Create Hauntingly Beautiful Art Text in Artboard

Any text in Artboard can be converted into a shape and custom styled to great effect. We show you how to use Artboard’s Core Image Filters applied to a style to create this hauntingly beautiful art text effect.

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 1.7+ for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector; Core Image Filters; Converting Text to Shape Group
Estimated Completion Time: ~20 minutes

Step 1

Open a new drawing.

Draw a large text box with the Text Box[t] tool. Return to the Select[s] tool, double-click the text box and type “ARTBOARD”. This is a good place to mention that in Artboard you can automatically change the case of your text. For example, select the text box and choose Text > Change Case > To Lower from the main menu. Note how your text changes instantaneously to all lower-case. We are using “Moltors” font that is only upper-case so it doesn’t matter in our example, but now you know how to do it!

Speaking of fonts, with the text box still selected, open the Font panel and choose a nice fat font (e.g., Moltors) and adjust the size. Our example uses 96pt for a large text block, but you can adjust the text to fit your purpose. As needed, use the Select[s] tool to grab the text box sizing handles and adjust its size. Close the Font panel.

Prefer doing things hands-on? Give it a try…


Step 2

In the next step we convert our text to a shape so we can style it. We could simply convert the text to a single shape (once you do that the text will no longer be editable) using Graphic > Convert To > Shape from the main menu (or right click and choose Convert To > Shape). However, I want to flip the “R” to make our graphic text extra fancy, so each letter needs to be a separate shape. To do so, choose Graphic > Convert To > Shape Group from the main menu (or right click and choose Convert To > Shape Group). Then, ungroup the shape.

Step 3

With the Select[s] tool, select the first “R” and choose Graphic > Flip > Horizontally from the main menu. You may want to adjust the letter’s position after flipping to maintain nice spacing between letters. Now, select all the letters and choose Graphic > Combine > Append from the main menu, or click the “Append” icon if you’ve added it to your toolbar. Appending the shapes together allows us to apply a style across the shape as a whole.

Step 4

Use the Select[s] tool to select the text shape and open the Style Inspector. With the text shape still selected, click “Reset” to create a new style from scratch. Click onto “Fill” in the components list then click the “-” button to remove the component. Repeat to remove the “Stroke” style component. Next, click the “+” button and add “Core Image Filter” style component. The core image filter is a group, so we’ll need to add one or more components under the group (we’re adding an image). Click the “+” and add “Image” to add an image adornment. You may need to click the little triangle next to “Core Image Filter Group” in the components list to expand it and see what’s inside the group.

Click onto the “Image Adornment” to open its properties. Click the “Image File…” button to choose an image that will be used as the fill. You can use any image here – experiment to see what works best for your needs. In this example, we’re using a lovely floral pattern we downloaded from freedesign4.me.

Step 5

Let’s turn our attention back to the Core Image Filter Group. Click on it in the style components list. From the drop-down, choose the “Gloom” filter. Keep the standard settings – with “Clipping” set to “Inside path”. The effect will automatically be applied to the image in the filter group. If the image is smaller (or undesirably bigger) than the text shape, you can return to the Image Adornment and adjust the scale of the image.

Step 6

Finally, let’s add a background object to our final image. Use the Rectangle[r] tool with the “Licorice – fill” style from the Basic Strokes & Fills category in the built-in collection. Draw a large rectangle. With the rectangle selected, choose Graphic > Send To Back from the main menu (or right click and choose Arrange > Send To Back). That’s it!

Final Image

From here, you may want to copy your shape to try different background photos. With the copy selected, click “Clone” in the Style Inspector. Now you can simply go to the Image Adornment style component and choose a new image file. To save any of your styles to the User Library, click “Style” at the top of the Style Components list and name and save the style to your collections. Here is our final image, along with a variation using an old family photo for the image adornment. Do you think it would look good over a patterned background?

5 replies
  1. Help
    Help says:

    See in step 3..how can you make more nodes like in adobe illustrator. So that you can change up and basically free hand (morph) the letters to anything?

    • mapdiva
      mapdiva says:

      Hi! Great question. You can convert text to paths a couple different ways. We recommend first converting to a shape group, then ungroup and convert the individual shapes to paths (this offers the most flexibility with each letter being an individual shape). Right-click a shape and choose convert to path, or double-click an individual shape to quick convert between shape and editable path. Alternatively, select shape(s) and choose menu Graphic > Convert To… > Path.

  2. Omar
    Omar says:


    I’m just trying to put combine letters and shapes so that the letter is a ‘window’ through the shape. I’ve done this before in other programs and it is usually a simple difference function. But in Artboard I am getting mixed results. The underlying background shape turns into a rectangle. And then sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I put the letter in the foreground prior to selection but that doesn’t solve it.

  3. Shawn Sherwood
    Shawn Sherwood says:

    Your tutorial is terrible! You mention select and graphic but don’t mention where to find them on the program!!! All I want to do is make a logo…..I want to take some letters and combine and rotate them. 25 dollars wasted!

    • mapdiva
      mapdiva says:

      Hi Shawn,

      Sorry you found this tutorial hard to follow. It is listed as an advanced tutorial for those already familiar with Artboard’s features. What you describe needing is pretty straight forward – you may find these User Guide topics helpful. We’ll be happy to offer support and try to help you achieve what you need (and always take constructive criticism for improving our tutorials). – Jill

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