How to Draw a Beveled Letter

How to Draw a Beveled Letter

7 min read

Hello Vectornators!

Welcome to a brand-new issue of our beloved series of "How to" tutorials! In this tutorial, we will teach you how to draw a beveled letter. We will draw the beveled letter for the annual challenge 36 Days of Type that is held on Instagram by the Barcelona-based graphic designers Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea.

You can read more about the 36 Days of Type challenge in our previous blog post!

The contest is a 36-day celebration of typography and creativity, involving designers, visual artists, and creatives from all fields in a global and simultaneous act of creativity around type and letter forms.

Take a look at the official calendar for the 9th edition of 36 Days of Type and choose your letter or number and publish it on its respective official calendar date. If you would like to participate in the challenge with all the other creative people then grab your stylus pen and let's get started!

Pro Tip: You can follow the tutorial on Mac too. You can navigate the Mac interface by visiting our Learning Hub for Mac. Set the toggle on every linked site in this tutorial from iPad to Mac and you will see the corresponding interface for Mac.‍
What You'll Need:
• iPad
• Apple Pencil
• The latest version of Vectornator
What You'll Learn:
• How to use the Pen Tool
• How to use the Text Tool
• How to convert text into Vector Shapes
• How to use the Isometric Grid
• How to play with colors

Get Some Inspiration First

If you are completely new to lettering, you may ask yourself, what is a beveled letter?

The Bevel is a slanted surface or edge, a beveled lettering is a type of 3D lettering that has been cut into the surface of an object to create a decorative effect.

Typographic bevels are shading and artificial shadows that mimic the appearance of a three-dimensional letter on a flat surface. It is used in mainstream logos and other design elements. Internal lines and added shadows create the illusion of 3D embossing and extrusion on a 2D surface. A beveled letter graphic font is a typeface that has been originally designed for use in digital printing on paper.

Before you start drawing this expressive lettering style, search for pictures of beveled letters online. Study the structure of the lettering styles, their letter inline, and outline and observe how the lines and shadow colors are creating the extrude & bevel effect.

You can even start drawing a few beveled letters on paper or with your iPad or on paper before you start the challenge to get a grasp on how to set the internal lines and shadows to create the embossed look. This is an advanced lettering effect, if you have no previous experience drawing it, take your time to draw a few letters in preparation for the tutorial.

‍Let loose and don't be afraid to make mistakes!

Prepare the Template

To be able to participate in the challenge, you have to share your letter artwork on Instagram with a specified template. That is why we will create the template first before we start drawing the beveled letter.

When you upload your file it is very important that the main hashtag of the project is included (#36daysoftype) but don't forget to include the individual daily hashtag (#36days_LETTER / NUMBER).

The correct hashtag for the first day would be #36daysoftype and #36days_a for example.

There are three main submission rules from the 36 Days of Type website you have to follow to be able to participate in the challenge:

Submit: Use #36daysoftype + #36days_LETTER / NUMBER to submit your work
Image entries: JPG / PNG, ideally in squared format (1080 x 1080px)
Video entries: Video entries in all formats are also welcome.
Both static images and videos are welcome. Just make sure that your file size is in the square format: 1080 x 1080px

You can create your color palette in Vectornator in advance. Below you can find all the Hex color codes to prepare the palette for the tutorial.

Hex color codes:
Background Gradient: #FFFFFF + #E80692

Light Blue: #84CEE8
Dark Blue: #042733
Medium Blue: #1B6680

Outline Stroke: #FFFFFF
Shadow: #02293B

Create a new layer in the Layers Tab and name it "Background". Select the Rectangle Shape in the Toolbar and toggle the stroke off, and set the Linear Gradient of the background fill color to #FFFFFF + #E80692 in the Color Widget or the Color Slider Space.

Drag the Rectangle Shape across the canvas until it's completely covered in the white-rose gradient color.

Pro Tip - Vectornator offers you a template for Instagram in the Documents tab. Every image that you have created on iPad will be saved automatically in the Gallery.
Step 1

Create the Base letter

In the next step of our tutorial, we will create the base letter. Create a new layer and name it "Letter". Drag the layer "Letter" above the "Background" layer or move it with the Order gesture in the Arrange Tab on top of the layer stack.

