The other day I posted a quick video clip to Instagram of me warming up my digital brush lettering in Adobe Illustrator using a Wacom Cintiq. I got over 200 likes and it’s still growing. Kinda blew me away! I got a lot of questions about how to do brush lettering with Adobe Illustrator so I thought I’d do a quick tutorial for you all right here!
Equipment I Use to Do Brush Lettering
First off, I have been using Adobe Illustrator for well over a decade and consider myself an expert, so getting used to the feel of drawing in it may not come super easy to you as first. Just be patient and practice.
Here is the equipment I use to do brush lettering with Adobe Illustrator:
- Adobe Illustrator CC 2015
- Wacom Cintiq 22HDT
I realize that a lot of people are using iPad Pros on Instagram to do their brush lettering, but alas I don’t own an iPad, and since I do so much of my illustration work in Illustrator with my Wacom Cintiq I can do pretty much the same thing. Just minus the portability. Some day!
The Video on How to Do Brush Lettering With Adobe Illustrator
I’ll gladly spell out a few of these steps after the video, but to make life easy for you all, I recorded this tutorial and hope that it makes a bit of sense for you. You do NOT need to go buy fancy brushes (in fact, I’ve never found any created for Illustrator for this purpose). I’ll show you how to change the settings on your brush.
Step by Step Tutorial on How to Do Brush Lettering with Adobe Illustrator
Okay first off, I do not know if lower versions of Illustrator will work. I am not sure how other tablets that are not Wacom brands will work with pressure. I only know what I use.
I am sure that some lower versions of Illustrator will probably work, you’ll just have to try. Yes, you can do this with other tablet models made my Wacom. I, however, was finally able to invest in the Cintiq and it’s been my favorite for illustration purposes.
Pen Pressure Settings
- Adjust your Wacom Pen Pressure Settings through your Apple Icon/System Preferences on a Mac. Locate the Wacom and double-click to open the preferences.
- For PC: To open the Wacom Tablet control panel, use the pen on the pen display: Windows. Click on the Windows Start button and choose ALL PROGRAMS. Then selectWACOM TABLET and choose the WACOM TABLET PROPERTIES option.
- From here, adjust the pen pressure setting to your liking. I tend to choose one click to the right of the center so that I still need to press firmly enough to get a thicker line.
Create an Adobe Illustrator Calligraphic Brush
- With your brush palette open (Window/Brushes), click on the drop down icon to the top right of the palette.
- Choose New Brush, and then click on Calligraphic Brush. Choose OK.
- For the Size Option, change the drop down option to Pressure. Here you can then adjust the variation size larger, to match the size. Choose OK.
Learn Brush Lettering
Now, you’re ready to start lettering. If you want to learn how to brush letter, I have a course, Becoming a Brush Lettering Badass, that will help you learn how to build each letter and even more.
You can also purchase my Brush Lettering Workbook if you want a practice source. You’re able to import your PDF pages into Illustrator and reduce the opacity to practice writing on top of the lines digitally.