Last week I posted a showcase of stunning chalk lettering designs, which gave me the inspiration to create some chalk typography myself. Unfortunately I neither have the talent or a chalkboard to produce authentic hand made chalk typography murals, but I’ve come up with a technique that designers can use to achieve realistic chalk lettering effects with their artwork. We’ll use the power of Illustrator to design a concept, then we’ll use some analogue tools to help capture the character of hand lettered art.

Realistic Chalk Effect

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a typography design with a realistic chalk lettered appearance. In my opinion, digital-only chalk effects just don’t cut it, but with this method we’re combining digital design with traditional analogue techniques. This means we have the best of both worlds; the ability to compose a design with the power of Edit > Undo, and authentic artistic effects that are only achievable with hand held tools.

Boot up Adobe Illustrator to begin our design concept. The great thing about digital design is you can undo any mistakes and easily move items around to compose your design, unlike traditional art where every move you make is permanent. Type out a quote and style it up with your favourite font.

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  1. Very clever!

    Had a hard time finding the ancient tool you call a “pencil”. Luckily I found a bunch at a nearby IKEA.

    I’m definitely going to use this method for designs like this!

  2. I like to take the designs into Photoshop and hit them with a grunge brush on a layer mask to make them look like chalk.

  3. Great post, wonderful how you brought back the hand draw elements. I use this workflow frequently. But as a suggestion, try scanning by using your phone, adds extra artifacts and slight distortions.

    Only learned this because I had to work with out a scanner for so long.

  4. Okay, Chris,

    I am not a “joiner” of many things, but one of these days soon, I’m going to become a Premium Member. If you’re GIVING AWAY this kind of stuff, the ‘paid for’ stuff has to be something!

  5. That was really clever. Thanks, Chris. I’ve been following your tutorials for quite a while now, but this one compelled me to comment. It’s so simple, yet effective. Nice!

  6. Chris, I find your blog posts getting better and better! This was an awesome post!!! Great idea- I can’t wait to try something like this.

  7. OMG it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…PENCIL! I actually do a lot of scanning, editing, printing and drawing over my work so I really appreciated this post combining hand art with digital. great post. Thank you for all of your tutorials. I always learn something new. :)

  8. (I want to have your babies LOL)

    THANK you for such kickass lessons – they are one of the reasons I make time to practice!

  9. Chris you are the best !!!
    Your talent is very impressive, many thanks for sharing with us your art work.

  10. Yet another deceptively simple tutorial with a very effective and useful end result. I just wanted to thank you for what you do with the site. I enjoy that your tutorials lack all of the overly detailed instructions so many other sites try to throw out. I’m not sure if it’s by design, or laziness, but certain steps are just murky enough that they don’t always work on the first try. After the initial frustration wears off and I spend some time really working with the program to fix whatever mistakes I’ve made, I come away with a much better understanding of not only ‘What’ I’m doing but also ‘Why’ I’m doing it. I hope the site stays popular and good things come your way bud!

  11. Very deeply explained tutorial! This shows your work quality and interest in your field.. Keep it up!!

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