) and, making sure the circle
is still selected, erase the part of the circle that overlaps.
3. Arrange the Typography
Before we begin this section,
make sure you’ve downloaded and installed all the fonts we’ll be using (linked above under
Since “home” is the focus of this
quote, we’re going to make it the focal point of our illustration. It will be
the biggest word in our layout, and we’ll place it first, then arrange the rest
of the words around it.
First, type a capital ‘H’ by itself, since it will be
in a different typeface than the rest of the word. We’re using Harrington as our font,
at a size of about 305 pt. Place it in the bottom left of the circle. Then type out ‘OME’ in all capital
letters—this time, using akaPosse
at a smaller size, 128 pt.
Next, we’re going to add a warp effect to ‘OME’ so its shape matches the slant of the slipper. Go to Effect >
Warp > Rise and set Bend to 36%.
Open the Character menu and change the Tracking
setting to 75 to make the spacing between the letters a little wider. After you
do this, ‘HOME’ probably won’t look centered within the circle anymore, but
that’s all right, because we still have a couple of adjustments to make.
The ‘H’ seems a little lightweight next to the bold
letters of ‘OME’, so fatten it up a bit by adding a 7 pt stroke, the same way we
adjusted the stroke on the circle earlier.
Now, to me, the ‘H’ looks too wide, so I clicked
on it and pulled in one of the middle handles on the side to make it a little
skinnier. That way, I was able to move the ‘H’ down to fill the bottom corner of
the circle a little better. As a last small adjustment, I clicked on ‘OME’ and,
using one of the corner handles, rotated it slightly counter-clockwise so the ‘O’
dips down and fills that angle created by the ‘H’ and slipper. After you’re done,
you should end up with something like this:
Type out ‘like’ in lower case
letters, choosing the font Smythe
at 110 pt.
Now, warp the text like we did for ‘OME’, going to
Effect > Warp > Rise and setting Bend to 30%.
Position it down in the corner
created by ‘HOME’, leaving about as much vertical space between ‘like’ and ‘OME’ as there
is between ‘OME’ and the slipper.
Type out a capital ‘P’ using the font Fletcher Gothic
at 200 pt. Add an 8 pt stroke. Position the ‘P’ so its stem lines up diagonally with the ‘H’ as shown below.
Type out ‘LACE’ in capital letters,
using akaPosse at 110 pt.
Apply a warp effect to ‘LACE’ (again using Effect
> Warp > Rise), setting the Bend to 57%. Don’t click OK yet… this time, we’ll also adjust
another warp setting, the Horizontal Distortion. This makes the letters get
slightly larger as you move left to right. Set that to 25%.
Type out ‘no’ in lowercase
letters, using Smythe at 75 pt.
This time, instead of warping the
word, we’re going to rotate it and shear it, which will make it look italicized.
First, rotate ‘no’ counter-clockwise so it’s at
approximately the same slant as LACE. Then, select Object >
Transform > Shear and type
20 into the Shear Angle box.
Position ‘no’ approximately in
the center of the white space remaining at the top of the circle. We’ll be adding
embellishments around it later.
We’re going to place ‘There’s’ in
the top corner of the page, using more shearing and warping effects, so it
wraps around the curve of the circle.
Type out a capital ‘T’ using
Fletcher Gothic at 205 pt.
Notice how the ‘T’ has a little curved piece on the end? We want that curve to match the curve of the
circle, so we’re going to shear it, just like we did with ‘no’.
First, rotate the ‘T’ counter-clockwise, so that curve
on the bottom aligns with the slope of the circle. Now select Object >
Transform > Shear and type 30 into the Shear Angle box. This will straighten
the ‘T’ back out, while keeping that curve at the bottom.
Move the ‘T’ to a place where the bottom curve fits
the edge of the circle nicely. Rotate slightly or adjust the length to improve
the fit if you like.
Type out ‘here’s’ using Smythe at 110 pt. Rotate
counter-clockwise to fit in the space between the ‘T’ and the circle.
Select Object > Transform > Shear and type 15
into the Shear Angle box.
Select Effect > Warp > Arc
Lower and change the Bend to -30%.
And here’s what we’ve got so far:
4. Add Color
Now we’re at the point where we
get to add some finishing touches that really pull the design together—first,
color. Our color palette is inspired by a vintage poster from 1893 by French
painter Jules Chéret.
I think it will work nicely for this project, with a combination of the red (We
have to have “ruby” for that slipper, right?) and muted colors that will help
create an antique look. You could also try any other color scheme that strikes
your fancy, if you’re so inclined.
If you’d like to try this one,
below you’ll find the hex codes for each color that you can plug into
Illustrator’s Color Picker window (just select the object you want to apply a color
to; double-click on the Fill square at the bottom of your toolbar; and in the
new window that opens, type the code into the box that has a number sign in
front of it). Once added, you can drag a color from the Fill square into your
Swatches menu for easier access.
