A few years back a member of our group committed suicide. Before he passed he wrote a song with 5 verses, and there are 5 of us remaining. What I am attempting to do here is replace the semi-colon with a verse in the shape of the semi-colon. This is a design concept for a tattoo artist, as we're all going to get the same tattoo, each with a different verse. When we are together, his song will be complete.

I've figured out how to shape the smaller text into the larger text, but I am not getting the option to create a mask for the semi-colon. I am not very familiar with Illustrator, so I am sure I am missing some obvious but fundamental step.

What I did to get to this point:

  • Created a text outline
  • Ungrouped the larger text
  • Copied the semi-colon onto its own layer
  • Deleted the semi-color from the Background text layer

I've been fiddling with this for a while now, so I may have clicked something I shouldn't have.

enter image description here

  • 2
    I'm no tattoo expert, but If you want the verses to be readable, that's going to be a big tattoo. Especially when the shape of the semicolon is what it is, you can perhaps fit a max of 2 words side by side. I can't help but feel you have to put the verses somewhere outside of the semicolon unless you want like a full back tattoo.
    – Joonas
    Aug 10, 2018 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


Convert the text to outlines, then do Object > Compound Path > Release. Then select the shape. Then, with the text tool selected, click just inside the path, and you should be able to type inside the shapes.

enter image description here

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