Hand lettering typography illustrations are really cool, but it takes a lot of skill to craft authentic artworks by hand with pen and paper. Typically this style of art is created by elite illustrators, but I’ve found an entirely digital technique that allows us mere mortals to create cool looking artwork too! Follow this step by step Illustrator tutorial to learn how to manipulate text within a silhouette shape and add texturing to produce a realistic hand drawn style typography illustration.

Hand lettering style typography illustration

After releasing last week’s free meat cut illustrations I received a few enquiries from people asking how they were made, so today’s tutorial is based on the same technique. We’ll be creating a trendy hand lettering style quote illustration, except with this method there’s no hand lettering required! Usually this artwork would be carefully hand drawn and scanned, but instead we’re going to cheat and use digital techniques to safely tweak the text until we’re happy then fake that analogue look with textures.

The quote I’ve chosen to depict in this typography illustration is “Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam” from the classic Home on the Range song, so an image of an actual buffalo suits this quote perfectly. I’m using this public domain image as a reference. Paste in your reference image and reduce the opacity to around 50%.

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  1. Marvelous tutorial! I think it’s great way to create posters, quotes, stylish modern art, even logo. Thank you Chris!!!!! Your blog is very inspirational!

  2. I had to laugh when I saw how you made the typography on the buffalo. It’s so easy if you know how to do it.

    Now I know how to create better typography prints.

    Thank you for this really helpful tutorial.

  3. I have no words to say about your creativity as you described easiest way of typography. Thanks for sharing such a impressive post here.

  4. Spoongraphics.co.uk is awesome site and produce quality posts always. We always keen to read your tutorials.

  5. Just wondering can this be done just in Photoshop too? New to designing and only have photoshop at the current time. I love the technique!!! Great job!!!

  6. That worked out great for me…my only problem is I used too many points when doing my initial outline so my animal legs are little jagged. Is there an easy way in illutrator to smooth it out? stroke seems to only help if i bump it up to around 40pt.

  7. Hi chris! very helpful tutorial, although I’m not familiar with AI i prefer coreldraw and was wondering if I could do the same in coreldraw? any tips would be helpful thanks!

  8. Thank you for the great tutorial! It was very easy to follow! I used a picture of a black cat and a pumpkin patch background to create a Halloween event poster.

  9. Great tutorial as always. Digital options for fonts, typography and design in general are starting to loose ground to more manual/artistic creations. This is a great way to use a mixture of digital and manual (because I think it`s the human that makes the warp look good not Illustrator) and the result is amazing. Can`t wait to try this :)

  10. Thanks for another creative tutorial. I don’t have any projects in mind for using this yet but I’m sure ill be able to apply it somewhere in the future.

  11. I have really enjoyed the content that you share. I will also say that the frequency of your sending is great as well. You always seem to have something great to share. Thanks a bunch!

  12. I absolutely love this tutorial! I’ve always wanted to try this, but I’ve been afraid to do it by hand. I’m going to try it digitally now. I love the results!

  13. Thank you so much for these incredible tutorials – I’m so excited about trying out these techniques :)

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