Create your own hand lettering using a variety of techniques and tools from combining shapes and converting text to outlines, to editing with the Eraser tool.

What you learned: How to import a sketch to use as a guide and create letterforms from shapes, use the Pencil and Eraser tools, as well as starting from a font and customizing it

Import a sketch

If you’ve sketched out your hand lettering, you can import that image into Illustrator and use it as a guide to trace over. 

  • Tap Import in the toolbar to place a sketch you created.
  • In the common actions bar, adjust the opacity to make it more transparent and lock the object. 

Start with shapes

To create letterforms, you can start with simple shapes and combine them in different ways.

  • Create a series of shapes that follow the outline of a letterform.
  • Use Shape Builder to combine shapes permanently or Pathfinders to combine shapes that are still individually editable.
  • Double-tap those shapes to edit them in isolation mode with the Direct Selection tool.

Draw and refine with the Pencil  and Eraser tools

If you want to create more freeform letterforms with curves, you can draw and edit existing letterforms with the Eraser tool.

  • Select the Pencil tool and set the smoothness in the toolbar — 0 for precise paths and 10 for clean curves. 
  • Draw curves and straight lines with the Pencil tool to further refine each letter.
  • With artwork selected, remove using the Eraser tool.

Outline a font

You can also select a font that is similar to your letterform sketch and use it as a starting point.

  • With the Type tool, add text to your project.
  • Tap the Type menu in the taskbar to choose Outline Text.
  • In isolation mode, edit the new paths.
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