Learning Paths

A thick outer line

In this tutorial we will look at how to give an illustration a thick outer line as seen above, a technique technical illustrators have used for many years. First we can see that the original illustration, shown below, is made out of multiple shapes for all the different colours and objects.


All the parts of the dinosaur were selected using Cmd + A (mac) or Ctrl + A (windows) and then grouped together using Cmd + G (mac) or Ctrl + G (windows). In the Appearance panel, to create the effect we are after we need to add a new stroke which will eventually become the thick outer line, so lets click on the Add New Stroke button (indicated by the red circle) see below.

With the new stroke added we can increase the thickness of the stroke and even the colour directly in the Appearance panel. The settings I have used can be seen in the screenshot below. Don’t worry that it is also affecting some of the internal strokes too – we will fix that next.

So that the stroke only applies to the outer edge of the dinosaur, we just need drag the Stroke down, below the Contents in the Appearance panel, as shown below. You can still adjust the strokes weight, colour and many more settings any time you wish directly in the Appearance panel – its a multi-purpose panel.

If there are any other techniques or effects you would like to see, let me know, we may use your idea for a future blog.