Thanks for following along with the Month of Sundays Drop Cap Project! For our fourth episode:
Creating the Letter
- Adobe Illustrator (CS4+) and the Sunday Best Complete Family
- Intermediate knowledge of Illustrator
- Create a new document in Adobe Illustrator.
- Using the type tool, create your letter. Choose a color and make the font Sunday Best Fancy No Frills.
- In the layer palette, duplicate the letter three times in place. (File > Copy; File > Paste in Front) You should now have four identical layers with the same letter.
- Each layer is as follows, from bottom to top: (Each layer is a different color)
- Sunday Best Fancy Shadow Sketch – Stylistic Set 1
- Sunday Best Fancy Shadow 3D – Stylistic Set 1
- Sunday Best Fancy No Frills
- Sunday Best Fancy Embellished Highlight – Stylistic Set 1
- Expand the Shadow 3D layer (Right click > Create Outlines.) Using the pathfinder palette, choose divide. Choose colors for the shadow path and the inner letter shape, and delete the rest of the paths created by the divide function. (For the screenshot, I’ve hidden the other type layers.)
- Select the shadow path of the divided 3D layer and move the Shadow Sketch layer directly underneath it in the layer palette. Select both and create a clipping mask. (Right click > Create Clipping Mask.) Reapply a color to the clipping mask. Here’s what it looks like with the other type layers I created:
- Next, select the Embellished Highlight type layer. In the Appearance palette, add two fills and make them each a different color. The top fill is the main color and the bottom fill will act as a shadow. Select the bottom fill and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. I used -2 pt /-0.0278 inches in the horizontal “Move” setting.
- For the frame: Select the rectangle tool, and starting in the middle of your drop cap, draw a square around it so that it is centered. With this simple frame selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and enter -5 pt. Now you have two square paths framing your drop cap. Give each frame a fill color and select the inner frame.
- With the inner frame selected, pull out your appearance palette again. Add two strokes to the inner frame in the appearance palette, using the same color scheme as the Embellished Highlight type layer. Selecting the bottom stroke, apply a similar transform effect to what you did to the Embellished Highlight type layer. (I used -1 pt instead of -2)
- Last, create a 3D shadow by duplicating the outer frame. Use your arrow keys to move the “shadow” down and to the right an equal amount, then use your pen tool and direct select tool to move points to the top right and bottom left corners of the outer frame.
- Use the OpenType palette (Window > Type > Opentype) to enable Stylistic Sets/Alternates.
- Another way to do this is to use the Glyphs palette (Window > Type > Glyphs).
- The appearance palette is a very convenient place to “store” all of your text, fill, and stroke effects. It keeps all your effects and text organized and editable. You can even save appearances as styles to use in the future by using your styles palette.
Thanks for following along! If you want, you can download the drop cap as a high-resolution PNG file. Sunday Best will be on sale on Etsy for a limited time! Enter coupon code SUNDAYBEST65 at checkout until August 1, 2014 to purchase Sunday Best for 65% off.
You can also check out Sunday Best on Creative Market, $25 until May 1, 2014.