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Simple Strokes and Shadows

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JasonRSC

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In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to use the Appearance palette in order to create and easily edit strokes and drop shadows on your logo and number decals. This tutorial is aimed at those of you who already have a basic understanding of Illustrator.

For the purpose of this demonstration, I will be recreating the #23 number decal that Scott Wimmer ran during the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series season (shown completed above). To start off, we're going to need a good reference image and for that, I'm using a scan of the Slixx decal sheet.


NOTE: The strategy that I'm using can also be done with other compound paths, groups and lines of type. It doesn't necessarily have to be done with and hand-drawn decal.

The first thing I'm going to do is redraw the basic shape of the number (shown below). I usually choose a color that's different than the decal I'm redrawing so that I can easily see the edge of the shapes and adjust accordingly.



My personal preference in doing this is just to use a single compound path. I find it easier to edit and tinker with. To create a compound path from these two separate numbers, simply select both, right click and choose Make Compound Path.



If you don't already have your Appearance palette, open it up now. It should look similar to the one below.



The first thing you're going to do is click and drag the stroke below the fill. Once you've done that, you can start adjusting the stroke to match the first stroke on the number decal. After that's done to your satisfaction, duplicate the current stroke so that you can start adjusting it to match the secondary (black) outline on the number decal.



Finally, the drop shadow. Once you've adjusted the drop shadow to match what you want, you're all finished. Now, you should have either a compound path, a group, or a line of text that has all the attributes that you want.



If you have questions or problems with this tutorial, please let me know the issue and I'll try to answer or adjust the tutorial accordingly. Until next time. :)
 
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