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How to Create a Realistic Biscuit Style With Only One Shape in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Follow
this tutorial and learn how to draw a biscuit style using only a
path, the shape of each letter and nothing else.

If
you are not familiar with this concept, here is another tutorial of
mine where I create an avocado using only one shape. This time, we’ll
take it one step further and create a text effect, so instead of one
path we’ll have seven paths as the individual letters, but the concept
remains the same.
The
appearances are “all in one”, and you won’t use other shapes besides
the seven letters, so prepare yourself for a lot of Appearance panel
action. If you are intrigued and you love a good challenge, let’s
start!

If you are hungry for more vector food or maybe you need more text effects in your life, be sure to check out Envato Market for inspiration. You’ll surely find what you’re looking for there.

Tutorial
Assets

To
complete the tutorial, you will need the following assets:

1. Start
a New Project

Launch
Illustrator
and
go to
File
> New
to
open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the
dimensions, and then select
Pixels
as
Units
and
RGB
as
Color
Mode
.
Make sure that
Align
New Objects to Pixel Grid
is
not checked.

Next,
go to
Edit
> Preferences > General
and
set the
Keyboard
Increment
to
1
px
, and
while there, go to
Units
to
make sure they are set as shown in the following image. I usually work with
these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

open new illustrator document

2. Prepare
the Letters

Step
1

Grab
the Type Tool (T) and write “biscuit” on your artboard using the
Geist Knt Font, with a size of 140 pt. Also, set the Tracking for the
selected characters to 200 in order to get more space between the
letters.

While
the text stays selected, choose Expand from the Object menu and then
Ungroup (Shift-Control-G). Now, select all the individual letters and
take a look at the Appearance panel. Are your letters paths or
compound paths? If the answer is compound paths, go to Object >
Compound Path > Release
.

type the biscuit text

Step
2

Focus
on the letter “B“. Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a triangle using the
three points indicated as reference (1). Move the triangle to the
right side of the letter “C“. Make a copy of this triangle for the
letter “U” and then rotate and arrange it at the top (2).

Select
the letter “C” along with the triangle and press Minus Front in the
Pathfinder panel. Repeat the same thing for the letter “U” (3).

modify the biscuit text

3. Create
the Biscuit Pattern

Step
1

Use
the Ellipse Tool (L) and Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a circle and then
a rectangle on top. Use the dimensions shown because the end result
will fit perfectly with the size of the letters (1). 

Now, select both
shapes and press Intersect in the Pathfinder panel. Fill the
resulting shape with the color of your choice (2). Finally, draw a
rectangle between the two anchor points at the base (3).

Group
(Control-G)
the two shapes and name the group “big corner”.

create the big corners of biscuit

Step
2

Next,
draw a 16 x 16 px circle with the Ellipse Tool (L). Use the Direct
Selection Tool (A)
to select only the anchor point at the bottom and
press the Delete key on your keyboard (1). 

Still using the Direct
Selection Tool (A)
, drag a selection over the two end points and go
to Object > Path > Join (Control-J) (2). As a result, you will
get a half circle (3). Draw a new 16 x 7 px rectangle at the base (4)
and after that, select both shapes and press Unite in the Pathfinder
panel. 

Fill the resulting shape with the color of your choice (5).

create biscuit edge pattern

Step
3

Drag
the shape from the previous step into the Brushes panel and choose
New Pattern Brush. In the Pattern Brush Options window, type a name
for your new brush, leave the rest of the settings as they are, and
hit OK.

save biscuit edge pattern brush

Step
4

Let’s
get back to the letters. Take the “big corner” group and make a
bunch of copies first. Rotate and arrange one in each corner
of the letter “I” as shown in the close-up. Following this example, do
the same thing for the other letters. Place the “big corner” on
the outer corners of the letters, but not quite in all of them because
that will be too much.    

arrange the big corners of biscuit

Step
5

Focus
on the letter “I“. Take the Pen Tool (P) or the Line Segment Tool ()
and draw a straight path between each “big corner”, following the
edge of the letter. Stroke these four paths with the Biscuit edge
Pattern Brush
that you saved earlier. Keep the Stroke Weight at
1 pt.

If
your brush is flipped (waves on the inside, not on the outside),
while the path is selected, double click on the brush stroke in the
Appearance
panel in order to open the Stroke Options window and check
Flip Across

apply the biscuit edge pattern brush

Step
6

Focus
on the letter “B“. Draw three straight paths between the “big
corners
”, on the left side, at the top and at the bottom. Give them
a 1 pt Stroke with the Biscuit edge Pattern Brush and flip the brush
if necessary.

