I am interested to find a proper way of reproducing the below font line art example. enter image description here

What I've tried: Using the Type tool, I've created the letter "S", right click >create outlines (I guess that creating a middle letter path will be better but not so sure how). After that, I've used Stroke >Dashed Line option, choosing the following values:

enter image description here

At this point I'm not so sure if I am going into the right direction because the result it's not looking close enough to the model. There are some angles applied on the dashed lines and more than one layer(?);

Any thoughts?

  • Use blend and replace spine?
    – joojaa
    Mar 20, 2016 at 9:04
  • @joojaa may b, but there should be some intermediate steps; can you please show your workflow?
    – user124853
    Mar 20, 2016 at 9:09
  • oooh this is a tricky one and it's been bugging me since last night ;) — Blends + replace spine is probably the right direction, but I feel like there's some masking and warping that might also be involved.
    – justin
    Mar 28, 2016 at 17:05
  • @justin could be ... I also guess that there are two layers + some masking jobs (?)
    – user124853
    Mar 28, 2016 at 17:27
  • 1
    Random thought... 3D modeling software might have some possible tools that could help (the effect has a 3D appearance). Another possible solution would be to have the general shape of the letter S and then mask a pattern over it. As to creating that pattern, perhaps someone went through the long process of generating each line segment of the pattern by hand. It's been known to happen!
    – bemdesign
    Mar 29, 2016 at 2:29

2 Answers 2


Using blend is the way to go. Blends over complex curves aren't easy to control though—you end up with something like this:

enter image description here

An easier way is to create your blend on a straight path and create an art brush form your blend. Controlling blends with varying strokes also isn't easy so I would suggest using 2 separate blends.

Create your first blend:

enter image description here

Duplicate the blend, decrease the stroke width and rotate 180°:

enter image description here

You can edit the paths to create the angled joins. Just select the overlapping end point (if they aren't already in the same position—move them so that they are) and move them to get your desired result:

enter image description here

enter image description here

The S shape is significantly longer than the blend we've just created so simply move the paths on one end across—make sure your blends were created with a specified distance (not steps) otherwise you will have to increase the number of steps:

enter image description here

Create an art brush from your blends. You can do this by selecting the blends and dragging them to the brushes palette and selecting Art Brush from the New Brush dialog.

enter image description here

Get the center line of your S shape. I did this by quickly drawing a path over an S character, but you may be able to use a negative Offset Path to get a more accurate path.

enter image description here

If your shape has a consistent width or stroke weight using a negative Offset Path will get you the center line easily enough.

(Object → Path → Offset Path...)

enter image description here

In the case of an uneven stroke weight you can repeat the offset path command a number of times to build a guide to draw your center line.

enter image description here

An easier way is to again use a Blend. Remove the closing segments of the path at both ends and ungroup or release compound path so that you have to distinct paths and create a blend with 1 step. This should give you the center line (You may need to create the blend in segments for more complicated shapes if the blend fails).

You can find more techniques for finding the center line in this post: Technique for finding the centerline of a curved object?

enter image description here

Apply your art brush to the path:

enter image description here

This isn't perfect but you can easily go back and adjust your blends or the S shape to get a better result.

  • thank you, in this moment the above workflow will give us the right guides. Anyway, taking in consideration that there is plenty of time until the bounty expires, will be too much if I kindly ask you to show us the negative Offset Path instead of hand drawing path method?
    – user124853
    Mar 29, 2016 at 11:50
  • No problem at all, I'll update later this afternoon when I'm not so busy at work.
    – Cai
    Mar 29, 2016 at 11:52
  • one could use clipping mask in middle
    – joojaa
    Mar 29, 2016 at 11:59
  • @joojaa may b, with CAI agreement, can you please edit the above answer? thanks
    – user124853
    Mar 29, 2016 at 12:13
  • Using a clipping mask is easy if the strokes are straight but getting the angled joins of the strokes is difficult with masks. Possible—not easy.
    – Cai
    Mar 29, 2016 at 12:23

There are several parts to this answer, and I'm going to break them down for the most flexibility in understanding how to get to the finished product.

step one, setting up

setting up

define your shape

  1. Draw the basic shape
  2. Copy shape
  3. Slice your shape in components (I used the scissor tool so slice in half)

Create the blend

  1. Define your thick and thin strokes
  2. Create a blend: Object > Blend > Make — I recommend using "specified distance" for the spacing
    (see this video for more on making blends)
  3. Replace the spine: Object > Blend > Replace Spine

step two, creating the opposing blends

creating opposing blends

  1. Make the knockout version: use the shape with the same fill as the background (or expand the blend and use pathfinder for a proper clip)

  2. Make the mask version: use the shape to create a clipping mask

  3. Reverse spine on one of the versions: Object > Blend > Reverse Spine

step three, finish the shape

finishing the shape

  1. Duplicate the halves (or repeat the steps for the other components of your shape)

  2. Align the copies

  3. Adjust the layer order

  4. Adjust the blend properties as you desire

Note: these instructions don't get you all the way to the same effect you referenced, but from here it's a matter of determining how you want your lines to match up and adjusting the blends to give your desired effect.

  • It's a good start but doesn't replicate the angled joins. It's also a lot harder to control the blend over any curves more than the semi-circle you used (I tried for a while earlier and gave up!—an S shape is a lot harder to work with than semi-circles)
    – Cai
    Mar 29, 2016 at 0:49
  • It's the same concept though. Working with an S curve is more complicated but it's just clipping up your shape into more manageable sections and handling the in-between sections for multiple blends. A mind bender, yes, but the same idea.
    – justin
    Mar 29, 2016 at 3:20
  • @Jason first of all thank you for your effort. Just wanted to tell that it looks like this is made, having as starting point a letter ("S" in this case) not shapes. Finding the right workflow will help us to understand how to achieve the same result using other letters too. thank you once again
    – user124853
    Mar 29, 2016 at 8:33

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