letterpress effect drawing tutorial with Artboard

Create Letterpress Vector Style

Use the Style Editor, along with Artboard’s transform group settings, to create a popular letterpress graphic style treatment. It’s super easy to save the style and apply to other shapes.

Tutorial Details

Program: Artboard 2.0+ graphic design app for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector– Groups
Estimated Completion Time: 20 minutes

Step 1


Open a new drawing and choose File > Drawing Size & Units from the main menu and set ‘points’ as the units of measure. Use the Rectangle [r] tool to draw a rectangle the size of your drawing canvas and fill it with a light color (use a light, medium, and dark of any color). Having a background color from the beginning will make it easier to see the changes we will be making to the text.

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


Step 2


Add a new layer by clicking the “+” at the lower left corner of the Layers panel. Drawing on a new layer keeps your drawing objects separate from the background will help prevent accidentally selecting the background. With the Text Box [t] tool, drag out a large text box; type to edit the text, clicking the Esc-key to end editing. With the text selected, use the Font panel to choose a font family, typeface, and adjust the size. Our example uses a bold font at 144pt for big header text, but you can adjust the text to fit your needs. After you get it just how you want it, choose Graphic > Convert To > Shape from the main menu (or right click, Convert To > Shape) to convert the text to a shape (once you do that the text will no longer be editable).

Step 3


Open the Style Inspector. Click onto “Color Fill” in the components list and click the color-well to choose your medium color (for example, medium purple).

Step 4


With the text shape still selected, from the Style Inspector click the “+” button to add a new “Transform” group from the style components drop-down list. Because Transform is a “group” property, you won’t see anything under the group until you add it, so click the “+” and choose Color Fill. Click the little arrow icon in front of “Transform” in the list to expand the transform group and click onto the color-well in the fill to choose a dark color (e.g., dark purple). In the transform dialog, change the Y Offset to -1.5pt and ‘Number of additional copies’  to 1. Drag the transform component to the top of the components list (so it is visually below the first fill).

Step 5


Repeat Step 4 to add another transform group from the style components drop-down list. Add a color fill to the transform group and choose white from the Colors panel. In the transform dialog, change the Y Offset to 1.5pt and ‘Number of additional copies’  to 1. Drag the transform component to the top of the components list (so it is visually below the first fill).

Step 6


With the text still selected, from the Style Inspector click the “+” button to add a new “Core Image Filter” from the style components drop-down list. Click the little arrow icon in front of “Core Image Filter” in the list to expand the image filter group. Similar to Transform groups, you won’t see anything under the effect group until you add it, so click the “+” and add a Color Fill. Click onto the color-well in the fill and pick the light color matching your background color. Now, click again on “Core Image Filter” in the style component list. Choose “Gaussian Blur” from the Filters drop-down list, use the settings ‘Inside clipping path’ and 10-radius. That’s it!

Step 7

You’ve created a great ad-hoc style with popular letterpress treatment. Optionally, you can save the style to easily apply to other vector objects in this and other drawings. Simply click onto “Style” in the components list to return to the main window. Add a name for your new style and press enter. Click “Add To ‘Collection’…” to add it to an available My Library user collection. Pretty cool!

Final Image


At this point you can make the treatment better by jazzing up the background with some texture, different colors, and simple offsets to other text.

How To Clip Images with Complex Objects

Artboard makes it easy to clip your images with complex vector objects. Draw any shape and use the Intersect command. Here’s how.

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 1.7+ for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Intermediate
Topics Covered: Image Browser and Intersect
Estimated Completion Time: about 15 minutes

Step 1 – Draw the Clipping Shape

Open the Image Browser and drag-and-drop from the Browser to your drawing canvas to place your image. Draw any shape – from a simple rounded rectangle to a complex outline of the area you want to clip. Here we’ve used the Bezier Path [b]tool to draw an outline around the girl in the picture. We used a simple red stroke with no fill to better see the outline as we traced over the picture.

Step 2 – Clip the Image

To clip the image with your shape, hold the Command-key and use the Select [s] tool to select both the image and the shape. Then click the Intersect icon on the Toolbar, or choose Graphic > Combine > Intersect from the main menu. Clipping images is non-destructive – an image that is clipped still has the original image hidden behind the clipped area, and the clipping path can be removed later as desired. Double-click the image to reposition it or scale it within its bounding box. An image effects panel is also displayed. If you want to remove the clipping path, right-click the image and choose “Remove Image clipping path” from the contextual menu.

Step 3 – Mask and Resample Image (optional)

An image with a clipping path can be permanently cropped to remove portions of the image that are hidden, thus reducing overall file size. Cropped images are resampled to the clipped area. To crop a clipped image, right-clicking the image and choose “Crop and resample image” from the contextual menu.

Final Image

Clipping images in Artboard is as easy as 1-2-3! We hope you enjoy the simplicity of how it works just like the Boolean operations with any vector objects.