In
the smaller areas, draw a shorter path between the “big corners
and use the same pattern brush. Follow the shape of the letter and
draw a few more short paths to complete the biscuit edge all around. 

create biscuit edge for B

Step
7

Follow
the sequence of images and create the biscuit edge for the rest of
the letters. All paths have a 1 pt Stroke using the Biscuit edge
Pattern Brush
, and don’t forget to flip the brush if necessary. 

create biscuit edge for the letters

Step
8

Before
you continue, zoom on each letter and check if there are any empty
spaces between the strokes as shown in the close-ups. If there are,
grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the anchor points closer
to each other to cover the empty space.

make adjustments to biscuit edge

Step
9

Select
one of the stroked paths and go to Select > Same > Stroke
Weight
. As a result, Illustrator will select all the paths for you. Choose Expand Appearance from the Object menu in order to
turn the strokes into shapes. 

expand biscuit edge pattern brush

Step
10

Select
all the shapes that compose the letter “B” and press Unite in the
Pathfinder panel to turn everything into a single shape. Repeat the
same thing for the rest of the letters.

Before
you continue, make sure that the new letters are paths and not
compound paths in the Layers panel. If they are, go to Object >
Compound Path > Release
.

create the biscuit letters

4. Create
the Biscuit Graphic Style

Step
1

It’s
time to create the actual biscuit style, and the appearances will be
“all in one”. You won’t need other shapes besides the seven
letters.

Fill
all the letters with the color indicated and after that, go to Effect
> Stylize > Inner Glow
. Apply the settings shown and hit OK

apply inner glow to letters

Step
2

While
all letters stay selected, go to the Appearance panel and press Add
New Fill
in order to add a new Fill attribute above the first one.
Use the same color; then go to Effect > Texture > Texturizer
and apply the settings shown below. Set this Fill to Blending Mode
Multiply
and 25% Opacity

create the biscuit texture

Step
3

With
the letters still selected, add a New Fill and drag it to the bottom
of the Appearance panel. Use the color indicated and then go to
Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Apply a 2 px
Vertical Move
and hit OK.

create the biscuit thickness

Step
4

With
the letters still selected, add a New Fill at the bottom of the
Appearance panel and use the color indicated. Next, go to Effect >
Distort & Transform > Transform
and apply a 4 px Vertical
Move
.

make the biscuit thicker

Step
5

Now,
select a 0.5 pt white Stroke (although for visual purposes I used
red), and use the Ink Splats Scatter Brush that you can find in the
Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Ink. Double click in
the Appearance panel on the brush stroke to open the Stroke Options
window, and change the settings as shown below.

As
you can see in the image, the splats go over the edge of the letters, and that is not what we want. We’re going to fix that next.

add white splats for texture on biscuit

Step
6

Select
the letter “B” and also select the Stroke attribute in the Appearance
panel. Now, go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle and set
the Width to 85 px and the Height to 110 px. We’re basically forcing the
letter “B‘” (only the stroke, not the entire shape) to transform into a
rectangle which is smaller than the letter; therefore, the brush stroke
will get smaller and will be concentrated in the center of the letter
rather than near the edges.

Apply
this effect to the other letters as well, but the size of the
rectangle depends on the shape of each letter. The same dimensions,
85 x 110 px, work for the letters “C” and “U“, but for the letter “I” you
need a thinner rectangle, about 15 x 110 px. Use 70 x 110 px for the
letter “S” and 50 x 110 px for the letter “T“.

At
this point, the brush splats should not go over the edge of the
letters, but if they still do, open the Rectangle effect again and
choose slightly smaller dimensions.

convert brush stroke to rectangle

Step
7

Reduce
the Opacity to 15% for this Stroke attribute, and at this point the
biscuit effect should look like in the next image.

create texture on biscuit

Step
8

Add
a New Stroke in the Appearance panel above the previous one. Use black,
set the Weight to 0.5 pt, and use the Ink Splats Scatter Brush again.
Open the Stroke Options window and change the settings for each
letter as shown below.

add black splats for texture on biscuit

Step
9

Now,
we’re going to force the black splats to stay inside the letters like
earlier.

Select
one letter at a time, and also the black Stroke attribute in the
Appearance panel, and then go to Effect > Convert to Shape >
Rectangle
. For the dimensions of the rectangle, use the same values
from the white brush strokes because if they worked there, they will
work here as well. After you are done, set the Blending Mode to
Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 20%.

At
this point, you are pretty much done with the texture, and all you
need are the little holes on the surface of the biscuit.

convert black stroke to rectangle

Step
10

The
number of holes depends on the shape and size of each letter. Let’s
start with the letter “I” because it’s the smallest and it will be
easier at first.

