Hand Lettering to Vector Process


I enjoy a process video as much as the next person, so I decided to share a timelapse video of my own process – from hand lettering to vector in Adobe Illustrator.

You’ll also see the process of adding texture in order to maintain some of the roughness from the original lettering.

Without going into too much detail, here are a few tips that I use when vectorizing hand lettering in Adobe Illustrator:

  • Place your scanned lettering on a background layer and lock it, then use a second layer for your vectors (this is really simple, but it’s super helpful to be able to lock and hide the layers as you’re working).
  • Using the Pen Tool, start placing your anchor points on the outer-most and inner-most parts of each letter. This will force you to use less anchor points, which will simplify your lettering and help with tweaking later on.
  • When placing your anchor points, click and drag while holding shift. This will keep your handles at 90° and create smoother curves.
  • Use guides to keep your lettering consistent.

For your reference, here’s the original sketch:

And here’s the final digitised version:

By the way – if you’re not aware of Typism, go check it out.

Music: Hope by The Ember Days

Interested in working together?