How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

In the following steps you will learn how to create a pretty simple caterpillar text effect in Adobe Illustrator.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

For starters you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the main shapes using basic tools, some Warp effects, and the Live Corners feature. Moving on, you will learn how to save a calligraphic brush, how to take full advantage of the Appearance panel, and some neat stroke tricks. Finally, you’ll learn how to save and use art brushes, how to create a slightly textured background, and how to add subtle shading.

For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your final text effect, you can find plenty of resources onGraphicRiver.

1. How to Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width box and 600 in the height box, and then click that Advanced button. Select RGB for the Color Mode, set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then clickCreate Document.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 0.5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, and enter 0.5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using theControl-“keyboard shortcut.

You can learn more about Illustrator’s grid system and how it can make your work easier in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator’s Grid System.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don’t forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

2. How to Create the Starting Shapes

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke, and then select the fill and set its color to R=192 G=39 B=45. Move to your artboard and simply create a 5.5 x 10 px rectangle.

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the four anchor points that make up your rectangle. Move to the top bar and enter 0.5 px in that Corners box.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Make sure that your rounded rectangle is selected and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Check the Horizontal box, drag the Bend slider to 50%, and then click that OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Duplicate your shape (Control-C > Control-F). Select the copy and drag it 5.5 px to the right as shown in the first image.

Select both shapes made so far and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 4.5 x 10 px shape, fill it with R=236 G=28 B=36, and place it as shown in the first image.

Keep focusing on this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). First, select the left anchor points and enter 0.5 px in that Corners box, and then select the right anchor points and enter 1 px in that same Corners box. In the end, your shape should look like in the second image.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

Reselect your newest shape and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown below, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Again, enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 6

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 4.5 x 9 px shape, fill it with R=240 G=90 B=36, and place it as shown in the first image.

Keep focusing on this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). First, select the left anchor points and enter 0.5 px in that Corners box, and then select the right anchor points and enter 1 px in that same Corners box. In the end, your shape should look like in the second image.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 7

Reselect your orange shape and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown below, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Again, enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and send it to back using the Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 8

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 4.5 x 8 px shape, fill it with R=246 G=146 B=30, and place it as shown in the first image.

Keep focusing on this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). First, select the left anchor points and enter 0.5 px in that Corners box, and then select the right anchor points and enter 1 px in that same Corners box. In the end, your shape should look like in the second image.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 9

Reselect your yellow shape and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown below, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Again, enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and send it to back using that same Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 10

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 3.5 x 7 px shape, fill it with R=250 G=175 B=59, and place it as shown in the first image.

Keep focusing on this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). First, select the left anchor points and enter 0.5 px in that Corners box, and then select the right anchor points and enter 1 px in that same Corners box. In the end, your shape should look like in the second image.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 11

Reselect your newest shape and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown below, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Again, enter the attributes shown in the following image, and then click that OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 12

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 3.5 x 6 px shape, fill it with R=255 G=200 B=0 and place it as shown in the first image.

Keep focusing on this new rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). First, select the left anchor points and enter 0.5 px in that Corners box, and then select the right anchor points and enter 2 px in that same Corners box. In the end, your shape should look like in the second image.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 13

Reselect your newest shape and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown below, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Again, enter the attributes shown in the following image, and then click that OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 14

Select the five shapes highlighted in the following image and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical box and then click that Copy button. Select the newly made shapes and drag them to the left as shown in the following image.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

3. How to Save a Calligraphic Brush

Open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and click that New Brush button. Check the Calligraphic Brush box, and then click the OK button. Name your new brush “0,75 pt. Oval” enter all the attributes shown below, and then click that OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

4. How to Color the Middle Shapes

Step 1

Select your two, dark red shapes, focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), and replace that fill color with R=172 G=198 B=8.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Make sure that your green shapes are still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that Add New Fill button. Select the new fill and make it white, lower its Opacity to 70%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter all the attributes shown below and then click that OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Make sure that your green shapes are still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a third fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select the new fill, set the color to R=0 G=56 B=24, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter all the attributes shown below and then click that OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Make sure that your green shapes are still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Reselect that top fill and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the attributes shown below and then click that OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

Make sure that your green shapes are still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Select the stroke, apply your “0,75 pt. Oval” calligraphic brush from the Brushes panel, and set its color to R=128 G=147 B=6.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

5. How to Color the Remaining Shapes

Step 1

First, you need to copy the Appearance attributes of your green shapes and paste them onto the five shapes that lie on the right side.