While
the letter “
I
stays selected, add a New Fill and drag it to the top of the
Appearance panel. Use a black to brown radial gradient; then go to
Effect > Convert to Shape > Ellipse and apply the settings
shown. This will basically force this Fill attribute to transform
into a tiny 4 x 3 px ellipse in the center of the letter.

create the first hole on biscuit

Step
11

With
the letter “I” and the last Fill attribute still selected, go to
Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and apply a 10 px
Horizontal Move
. As a result, the tiny ellipse will move a little to
the right. 

move the first hole on biscuit

Step
12

With
the letter “I” and the last Fill attribute still selected, go to
Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply this effect twice
using the settings shown below. 

apply effects to biscuit hole

Step
13

While
the last Fill attribute is still selected, 
choose Duplicate Item from the upper right menu of the Appearance panel. As a result you will get a second tiny hole, but at the moment
they overlap. Expand the new Fill attribute at the top, open the
Transform Effect window, and change the Move Horizontal setting from 10 px
to -10 px

create the second hole on biscuit

Step
14

Now,
select the two Fill attributes (the two tiny holes) and choose
Duplicate Item again. As a result, you will get two new Fill
attributes at the top (two new holes), but at the moment they overlap so you need to change the settings for the Transform
effect. 

Expand the new Fill attributes, open the Transform Effect window, and type -22 px in the Move Vertical field. Keep the Horizontal value
the same because you just want to move the two new holes 22 px
upwards.

create the second row of holes on biscuit

Step
15

Select
the last two Fill attributes and choose Duplicate Item again to get
two new holes. Open the Transform Effect window and change the Move Vertical setting from -22 px to -45 px for both.

create the third row of holes on biscuit

Step
16

Now,
select the first two Fill attributes (the first two holes) and duplicate them. Expand the
two new Fill attributes underneath, open the Transform Effect window, and
type 25 px in the Move Vertical field for both.

create the forth row of holes on biscuit

Step
17

Select
the last two Fill attributes and duplicate them to get two new holes.
Expand the two new Fill attributes underneath, open the Transform Effect
window, and change the Move Vertical setting from 25 px to 50 px for both.
These will be the last two holes, and at this point the letter “I
is pretty much ready. We will add the shadow later in the tutorial.

create the last row of holes on biscuit

Step
18

The
same thing goes for the letter “B”, but you need to add more tiny
holes because the surface is bigger than the letter “I”.

While the letter “B
stays selected, add a New Fill above the existing ones and use the
same black to brown radial gradient. For the Ellipse, Transform and
Drop Shadow effects, use the same settings shown earlier for the first hole on the letter “I”. 

create the first biscuit hole for B

Step
1
9

Duplicate
this Fill attribute (first hole) twice, and then open the Transform
effect and change the Move Horizontal setting as indicated. As a
result, you will get the other two holes on the left. 

create the first row of holes on B

Step
20

Select
the first three Fill attributes (three holes) and choose Duplicate
Item
again. Expand the new Fill attributes at the top, open the
Transform effect, and change the Move Vertical setting from 0 px to
-22 px for all three. This will move the three new holes 22 px
upwards. 

create the second row of holes on B

Step
21

Select
the first three Fill attributes again and choose Duplicate Item. This
time, change the Move Vertical setting from 0 px to -45 px in order
to move the new row of holes at the top.

Repeat
the same thing to obtain the other two rows of holes at the bottom, and always use the first three Fill attributes (first three holes in
the center) to duplicate. 

create the other biscuit holes on B

Step
22

Using
the same technique, add the last two holes on the right side of the
letter, and at this point the Appearance panel should look like in the
image below. Magical, right? Everything is on the same path, and the
main part of the Appearance panel consists of the holes in the
biscuit.

I
look forward to the time when Illustrator will let me write a custom
name for each appearance just like the layers in Photoshop so I don’t
get tangled in my own work. It’s hard to tell which hole is which, but
you can use the Visibility eye to find them. 

create the last two biscuit holes on B

Step
23

Follow
the technique explained above and add the tiny holes for the other
letters. 

create the biscuit holes on other letters

Step
24

The
last thing to do is to add the shadow. Select the first letter and
take a look at the Appearance panel. Add a New Fill at the bottom and
use the color black. While this Fill attribute stays selected, go to
Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform and in the Move
Vertical
field type 4 px. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop
Shadow
and apply this effect three times.

After
you are done, repeat the same thing for the other letters.

add shadow to letters

Here
are the settings for the three Drop Shadow effects: 

drop shadow settings

Step
25

The
biscuit text effect is ready now. If you go to View > Outline, you
can see the shape of the letters and that there are no other shapes
involved. All the appearances are on the same path.

final biscuit style

5. Save
the Biscuit Graphic Style

You
can save this biscuit style for future use. Select one of the letters
and press New Graphic Style in the Graphic Styles panel. Type a name
for your style and hit OK.

You
can apply this biscuit style to other shapes, but you need to make a
few changes to rearrange the position of the holes because each
shape is different. To do that, open the Transform effect under each
Fill attribute and change the Horizontal and Vertical settings to
move the holes to the correct spot. That’s it.

save and apply the biscuit style

Awesome Work, You’re Done!

The
Appearance panel can be magical, if you know how to use it to its
full potential. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial as much as
I did. I am always up for a challenge. 

Don’t forget to show me your
recreations of this biscuit text effect because I would love to see
your work.

final biscuit text effect