Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Illustrator: Hand-Generated Type


To learn Illustrator's live trace function. To practice Illustrator's pen tool editing functions by recreating the above wordmark.


creating the art in Illustrator

  1. download above GIF file (RMB: save images as...)
  2. download Illustrator keyboard shortcuts
  3. launch Illustrator
  4. file > new: letter, portrait
  5. practice Adobe navigation keyboard shortcuts: space=hand; space+cmd=zoom in; space+cmd+opt=zoom out; cmd+zero=fit in window
  6. file > place: "aloe.gif"
  7. select placed image, zoom in to see detail
  8. object > live trace > tracing options: preset=lettering, refine (preview=yes)
  9. object > expand
  10. view > outline (cmd+Y); make sure counters are transparent
  11. refine the art as needed
  12. create your own hand-generated type and scan it in for tracing

helpful hints for refining art

  1. choose the direct select tool before selecting the pen tool
  2. when using the pen tool, access the direct select tool with the cmd key
  3. add anchor point: glide mouse over path, click "+"
  4. delete anchor point: glide mouse over anchor point, click "-"
  5. smooth anchor point: opt+click and drag
  6. corner anchor point: opt+click
  7. adjust curves: move handles with cmd key
  8. smooth curves have handles about 1/3 the of length a line segment


  1. add your name and the exercise number to the file
  2. clean-up your printable area and add credit.
    In 9pt Helvetica, 1/2" from bottom and right side of the page add:
    Exercise #: Exercise Name
    Your Name
  3. print a proof for grading
  4. file your graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 3/1/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young