Design Challenge Day 6: Intertwining Text and Images in Illustrator

A Day's Delay

I spent most of my Monday at PRSA Oregon's Communicator Conference and thought my Day 6 post would be seriously delayed. And I was right! The weather was absolutely beautiful in the evening, so we had family time at the park after daycare pickup. By the time we got home, finished dinner, cleanup, and toddler bedtime routine, I was too tired to do anything but hang out with my husband watching Sense8, which I highly recommend.

So today, there will be TWO tutorials!

Intertwining Text and Vector Images

The first, for Day 6 (which was yesterday), is one of my favorites, a tutorial on intertwining text and vector images in Illustrator from Teela Cunningham of Every-Tuesday. This is a fun and visually interesting effect that looks much more difficult than it is. I admit it's a bit of a cheat, because I'd done this tutorial before, but I did create a new image with it!

My finished product after watching the tutorial

My finished product after watching the tutorial

The Process

For the image below, I chose Catandra Script, a bold, swirly font. The leafy branch that intertwines with the text is from Denise Anne's Thicket Thatch Pack. Both are available from Creative Market, one of my go-to resources for fonts, patterns, themes, and more. I chose this particular branch because of the cutouts in some of the leaves, which gave a cool effect against the text and background.

The most important part of this effect is using the pathfinder tool: first to unite the text once you've created outlines; next to divide the text and vector image to begin work on intertwining them; and finally to unite the recolored segments to ensure a clean final result.

The Presentation

You already know I'm a huge fan of Teela Cunningham. She walks you through everything carefully and thoughtfully. She shows and explains why you need each step, which makes it easy to follow along, but doesn't spend time showing you repetitive steps. She also directs you to resources she's designed to follow along with her tutorials, which means you may need to pay for them if you want your finished product to look exactly the same as hers. I usually find my own within my library or search for similar options available for free.


This was really the tutorial that got me really excited about learning more in Illustrator. Using the pathfinder tool to play with text and an image was super fun and made me think about how I could use this in future projects. It gave me more confidence in using the pathfinder tool and seeing what effects I could create with it.