To make this easier for you to understand the style I mentioned, here are some examples:

Source: pookstar's DA. I think this could be recreate in Illustrator

Coldplay' Mylo Xyloto album artworks

I'm trying to make graffiti style lettering but instead of textures like concrete, I want some sort of neon glow. My first attempt, I tried making a black background, typing some fonts in different colors, adding splatters and black inner glow but the result is still not what I expected. I also tried to add a color mesh as overlay but it didn't work.

It's really complicated because each graphic that has the same colors doesn't contain only one exact identical color (eg. the word bann over, Oh those clumsy things in the right margin) but different variations.

So what I'm asking for is to suggest some ways to tackle it. Thank you so much. I'm looking forward to your help as soon as possible!

  • Hi jacker07, and welcome to GD.SE. It's not too clear what you are looking for with your question, do you want one of the hundreds tutorials you can find in the internet about how to make neon graphics or help to find the 220 mb file in other site? If it's any of these two options, I think neither of them is valid here. Read the Help/ What topics can I ask: "Please avoid asking questions about or for extended tutorials – instead focus on a single aspect that you are struggling with".
    – user120647
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 12:15
  • What have you tried? What has failed. These look like bright coloured hand painted letters on a dark background. I see no "neon" effect other than that.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 12:16
  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a Q&A site for graphic designers, we are not here to help you find a file someone else has made. Please edit your question to specify what you have tried and where you got stuck in your design process.
    – PieBie
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 12:28
  • @Danielillo thank you. I'm sorry for not to write more clearly for what I'm focusing on, I've edited the question.
    – jacker07
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 12:29
  • Thanks for editing your question. It's much better now. I fixed some typos and grammar for you.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 12:54

2 Answers 2


I think where you are going wrong is that you are typing the text. To be honest these look like hand drawn letters and doodles, using bright colours and some textured brushes.

There are several such brushes included in Photoshop that you could use, or you can download more from Adobe such as Kyle's brushes. There are literally hundreds of brushes to play with.

If you create each word on its own layer, then you could then lock the transparency on that layer and manually paint additional colours on top of the letters. I suppose this technique would also work for typed text, but the text would have to be rasterized when you paint on it.

For example, that's how I made this shown below. I drew the letters manually with a mouse. I increased the "smoothing" option to make it easier. If you have a graphics tablet and stylus this would be easier. Anyway, the brush I used was Kyle's Dry Media Soft Pastel.

enter image description here

Then it's simply a case of creating more words on their own layers. Once you have done a few, you could duplicate some of those layers, and move the words around to make a more complex design.

It's also possible to use the Smudge Tool, with one of those brushes, and a layer with locked transparency to kind of smudge the colours inside a painted letter/shape.

enter image description here

  • Thanks a lot! I don't write text actually but I also don't have a tablet. I've got to used to Photoshop for a few days and I prefer Illustrator though. Can you recommend some of the brushes that works well (both Photoshop & Illustrator)? And the reason I mentioned about "graffiti" is the spray, noisy texture you can see in the first picture. Is there a way to achieve it?
    – jacker07
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 11:10
  • Photoshop and Illustrator can't use the same brushes unfortunately. I already linked to some you can get for Photoshop. I wouldn't use Illustrator for this to be honest with you. Raster image editors like Photoshop are capable of more painterly/sketchy effect drawings than Illustrator. Illustrator is better for sharply defined lines and shapes (such as in line art, and logos, etc).
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 12:23
  • I don't have the latest update of Photoshop CC so I can't afford Kyle's Brushes
    – jacker07
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 13:48
  • So, have a look on DeviantArt - there are lots of brushes and resources there, some are even free, and for older versions of PS. It's also possible to create your own custom brushes in Photoshop from scratch. Obviously, that will take additional work, but it's entirely possible.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 13:52

There are many ways to achieve this effect and not all are the same. One of them is to create an action with the Allow Tool Recording activated and making the drawing with a brush of a certain thickness and color.

Then return to run the action with another brush size and different color.

enter image description here


  • The inner path isn't perfectly centered but is offseted and disjointed. But I want to know how did you create the darker color in the margin of the inner path (like a black inner glow effect) i.sstatic.net/tVOR6.png
    – jacker07
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 11:27
  • 1
    @jacker07 - Danielillo already told you how. "run the action with another brush size and different colour".
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 13:56

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