First, select everything you have on the page so
far (Command/Control-A) and select Type > Create Outlines. With everything still selected, go to Object >
Because the circle, the ‘H’, and
the ‘P’ all have strokes, we have to do a little extra to get them ready for a
color change. Select all three (you can hold down Shift as you click to select
more than one object at once), and then go to Object > Expand. Making sure
the boxes labeled Fill and Stroke are both checked, click OK.
Now go to Window > Pathfinder, and in the window
that pops up, select Unite (the first button in the top row). This will put all
three items in a group, which we don’t want, so go to Object > Ungroup.
First, we’ll add a neutral background. Create a
new layer and drag it down to be the first/bottom layer. In this layer, using the
Rectangle Tool, draw a rectangle the same size as the page using the beige color,
the layer so it doesn’t move around on you (in the Layers panel, click the
empty box next to the eye icon).
Now, select the slipper and click Object > Arrange
> Bring to Front. Then change the color to the red,
Select ‘HOME’, ‘PLACE’, and ‘There’s’.
Change the color to the navy blue,
Select the circle, ‘no’, and ‘like’. Change the color
to the lavender-gray shade,
5. Apply the Finishing Touches: Textures & Other Embellishments
We’re going to be adding a few
different types of texture to give our design a vintage, inky, printed look.
Illustrator’s Roughen tool is one
of my favorites. You can use it to give the objects or text in your design some
roughness around the edges—from subtle to dramatic. Let’s try it:
Select everything on the page. Go to Effect >
Distort & Transform > Roughen. Play around with the settings until you
like the amount of roughness it creates. After clicking OK, if you want to try
different settings, you can adjust them by going to Window > Appearance and
clicking Roughen, which will re-open the window. You can see the settings I
chose in the screenshot below:
You probably noticed that I
included several decorative elements in the same file where you got the ruby
slipper illustration. Now we get to use those. Place them in the positions
indicated below; they’re already the right size for the layout, so you just have to copy and paste them over. Change the color to lavender-gray /
If you’d like to draw your own
embellishments instead to fill up some of those blank spaces, go for it!
If you haven’t already, download
this free vector texture pack. Inside, there will be three Adobe Illustrator (AI)
files. We’ll be using the ones labeled ‘texture 1’ and ‘texture 2’.
Open a new layer and place one of the textures
(File > Place and find the file on your computer). A window will pop up
displaying the texture; click OK.
The texture will be black. Click the
Edit Contents button, which will select all the individual pieces of the
texture. Change the color to beige /
Now rotate the texture 90 degrees. (Object >
Transform > Rotate; Type in 90 and hit Enter / Return.) The texture is about the same
size as our document, so just center it over the page.
Repeat the same process for the
second texture. When you’re done, lock the layer that has the textures. You’ll
have some nice grittiness that looks like this:
Now, we’re going to add some
structure back in where the textures are the heaviest, placing an inner stroke
on ‘PLACE’ and ‘HOME’ to tone done the graininess.
Select ‘PLACE’ and ‘HOME’ and copy them (Command/Control-C).
Paste them in a new layer using Edit > Paste in Front (Command/Control-F). It
will temporarily look as if you’ve covered up the texture.
With the words still selected, click
the Swap Fill and Stroke arrow (Shift-X).
Open the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke or
Command/Control-F10). Under the Align Stroke option, click the middle button, Align
Stroke to Inside. Adjust the stroke weight until you’re happy with how it
looks; I like 7 pt.
We’re going to re-create the
offset text effect that we see in our first inspiration picture (Lion Coffee).
See how there’s a cool combination of negative space and shadow that’s offset
from the main letters of ‘Lion’? That’s the effect we’re after.
Create a new layer, and drag it down to be your second layer (right above the beige background layer).
Copy ‘HOME’ and Paste in Back (Command/Control-B) of your
new layer. Change the color to lavender-gray /
#8A6E78 and use your arrow keys to move it
down and to the right of the main letters, so it looks like a shadow.
Copy this shadow and Paste in Front on the same
layer. Change the color to beige /
#EFEAD9. This time, shift it up (to be about even
with the navy blue ‘HOME’) and slightly left with your arrow keys.
We’re almost done! The final
finishing touch to give our design an authentically vintage look is to overlay
an old paper texture. Illustrator actually has options similar to Photoshop’s blending modes, so we don’t even have to switch design programs.
If you haven’t already, download this paper texture.
Place it in a new layer (make sure this layer is the topmost one), and size it to cover the whole page.
With this texture selected, open
the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency). Select Soft Light from the
drop-down menu, and keep the opacity at 100%.
Duplicate the paper texture, copying and pasting it right on top of what
you’ve already done. This time, change the transparency settings to Darken at
And that’s it! (P.S. You’ll
notice that I changed ‘There’s’ from blue to red—last minute, I decided that
balanced out the ruby slipper better. Feel free to do the same or keep it blue; as artists and designers, that’s our
Click Your Heels Together
I hope this tutorial helped you
learn some techniques and tricks that that will be helpful for future design and illustration
projects. Adobe Illustrator is packed with tools you can use to customize your
typography, like the Warp and Roughen effects we used for this project, and experimenting
with them can produce some great results. Feel free to share how your project
turned out or ask questions in the comments section. Happy designing!