This can be done pretty easily from the Layers panel (Window > Layers). Expand your layer and you’ll notice a little circle on the right-hand side of all your objects—that’s a target icon. Hold theAltkey, click on the target icon that stands for one of your green shapes, and drag onto the circle that stands for one of the shapes that lie on the right-hand side.

Select all five shapes once you’ve copied the attributes and focus on the Appearance panel. Open the Warp effect applied to that top fill, and replace the Bulge style with the Arc style shown below.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Again, copy the Appearance attributes of your middle green shapes, and this time paste them onto the five shapes that lie on the left side.

Once you’re done, select all five shapes and focus on the Appearance panel. Open the Warp effect applied to that top fill, and replace the Bulge style with the Arc style shown below.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

6. How to Add Some Orange Spots

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a bunch of squeezed circles as shown in the following image, and fill them with R=240 G=120 B=44.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Select the orange squeezed circles highlighted in the following image, and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the attributes shown below and then click the OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Select the orange squeezed circles highlighted in the following image and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the attributes shown below and then click the OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

7. How to Add Some Subtle Highlights

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create two1 x 6.5 px shapes. Fill both shapes with white and place them as shown in the following image. Select these squeezed circles one by one and apply the Warp effects shown below.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create another five squeezed circles, as shown in the first image. Make them white, and don’t forget to apply the Warp effect shown below.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create another five squeezed circles as shown in the first image. Make them white, and don’t forget to apply the Warp effect shown below.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Select all your white squeezed circles and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

8. How to Create the Antennas and the Hair

Step 1

Using the Pen Tool (P), create two paths about as shown in the first image. Add a 0.5 px stroke for these paths, set its color to R=0 G=56 B=24, and focus on the Appearance panel. Simply click on that “Stroke” piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel, and select Width Profile 4 from that Profile drop-down menu.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Disable the Grid (Control-“) and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-“).

Using the Pen Tool (P), add a bunch of paths about as shown in the first image. Make sure that all these paths are selected, send them to back (Shift-Control-[), and apply that same dark stroke used in the previous step.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

9. How to Save Two Art Brushes

Step 1

Select all the shapes made so far and click that New Brush button from the Brushes panel. Check the Art Brush box and click the OK button. Name this new brush “Caterpillar Art Brush 100%“, enter all the attributes shown below, and then click that OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Keep focusing on the Brushes panel and drag your caterpillar art brush above that New Brush button to duplicate it. Double click on the newly added brush, rename it “Caterpillar Art Brush 200%“, drag the Width slider to 200%, and then click that OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

10. How to Create the Background and Add Text

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 860 x 610 px shape, fill it with R=235 G=232 B=215, and make sure that it covers your entire artboard.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Make sure that your large rectangle is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 3%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply, and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown below and then click the OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Make sure that your large rectangle is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, and add a third fill. Set the color to R=255 G=200 B=0, lower its Opacity to 15%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply, and go to Effect > Artistic > Sponge. Enter the attributes shown below and then click the OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Pacifico font, set the size to 180 px, and increase the tracking to 200. Simply click on your artboard and add your white text.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

Make sure that your text is still selected, replace the white with R=216 G=223 B=33, lower the Opacity to 50%, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Tweak. Enter the attributes shown below and then click that OK button.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

11. How to Create the Text Effect and Add Some Subtle Shading

Step 1

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and select your “Caterpillar Art Brush 200%” art brush from the Brushes panel. Use the text as a rough reference and draw a bunch of paths about as shown in the following image.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Make sure that all the brushes added in the previous step are selected, and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the top left window (in the following image), click the OK button, and then apply the other three Drop Shadow effects shown below.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 3

Pick the Brush Tool (B) and this time select your “Caterpillar Art Brush 100%” art brush from the Brushes panel. Add a bunch of paths about as shown in the following image.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Make sure that all the brushes added in the previous step are selected and apply the three Drop Shadow effects shown below.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a new 860 x 610 px shape, fill it with the radial gradient shown below, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image (Window > Gradient) stands for Opacity percentage.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

Congratulations! You’re Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You can find some great sources of inspiration onGraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve your design.

How to Create a Detailed Caterpillar Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator