A friend recently asked me to create a couple of chalkboard signs for her son’s beach wedding and I admit I felt a bit daunted by the project. I haven’t practiced calligraphy in many years and I had never done calligraphy with chalk. I started thinking about how to keep the words spaced properly and decided I needed to figure out a way to transfer the design to the chalkboard before I drew with the chalk. It was easy! You do not have to be a graphic designer or calligrapher to do this. Here are the steps:
What you’ll need:
Adobe Illustrator (this technique will work with Photoshop or InDesign too)
Create the calligraphy pattern These instructions show you how to create the design using Illustrator but you can do basically the same thing if you want to create the design using Photoshop or InDesign.
Measure the chalkboard and note its dimensions.
Launch Illustrator and create a document using the dimensions of the chalkboard.
I created my design in color to give me an idea of where I wanted to use different colored chalk. I also created a black rectangle behind the typography so that I could visualize what the final chalkboard would look like.
Choose File > Save As to save a duplicate of the design. Select the type and choose Type > Create Outlines.
Select View > Show Print Tiling. This will give you a preview of what the pages will look like when they print. Select the Print Tiling Tool. You will use it to indicate which part of the design you want to print.
Use the Print Tiling Tool to print each area of your calligraphy design. Print the page or page tiles at 100% size. For my design, I printed 4 separate pages to include the whole design at full size. You definitely want some overlap. That will help you align the prints when you combine them.Notice in the illustration below that the inner dotted lines show what you’ll see in the print. The outer dotted lines indicate the edge of the paper. For further learning, here is more printing & tiling information: Printing onto multiple pages using tiling.
Combine the pages to create the full sized pattern.
Take your scissors, some clear tape, and your printed pages and find a window or glass door you can work on. This works best during the day with lots of indirect light. (A glass of wine is optional but I recommend it.)
Holding the pages up to the lighted window, line up the letterforms and once they overlap seamlessly, use the tape to secure the pages together. Continue aligning and taping until all the pages are taped together. You now have a pattern that is ready to trace.
Transfer the design to the chalkboard
Flip the pattern so the back side is visible. Tape the pattern to a window or glass door to reveal the design. If the overlapping pages block you from seeing the letterforms, you may need to trim them a bit. That’s what I did below:
Use a fine tip chalk marker or chalk pencil to trace the outlines of the letterforms onto the back of your pattern. Don’t fill in the designs, just outline them. The chalk that’s left on the back of the paper will transfer to the chalkboard in the next step.
Place the pattern sheet backside down on top of the chalkboard. Adjust its position and using a ruler, make sure the baseline of the letters is parallel to the chalkboard frame.
Once the pattern is taped to the chalkboard, use a pencil to trace over the outlines of the letterforms on the right side of the pattern paper. I used a dull pencil so that it wouldn’t tear the paper and accidentally scratch or mark the chalkboard.
Once you are finished tracing the whole design, you should have a light outline of your letterforms transferred to the blackboard. You will use the outlines as a guide for your calligraphy.
Create the chalkboard calligraphy
Trace the outlines using the liquid chalk markers. I used two sizes. For very light, thin typefaces (Futura Light below), I used the small markers. Note: I placed a sheet of paper over the chalkboard as I drew so that my hand or sleeve didn’t smear or erase the light outlines.
I started at the top and worked downward, moving the protective sheet as I went. For the straight line, I used a ruler and a thin marker. For larger letters and fill areas, I used the large chisel tip chalk markers. Theoretically you could use regular chalk for this but the liquid chalk markers give you much cleaner lines and more solid colors.
Below is the finished board before I transported it to the wedding venue. To protect the chalk lettering, I wrapped the chalkboard with cardboard and taped it. I managed to smear some of the letters while I packed it up but I used some wet Q-Tips and the chalk markers to touch up and it looked as good as new.
Normally I wouldn’t mix so many different typefaces but the idea was to imitate the style of old fashioned ad designs. Here are the typefaces that I used:
Adobe’s learning search has not been the greatest. We’ve wanted to fix it for a really long time and we’re really excited about our new redesign of tutorial search.
There are almost 1000 Creative Cloud app tutorials on Adobe.com, but they’re often too hard to find. This summer, the Learn team built a totally new tutorial search experience to help you get what you need faster. It just went live yesterday.
Here are some of the improvements:
Search is now available on every tutorial page.
Search results are totally redesigned to help you decide which tutorial works the best for you. On the results page you’ll find a whole new look.
Each search result includes:
tutorial type: video, text, hands-on, game
duration: length of the tutorial or time to complete a hands-on project
Need to design an interactive form that contains check boxes, text fields, radio buttons, lists, etc? This tutorial is for you! Michael Jarrott, a digital media intern here at Adobe, has created a very cool tutorial that teaches how to make interactive pdf forms using InDesign CS6. This clever tutorial is actually an InDesign document that walks you through the process of creating these basic items for your form:
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list of Adobe tutorials that you could scan through quickly? Wish you didn’t have to wade through search results full of irrelevant content? What you need is a comprehensive tutorial list! Adobe has created just the list for you. They’ve got lists of all the tutorials (both video and text) that live on Adobe.com for 11 different products. The lists contain tutorials for multiple versions of the products, with the most recent tutorials on the top. You can sign up for an RSS feed to find out when new tutorials are added to the list.
Check out these lists for some really great tutorials (including CS5):
Because this is beta Help, some features of Help are not yet active, such as links to video tutorials and other Help documents. When CS4 ships, all features of Help will work properly. The quality of search results will improve as these new pages are crawled by Google – so click lots of links!
Here is more info about the new Adobe Community Help system—one of the best new features of CS4!
Did you know that there are more than 100 keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop? I’m not sure what the exact count is but it is an overwhelming amount. This fact has inspired my friend Deke McClelland to produce a short video called, “101 Photoshop Tips in 5 minutes.” He plays fast and loose with the math—he shows more than 101 shortcuts and the video is actually 8:33 minutes long—but who cares? It’s fun and funny, even if the music is truly awful (sorry Deke). I’ll bet you learn at least one new keyboard shortcut when you watch this.
For more learning fun from some other funny guys, check out, “Stop Stupid PDF Syndrome.” Tim Cole and Rufus Deuchler, both InDesign experts and evangelists at Adobe, have created a “public service announcement” style video to teach people how NOT to create pdfs. It’s an excellent and entertaining way to teach people how to avoid creating pdf files that are device-dependent. These files result in lower quality output and can create serious color management problems. For more InDesign insight and tips, check out Tim’s InDesign blog.
I’m at the CS3 Conference in Chicago right now and I just had to write about the session I attended this morning. It was a basic introduction to using XML and InDesign by James Maivald. It was excellent! I had to force myself to go to this session because there is something about acronyms like XML, HTML, and CSS that makes me go cross-eyed and running for the comfort of my sketchbook and pencils. The nice thing is that James is a designer and he presented the material from a designer’s point of view. He has just written a book about how to use XML and InDesign together. He’s also got a nice little website called Cooking with XML which has some good simple overviews and explanations. It also has a nifty definitions page for those of us who can’t keep our acronyms straight. His book looks to be an invaluable training resource for designers called, “A Designer’s Guide to Adobe InDesign and XML.” It looks like it will be published in just a few weeks by Peachpit Press.
Can’t wait for the book to be published for your XML info? Try watching this video on using XML with Dreamweaver. Or check out the tutorials and other XML information on the Adobe Design Center. Anne-Marie Concepción has an XML tutorial worth trying out even though it was written for InDesign CS2. Be not afraid designers, XML may be just the ticket for your workflow productivity!