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Add a crayon effect to your illustrations

An Adobe Illustrator CC tutorial Published on creative , digital

I love the cleanliness and flexibility of vector illustration. But sometimes, it just feels… too perfect. The grit and texture that come with raw sketches usually get lost translation.

Today, I'll show you how to easily bring your creations to life with a crayon effect, using Adobe Illustrator only.

Let's get started! 🚀

Before and after illustration
Before > after

Step 1

Open a copy of your original vector illustration in Adobe Illustrator. (Wouldn't want any accident happening, right? 😘)

Step 2

Open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and check Show Art Brushes in the panel menu.

Select your favorite brush!
Select your favorite brush!

Select the stroke you would like to convert into a crayon line, scroll down the brushes and choose your favorite one. (So many brushes! 🖌)

Repeat for all the vector strokes you'd like to convert into brush strokes.
Repeat for all the vector strokes you'd like to convert into brush strokes.

All vector strokes have been converted into brush strokes.

Step 3

In this example, I'd like to add a brush stroke around the face to define it better. To do so, begin by making a copy of the face shape layer (here called "skin").

Copy of the skin layer
Copy of the "skin" layer
Swap the swatches
Swap the swatches

With the layer selected, convert the shape into a stroke by swapping the Fill and Stroke swatches (Shift + X). You now have your outlining stroke! (Yaay 🎉)

Feel free to edit the color and line weight to see it better.

Step 4 (Optional)

Let's say you don't want your newly created stroke to completely outline the face shape (because that would just look weird). Let's see how we can manage to have a clear hairline at the top with ✂

Use the Scissors tool (C) to cut two endpoints on your stroke to delete that unwanted upper stroke.

Select endpoint #1…
✂ Select endpoint #1…
…and endpoint #2
…and endpoint #2
See? No more stroke!
See? No more stroke!

Once you have your final stroke, convert it as previously done (Step 2) into a brush stroke.

Step 5

Add some details to your illustration to bring it to life. Here, I've added definition to the hair and pink to the cheeks. And I got this flawless self-portrait as a result 💁‍♀️

So flawless.
So flawless.

Step 6

Before celebrating the creation of your masterpiece, convert your entire illustration to an outline (Object > Path > Outline Stroke).

This will make sure that all the proportions stay the same, even if you scale your illustration up or down. (Yep, I'd rather stay the same size everywhere…)

Outlining makes sure to keep the proportions right.
Outlining makes sure to keep the proportions right.

And ta-da! 🎉

Final result
Good job guys 👍

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