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 ArcGIS Living Atlas team at Esri, pushing and pulling data in all sorts of absurd ways and then sharing the process. I also design user experiences for maps and apps. 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. You might also like these Styles for ArcGIS Pro: esriurl.com/nelsonstyles

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Duncan Hornby
Duncan Hornby

John,

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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