advanced photoshop
Aug
11

15 Illustration Tips and Tricks: Part 2

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Tips & Tutorials, by Anna-lisa Saywell

Artists in the industry share their secrets to using Photoshop in order to enhance their illustrations, which range from editorial work to packaging and high profile advertising

See part 1 of these awesome tips at blog.advancedphotoshop.co.uk/tutorials/15-illustration-tips-and-tricks-part-1

6 – Lock transparent pixels

15 Illustration Tips and Tricks: Part 2

When faced with a brief to create an image out of a sound, Mark Verhaagen turned the whole project into a vintage science illustration. Audio designer David Kamp (davidkamp.de) came up with the Sound Creatures project in which he first created imaginary creature sounds. He then sent these audio files to selected illustrators, including Mark, who used them as inspiration to create images of fictional animals. The illustrations and corresponding sounds can be seen on www.sound-creatures.com. “The audio file that I got featured some sort of sad trumpet sound, so a trumpet-like nose was my starting point for the look of the animal”, he says. Once he’d created the main shapes of the animals and plants in Illustrator, Mark exported his various objects to Photoshop. “I added shading using the Airbrush tool and then locked transparent pixels in the Layers palette so I could easily paint within the shape of an object. Drawing the birds’ feathers was a bit more tricky, but as soon as you have one feather in a particular shape, you can re-use it. Use the Free Transform, Skew and Warp tools to make each feather look different to the basic feather, and draw some extra details here and there to set them apart from the rest even more. When the illustration was ready I added some textures so it would have a nice, old look.”

7 – Utilise Colour Overlay

15 Illustration Tips and Tricks: Part 2

Max Gregor’s fashion illustrations are a harmonious mix of traditional sketches and digital finishes: “Here, I started with a drawing of the different elements of the model’s outfit: her body drawn in pencil, an ink drawing of her shawl and a few brush patterns drawn in blue gauche. I then scanned all the images and cleaned up the Levels, and used the Eraser to remove messy lines and dust left from the scan. A Color Overlay was key to this image as it allowed me to add a flat graphic feel and still maintain the loose organic detail of the brush stroke.”

8 – Use custom brushes

15 Illustration Tips and Tricks: Part 2

To create eye-catching packaging for a vegan brand started by a friend of theirs, Ila and Luke of Tomski & Polanski envisioned a vintage feel: “We started with classic floral patterns and then changed the flowers for cupcakes and cocoa, before adding quality typography. We used Photoshop to draw in the details of patterns, to complete the composition and for the final colouring and post-production, and used a lot of custom brushes and a variety of preset Actions and filters. Since we use a lot of textures we often add Smart Object layers, which saves us a lot of work.”

9 – Delve into filters

15 Illustration Tips and Tricks: Part 2

To create this delicious array of fruit, Syd Brak reached for the Filter menu: “The idea was to illustrate the ingredients of a product in a clean, healthy and appetising way. I created rough images of the content then enriched and enhanced the colours to an attractive and appetising level while retaining a believable realism. It was important to ensure the light source was constant on every object, with an enhanced gloss to emphasise the liquidity and create a sunny feel. I rely fairly heavily on the subtleties of the Filter dialog to achieve a realistic but painter-like quality, and avoid a plastic feel.”

10 – Refine your colour palette

15 Illustration Tips and Tricks: Part 2
 

15 Illustration Tips and Tricks: Part 2
 

15 Illustration Tips and Tricks: Part 2

Steve Simpson was given a brief to create packaging for a frozen yoghurt start-up that required a loud message to kids declaring its contents yummy while simultaneously telling parents it was healthy: “To do this, I decided to create kid-friendly, energetic, cartoon-ish characters but make the fruit more realistic.”
“I had been brought in on the project by Dublin design agency IDEA,” Steve tells us. “I was trusted to create the look and feel for the project while the agency looked after the client liaising and production. After scanning my pencil sketch and setting up the size, colour mode and resolution of the artwork – usually at least twice the size that’s needed – I copied the sketch onto a new layer, reduced the Opacity and Multiply’d the layer. This allowed me to trace the artwork onto multiple layers beneath it. Once I had the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, head, jumper, etc on separate layers I looked at tweaking and balancing the colours.” Steve also gives some advice for approaching colour: “Try to pick a limited palette of colours before you start. I usually put mine in a small swatch somewhere in the image as a reminder while I’m working on it. I then swap the colours around the elements of the illustration until I’m happy with the balance. Don’t be afraid to experiment – grass isn’t always green and cows can be blue.”