Learn how to create a 3D effect for hand-drawn letter

Now try it yourself

1. Double-click the Pencil Tool to open the Pencil Tool Options. Set Fidelity to Smooth and click OK.


Tip: By default on the toolbar the Paintbrush Tool is selected. Click and hold the icon and a context menu will show you the other available tools. Click on the Pencil Tool to select it.


2. Draw a letter or something different in a single stroke. For applying a 3D effect it is important that you use a single stroke or path for drawing each letter. Optional: Use our custom alphabet to create your lettering.

Preparing the 3D effect

3. Choose the Ellipse tool and Shift+drag to draw a circle. Holding the Shift key forces the Ellipse tool to draw an ellipse with identical width and height - a perfect circle.


Tip: By default on the toolbar the Rectangle Tool is selected. Click and hold the icon and a context menu will show you the other available tools. Click on the Ellipse Tool to select it.

4. With the circle still selected, click the Gradient icon below the Fill color in the Toolbar.

5. On the Properties panel on the right set the Stroke width to None by clicking the little down arrow until the Stroke icon gets crossed out.

6. On the Gradient panel, double-click the first Gradient Slider.

7. Click the Swatches icon and choose a color to change the starting color of the gradient.

8. Double-click the second Gradient Slider and choose a new ending color of the gradient.

9. Use the Selection tool to select the circle.

10. Then, Option/Alt+drag to duplicate the circle.

11. Choose the Blend Tool and click each circle. Illustrator will automatically fill in the gap with another copy of the cycle and create a new Blend object.

12. On the Properties panel click the Blend Options and select Specified Steps from the Spacing drop down menu, and set the desired number of steps to “200”. Click OK.

13. Use the Selection tool to select both your letter and the blend. From the top menu select Object > Blend > Replace Spine to create the 3D effect.


Optional: To change the direction of your blend, select Reverse spine.

That's it! Now it's your turn to create a 3D lettering in 60 seconds with Illustrator. Download the assets or use your own and share your image on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #MadewithIllustrator to get feedback and connect with other creative minds.


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