Activate the Text Tool by pressing on the text icon in the Toolbar or by pressing "T" on your keyboard. Set the Fill of the Text Tool to pure white (#FFFFFF). In the Style Tab, set the font to Helvetica, the Type to Bold, and the size to 1000 pt.

Now, tap and drag anywhere on the canvas. A bounding box containing the word "Text" will appear on your canvas. You can then start writing the letter "E" by using the keyboard.

Vectornator interface with pink background and white letter E on foreground
Step 2

Convert the Text into a Vector Shape

In the next step of our tutorial, we will convert the text into a vector shape to make it editable. Select the Letter with the Selection Tool. To convert the text into a vector shape, tap the button Create Outlines from Text in the attributes of the Text Tool. Now, we have converted our letter into a vector shape!

Step 3

Set up the Artboard with an Isometric Grid

In the next step of our tutorial, we will set up the Artboard with an Isometric Grid.

The Isometric Grid function will help you to draw the beveled optic of your letter. If you are completely new to the term of the Isometric Grid, you can watch our Academy Mac video to get a basic understanding of this technique.

Go to Quick Settings > Artboards & Grid > Show Grid > Isometric Grid. Set the spacing to 200 pixels and the angle to 45°.

Vectornator interface with pink isometric grid background and selected white letter E on foreground
Step 4

Position the Letter on the Isometric Grid

After you have set up the Isometric Grid, we will fit the letter correctly to the grid. Activate Snap to Grid from the Quick Settings and select Snap to Grid. Select the Node Tool and move the nodes of your letter shape along the grid lines so that the parallel and horizontal lines of the letter align perfectly with those of the grid lines.

Vectornator interface with pink isometric grid background and white letter E on foreground
Step 5

Draw the Shadows

In the next step of our tutorial, we will draw the basic shadow of our letter to create the extrude & bevel effect. Tap on the Pen Tool and toggle only the Fill Mode on in the Color Widget. Then set the color to Dark Blue: #042733.

Pro Tip – If you are unfamiliar with the Pen Tool, you can watch the video from the Vectornator Academy series about the Pen Tool.

Let's get started drawing the shadow elements!‍

Tap on the corner lines of your letter to draw the first triangle. Tap again to create a new node and to change the direction of your path. Follow the diagonal and horizontal lines of the Isometric Grid precisely. Copy the triangle twice with the Duplicate Mode and position the triangles on the letter, as you can see in the reference picture.

Pro Tip – If you want to draw paths with sharp edges, you can switch the Node Type for an optimal drawing experience. You can edit your Nodes with the Node Tool afterward.

We will continue to draw the beveled surfaces with the previous technique.

The Hex color codes for your shapes:
Light Blue: #84CEE8
Dark Blue: #042733
Medium Blue: #1B6680

Set the Fill Well of the Pen Tool to the individual Hex colors. Draw the shapes precisely by following the lines on the Isometric Grid as the artist did in the reference image.

Vectornator interface with pink isometric grid background and beveled letter E on foreground
Step 6

Draw the Letter Outline

In the next step of our tutorial, we will create the white outline stroke of the letter.

‍Select the background “E” shape, toggle the Stroke Mode on and set the stroke width to about 4-5 pt. Set the stroke color to pure white (# FFFFFF).

‍That’s it, we have created the outline of the letter!

Vectornator interface with pink isometric grid background and petrol-colored beveled letter E with a white outline on the foreground
Step 7

Add the Drop Shadow

In the next and last step of our tutorial, we will add a drop shadow to our letter to further enhance the 3-dimensional effect. Select the letter shape, open the expandable Shadow Menu in the Style Tab and toggle the Shadow on.

Set the Shadow Color to #02293B, the Direction to 135°, the Blur to = 32pt, and the Shadow Offset to 30pt.

Step 8

The Result

Voilà! That's it, we are finished with our beveled letter!

Don't forget to post your masterpiece for the 36 Days of Type challenge on Instagram and share it with the Vectornator Community in our Gallery!

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