How to Create Swirling Paths of Bubbles in Artboard

Artboard gives you the power to create advanced styles that go way beyond simple fill and stroke. Here we show a simple way to create paths of bubbles for using under water or to float through the air. Read more

Artboard 2 collection holidays occasions

Holidays & Occasions Clip Art Included with Artboard 2

These Holiday and Occasions clip art include graphics for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Hanukkah, Christmas, and more. These styles & clip art are among the wide assortment of fully editable vector clip art and custom styles included in the built-in Artboard Library. Note, some clip art are made from multiple objects and should be ungrouped before editing.

Terms of Use

Creative Commons License Media (e.g., templates, clip art, styles and symbols) provided by Mapdiva LLC are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License unless otherwise noted. This allows licensees of Mapdiva software to reuse those media for integration within their own work, both personal and commercial; however, Mapdiva reserves fully and unconditionally all trademark, branding and redistribution rights associated with the original media. Attribution to is requested, however not required.

Editing Artboard’s Extensive Clip Art Collection

Artboard delivers with hundreds of vector clip arts in a Library packed with shapes, graphics, and styles. In fact, all clip art except country flags are fully editable. Find out how to make the most of Artboard’s clip art library and make them your own.

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 1.1+ for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Beginner
Topics Covered: Clip Art
Estimated Completion Time: 10 minutes

ATTENTION: As of Artboard 1.7, “shared” styles are no longer part of the default workflow, therefore, references to “New” and “Clone” in this tutorial are no longer current. As of Artboard 1.7, the “New” button in the Format Bar and Style Inspector becomes the “Reset” button. See the Users Guide for more information about shared styles.

Step 1

Open the Styles & Clip Art palette. As desired, click the Library icon in the palette toolbar to navigate through the categories of clip arts and styles. Here we are choosing the “Christmas Tree” clip art in the “Holidays & Occasions” category. Click onto the clip art you want to use and place it with Clip Art Stamp [y] tool, or simply drag the clip art from the palette onto your drawing.

To resize any clip art graphic, use the Select [s] tool and drag one of the object handles. Hold the SHIFT-key to maintain the aspect ratio while you drag.

Step 2

Many clip arts in the Artboard library are actually complex graphics made up of multiple objects (some are simple graphics made from a single shape and won’t need ungrouped). With the clip art selected, you will see “Group” listed as the object type in the Geometry panel. Choose Graphic > Ungroup from the main menu. You can see after ungrouping that the star, tree, the tree’s shading, tree trunk, and ornaments are all separate objects.

Step 3

Here we’ve selected the main body of the tree and open the Style Inspector. Click “Clone” to make a copy of the existing style, then click the color-well to change the fill color to blue.

Next, select one of the ornaments. You can see that the ornament is also a group – some complex clip arts may be made from groups of groups! Select each ornament and choose Graphic > Ungroup from the main menu, or right-click and choose Ungroup from the contextual menu.

Step 4

We’ve selected the main circle shape in the ungrouped ornament. In the Style Inspector, click “Clone” and change the colors in the gradient. Click onto the first gradient slider color-well and choose a white color. Click onto the second gradient slider color-well and choose a blue color.

Next, use the Style Dropper [d] tool to pick-up the new gradient style and drop it onto the other ornaments.

Step 5

We’ve also selected the star and made it a bit smaller. Hold the SHIFT-key while dragging the star’s object handles to maintain its aspect ratio while re-sizing.

Optionally, create a new clip art of the graphic that you’ve changed. With the Select [s] tool, click and drag a box over all the graphics to select the objects. Choose Graphic > Group from the main menu to group them into one graphic.

Step 6

Choose Edit > Add Clip Art To Library to automatically create a clip art in the user’s Library.

Final Image

Congratulations! You’ve successfully added a clip art to your drawing, ungrouped and edited it. Now you know the basics to edit any clip art supplied with Artboard. Use your customized artwork with other graphics to finish your drawing. Here we’ve added a rectangle with a gradient in the background, added “Snowflakes” clip art scattered on top, and some text. Thanks for a great first year with Artboard!

Create a Tranquil Waxing Moon Scene in Artboard

Night scenes with dark foreground elements and wide sky backgrounds are easy to create in Artboard. Find out how to use radial gradients to create a waxing crescent moon, and Core Image Filter effects to create stars that really shine. Read more

Artboard 1.1 Improves Vector Drawing Control and Workflow

We heard some great suggestions from early users and have worked hard to implement the ones we’re sure you’ll love. Artboard 1.1 improves workflow and introduces even greater control for drawing paths, moving nodes and curve handles.

Updated Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are updated for improved workflow. For example, the Select tool now uses the [s] shortcut bringing it on par with other professional drawing software. The Spacebar offers quick activation of the Pan tool for repositioning the drawing canvas regardless of the currently active tool. See the complete list of keyboard shortcuts.

Visual Feedback

Users now receive “visual feedback” in the form of a darkened point when selecting any point along a path, or any curve handle.


Use the keyboard arrow keys now to “nudge” individually selected points and curve handles in any direction.

