Deke's Techniques 553: Create a Classic Neon Sign in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to make "vector based" neon in Adobe Illustrator. In other words, he turns this:

Letters drawn in Illustrator for a neon sign

into this:


A neon sign drawn in Adobe Illustrator

The key is to draw open path letters in Illustrator, then apply a series of different colored strokes, and blend the colors together to create the neon effect.

If you're a member of, Deke's got (count 'em) two follow up movies in which he shows you how he created that real world light fluctuation in the sign and then adds the blackout connectors that would exist in a real sign.

If you're not a member, take advantage of the 10-day free trial you can get by heading to Then you can check out these two exclusive movies as well as opening up the entire Deke's Techniques collection.

Next week, we'll go really real-world, and see how Deke finishes this effect in Photoshop.

Deke's Techniques, definitively open for (design) business!

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Wonky Video Feeds

Two weeks ago the Deke’s Techniques video never worked. I tried on multiple platforms in multiple browsers — nada. Last week’s worked (I enjoyed the trip down memory lane — reminded me of the tutorials Adobe used to provide in the Illustrator manuals back in the late ’80s). This week’s (above) is supposed to be neon sign, but it’s replaying last week’s episode.

I’m disappointed in the seeming increase in technical difficulties getting the weekly episodes to play correctly.


Thanks for the heads up,. Buzza

Thanks for letting me know about the wrong video feed. We've switched over to using the video instead of posting it to YouTube first. If you have difficulties, can you please let me know so that I can work with the Lynda folk to fix it.

Thanks again for catching the episode issue!

Video Feed Troubles

You're welcome, Colleen.

It's Bazza, however, not Buzza. But I've been called worse. ;-)

Unfortunately, the video is still not playing. I've tried Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer on Windows 7 (Adobe Flash is not installed) and Safari on iOS (iPhone 6s). No go on any. Episode 548 plays, 550 does not, 552 does, and 553 does not. Some kind of inconsistency with's feed?

I so look forward to Deke's Techniques every week. I've been a viewer since the DekePod's second pilot, "101 Photoshop Tips in 5 Minutes." I hope you can get the technical difficulties worked out soon -- I'm having withdrawals!

“Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; While others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.” ~Herodotus