Creating Easy Chalk Lettering in Photoshop & Illustrator

Chalk lettering and chalkboard art has always been appealing to me. Whether it’s a menu at the local coffee shop or random stick figures that my kids draw on the driveway. I think it’s the incredible textures contained in each stroke that draw me in. With that love in mind, I wanted to develop a method for creating chalk art digitally. For the past few weeks I’ve been working extensively on a set of chalk brushes for Photoshop and Illustrator that would, not only look and feel like real chalk, but would be versatile enough to cover all aspects of a typical chalkboard illustration. I set a large goal for this product because I wanted it to be extremely useful and provide great value to a chalk artist looking to create digital work from scratch.

Source Material

The obvious place to start was real chalk on a real slate chalkboard. Creating different strokes and studying how the chalk interacted with the surface of the board would be key to creating the right effect. I made hundreds of chalk lines with different sizes and pieces of chalk until I felt like I had a solid array of strokes to choose from. I took photos and many high resolution scans to begin building the digital brushes for Photoshop and Illustrator.

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Brushes in Photoshop

In Photoshop the challenge was to create a natural, pressure sensitive, stroke that felt like the real thing. Then multiple that effect to create an arsenal of chalk brushes to cover a wide variety of looks and uses. I came up with 20 different brush tool presets that tackle this need.

In Photoshop these brushes shine with a pen tablet, or an iPad Pro as I’ll discuss in a minute. The strokes are pressure sensitive making them ideal for the thick and thin strokes found in lettering.

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Vector Brushes in Illustrator

Brushes in Adobe Illustrator are very different from Photoshop, but I knew I wanted to include them to make this product even more valuable, especially to artists who use both applications. For Illustrator I created a set of 55 art brushes. The brushes are broken up into 4 libraries including fine lines, medium strokes, scribbles and shaders. The brushes can be used as strokes to create very precise illustrations but still maintain the very imprecise look of chalk art.

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Chalk Brushes + iPad Pro

A really awesome way to utilize these brushes is with iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and a handy app called Astropad. Astropad allows you to use the iPad as an extension of your monitor. This gives you the ability to use Photoshop and Illustrator on a pressure sensitive touch screen device. These brushes will come alive, especially in Photoshop, using this setup.

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Genuine Crafted Chalk BrushesPurchase Now

You can now purchase this incredible set of brushes in the Graphic Monkee Shop! I’d love to see what you create with them. Use @graphicmonkee to share on Twitter or Instagram.
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