Quick Edit Mode

Double-click any shape to quickly convert between shape and path edit modes. For example, draw a square and double-click it to switch to edit path mode. Select a corner and nudge the point outward. Double-click it to convert it back to a shape object. Paths work the same way. Note that special objects, like stars and rounded rectangles, lose their special status when converted to regular shapes.

Automatically Closing Paths

Artboard 1.1 implements automatically closing paths as the default behavior for Irregular Polygons, Bezier Paths, and Freehand Line tools. When you draw your ending point on top of your starting point, the path will close automatically. To open a closed path, choose Edit > Paths (+Option-key) > Open from the main menu, or Option Key-Command-.(period) keyboard shortcut. The Command-.(period) keyboard shortcut will close an open path. HINT: If you prefer not to have paths automatically close, you can disable this behavior in the Artboard > Preferences.

Create a Polished Raised Type Treatment

Use the Style Inspector along with Artboard’s new transform settings to create a polished raised type treatment. It is super easy to apply the style to other shape objects. Read more

Vector vs. Raster Drawing

Computer graphics can usually be divided into two distinct categories: vector graphics and raster (or bitmap) images. Artboard is vector-based illustration software for Mac OSX. Find out what the differences are between vector graphics and raster images.

There are instances when working with vector tools and formats is the best practice, and instances when working with raster tools and formats is the best practice. There are times when both formats come together. Understanding the advantages and limitations of each technology and the relationship between them will help you choose the appropriate tools and plan your drawing strategies.

Understanding Vector Art and Raster Graphics

Example showing effect of vector graphics versus raster graphics. The original vector-based illustration is at the left. The upper-right image illustrates magnification of 7x as a vector image. The lower-right image illustrates the same magnification as a bitmap image. (source Wikipedia)

Raster images are based on pixels and thus lose clarity when scaled, while vector-based images can be scaled indefinitely without degrading quality.

Raster images are made up of a grid of dots, or pixels, with each pixel containing color information. Computer displays are made up from grids of small rectangular cells called pixels. The picture is built up from these cells. The smaller and closer the cells are together, the better the quality of the image. When magnified, the pixels are magnified and the image can become grainy, or pixelated.

Vector graphics use points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s) that are mathematically defined to represent images in computer graphics. A vector graphics program uses these mathematical formulae to build the best quality image possible given the screen resolution. Vector graphics are scalable to any size and detail, and the file size of vector data generating the image stays the same. The quality of a vector graphic is limited only by the resolution of the output or display. Read more

Mapdiva Releases Artboard Drawing Software on the Mac App Store

11.02.08 Indianapolis, Indiana – Today Mapdiva released Artboard 1.0, vector drawing software for Mac OS X. Design logos, posters, floor plans, technical drawings, fun fashions, Web graphics, and more. Use pre-designed templates to create fliers, invitations, signs, and business cards. Artboard is drawing software for everyone. Available exclusively on the Mac App Store.

Artboard delivers with over 1600 awesome styles and fully editable clip art, including speech bubbles, shiny buttons, maps and flags, people factory, and home planning; plus a Library to store your own. Artboard features a powerful style generator and stacked styles that go way beyond simple fill and stroke, providing a wide range of spectacular effects. Artboard is simple, powerful and fun graphic design software that will make school reports and business presentations shine.

Artboard has everything to create your own graphics and illustrations, including:

  • Interface designed to work with vector graphics
  • Simple and direct drawing controls
  • Over 20 tools for drawing rectangles, stars, circles, lines, curves, text and navigating
  • Perfectly crisp anti-aliased graphics
  • Layers-based drawing
  • Smooth Bezier curves
  • Beautifully rendered text available with outline, mask, and text on path
  • Page and poster-tiled printing
  • Automatic graph paper
  • Pen tablet support
  • Export for web and print the most popular graphics formats PNG, JPG, PDF, and TIFF supporting resolutions from 72 to 600-dpi
  • Quick access to iPhoto, Pictures folder, and Smart folders via Image Browser
  • Drag-and-drop between popular productivity apps such as iWork(TM) Pages, Number, and Keynote
  • Deep Mac OS X integration via technologies such as ColorSync, Quick Look, Spotlight, Apple Fonts palette, Apple Colors palette, drag-and-drop and many other
System Requirements
  • Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
  • Core Image supported graphics card
  • 38.5 MB
Pricing and Availability

Artboard is Mapdiva’s second vector-based software application for Mac OSX. Artboard 1.0 is only $19.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Graphics & Design category.

About Mapdiva

Founded in 2008, Mapdiva is dedicated to making powerfully easy vector software so you can focus your creative energy on content and design. Mapdiva’s flagship product, Ortelius, is the cartography software for map design. Artboard is their latest product. Mapdiva, LLC has offices in Indianapolis, IN USA and Armidale, NSW Australia. Artboard and Ortelius are trademark of Mapdiva, LLC. Apple and Mac OS are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

via prMac