In this article I will teach you how in 5 quick and easy steps you can create this stippling texture effect in Illustrator. This thread proved to be very helpful when I tried to figure out myself how to recreate the effect. So, this tutorial is a further research on the discussed methods.
So, to imitate a stippling texture effect in Illustrator you need to follow these simple steps:
1 Black and white gradient
Duplicate a shape you want to add stippling effect to on top of the original shape. (You might as well add a new fill layer, also on top, which is more convenient for nice order of your file, but it might slow down your Illustrator and give you headaches when preparing you design for printing. Better just duplicate shapes.) Apply BW (black and white) gradient fill to the shape. That will be your shading map. You will be doing all further manipulations with this gradient shape.
2 First effect
Apply one of these effects to lay the foundation of your stippling texture pattern:
Effect → Artistic → Sponge
Effect → Artistic → Film Grain
Effect → Pixelate → Pointillize
Effect → Pixelate → Mezzotint → Coarse Dots
Effect → Sketch → Graphic Pen
Effect → Sketch → Reticulation
Effect → Texture → Grain
3 Stamp effect
Apply Effect → Sketch → Stamp effect to simplify and bulk overly fine pattern generated by previous effects.
4 Blending mode
Use Multiply blending mode about 20% opacity for your black and white gradient shape (or fill layer) to add shadows; set Screen blending mode also about 20% opacity to add highlights. So if you want to add both shadows and highlights make 2 copies of the original shape.
5 Roughen and textures
This is optional. Apply Effect → Distort & Transform → Roughen effect to your shapes to give more irregular authentic feel. Additionally, add some black and white texture on top with Overlay or Soft Light blending mode.
Keep in mind, some effects combinations and setting will not give desired results, so you are to play around and experiment with settings. Also, order of effects is important: apply effects from Step 2 first, apply Stamp effect as a final one.
You can control the effect by (a) adjusting black and white gradient (meaning type, shape, gradient sliders, blending modes, masks, clipping masks), (b) adjusting and combining certain effects, and (c) scaling your shapes. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be with the technique.
Here the easy part ends.
This one is optional. If you need to prepare your vectors for serious printing, where overprints matter, it might get trickier, especially if your design is quite complex. The process is a bit tedious, but you can do it.
First, ungroup all your design, so that you have all your shape-components on one level. Mind having backup copies of your design file just in case.
Select a shape with stippling effect and go: Object → Expand Appearance → Live trace → One Color Logo* → Expand
and: Object → Compound path → Make
Ideally you will have a compound path shape with your stippling, just a shape, no gradients, no effects. Sometimes depending on the software version and whims it will create a group after Expand Appearance, then just select that group, find <Image> element there, select it and Live Trace button should appear under your menu panel. Then you can follow previous instructions.
One Color Logo live tracing preset is good because it will leave just blacks, that are our stippling, just what we need.
Flatten Transparency works similar way, you might experiment with it as well.
Finally, if you do not want overprints, select both an original shape and stippling compound path, go to Pathfinder and press Merge. That is pretty much it.