advanced photoshop

Create traditional effects with brushes

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Tips & Tutorials, by Rebecca Greig

Discover how Phuong Thai My creates artwork with traditional effects

PhuongThaiMy-A father's day (1)

Phuong Thai My’s work has a quirky, traditional look that is achieved through the combination of Photoshop brushes, especially pencils, chalks and pastels.

She also varies the opacity of these brushes a great deal, and the blending mode used to build up the look. For this image, the background was built up using two brushes from a custom brush set.

The first is called Pencil 10 Wax, which is used at a large size and at different opacity levels. The second is a Dry Media 50 Chalk, which gives the look of “smoke, clouds and soft effects.” Phuong Thai My says: “I increase the contrast between the main subjects and everything else in the artwork. The background should be simple and support the central character.”

In order to increase the details in the main subjects of the piece, a Dry Media 90 Oil Pastel and a Pencil 10 Wax are used at a small brush size with the aim of “keeping [her] digital art relatively similar to traditional art by pencil”.