I love being able to replicate analog world looks in Illustrator. Its not that I don’t enjoy hand stippling my drawings (I do) but this Illustrator process offers a lot of possibilities especially when you move your drawings from paper to the computer screen. The effect is super easy to achieve and there are endless variations.
1. Start by making a true dotted line.
Start with a 1pt line of any length and open the STROKE panel. For this you’ll have to get to the extended options by clicking on the STROKE panel menu and SHOW OPTIONS. Change the CAPS to round, this will ensure the dots on the dotted line are circles as opposed to squares. Next check off DASHED LINE and set the first DASH to 0 pt – by doing this it forces the round cap to become a complete circle. Set the GAP to a size a little larger than the stroke weight (in this case I used 1.5pts)
2. Copy the line below a certain distance. For my example I’m placing the stipples in a square field so the distance is equal to the length of the line. It doesn’t matter what distance you choose it can always be changed later in the process.
3. Select both lines and apply EFFECT menu > DISTORT & TRANSFORM > ROUGHEN. The most important setting here is ABSOLUTE – this will make sure the distortion is based on the size of the overall working space as opposed to basing it off of the proximity to the object being distorted. I keep the size relatively small – anywhere between 0.01 and 0.04 inches works. Set the detail really high in order to get the most stipples.
4. Change the BLEND options prior to making the blend – this can always be changed later as we will see. OBJECT menu > BLEND > BLEND OPTIONS. I do it as SPECIFIED STEPS and for this example used 120 steps, we can change this after the blend is made.
5. Select the two lines and make the blend. OBJECT menu > BLEND > MAKE
6. You can make further adjustments and variations to the stipple field even after its been made into a blend. You can change the overall stipple size by selecting the blend and changing the weight and gap distance in the stroke panel. To make a graduated blend select only one of the lines with the DIRECT SELECTION TOOL (white arrow) and change the weight and gap distance. With the Blend selected you can also update it by going into OBJECT menu > BLEND > BLEND OPTIONS and changing the number of steps.
7. To fade the blend out to almost nothing, change the weight of one of the lines to .125pts (or lower), changing the weight to 0 will have undesired results.