ArcGIS Pro

How to create the pen and ink stipple effect in ArcGISPro (and how to save it to a style)

Last Friday I snuck out a Pen & Ink style for ArcGIS Pro that lets you make maps that look all hand drawn in a stippled inky sort of shading vibe and asked you to steal it and use it with abandon. I’ve got several requests asking how it was made and, in a more general sense, how to save a symbol to a style. So here that is…

Here’s a breakout of what’s covered, with some links (which will open the YouTube video on a new tab, at that section).

0:49 Adding a marker symbol layer. You know, that mysterious option sitting next to the well-worn stroke and fill symbol layers.

1:56 Randomizing the marker symbol. Even though true randomness is a philosophical illusion.

3:26 Duplicating a symbol layer. Stack those things up!

3:55 Adding the super cool “donut” effect, which just hollows out a polygon so you can keep only the inner-boundary ribbons like those cool political wall maps (don’t use a buffer, use a simple rendering effect!).

6:12 Where I embarrassingly forget that I’ve not actually changed the donut width yet and get all confused.

9:47 Creating a wobbly line, so it looks like a person drew it and not a robot, using the “wave” effect.

11:27 Stacking a couple semi-transparent wobbly lines to look inky.

12:48 Controlling the dash template to add a random-looking splash of extra ink now and then. Getting comfortable with the dash effect is a generally helpful thing.

16:09 An eminently useful mnemonic for remembering small scale vs large scale. Picture a fish…

17:15 Saving a symbol to the “Favorites” style. Sooo handy.

18:31 Using a symbol for a map layer by picking it from the symbology panel’s Gallery tab (where you see previews of all the symbols for your project’s styles).

20:18 Shameless plug for downloading and using the Pen and Ink style for ArcGIS Pro.

Have fun; be well and do good work!

Love, John

About the author

I have far too much fun looking for ways to understand and present data visually, hopefully driving product strategy and engaging users. I work in the Content team at Esri, pushing and pulling data in all sorts of absurd ways -and then talking about it. I also get to spend time with the Story Maps team, working on fun and useful user experiences. When I'm not doing those things, I'm chasing around toddlers and wrangling chickens, and generally getting into other ad-hoc adventures. Life is good. Loads more how-to posts: My YouTube channel: Loads of Styles for Pro: Instagram:


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Duncan Hornby
Duncan Hornby


I really enjoyed your video, I found your explanation about those cartographic effects (donut, wavy dash lines) and how you built up your style extremely informative. It’s an aspect of ArcPro I know I don’t use anywhere near as effectively as I could. I look forward to any other cool effects you dream up!

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