In this artwork, Aartsma relied mostly on stock imagery, which he normally shoots himself. “This time, however, I wanted to show a wide subject matter, so it would take me too long to shoot all these photos,” he admits. “In this case stock photography was used, as it was the only way to finish the work within a reasonable time frame.”
Most of the effects were created by drawing in details such as line art and brushed textures, with a drawing tablet and a lot of photo texturing also being used. “This was added to achieve a rough edge, which fits the concept very well, and also to give it a more uniform look,” reveals Aartsma.
Urban-style typography is normally loose, which often makes it more illegible. Aartsma wanted to make his own creative type a little more commercial and readable. “I ended up with something that looks like handwritten letters inspired by graffiti,” he tells us. “I also worked this way because the letters became 3D and full of perspective, which gave me a lot of possibilities in adding environments and elements.”
Aartsma used a wealth of resources including pencil sketching, the Pen tool, 3D elements and even Photoshop postproduction effects. “All were equally important,” he insists. “It’s the combination of all these things that give it a special feel I think.
I prefer to work smaller so I can focus easily, visually translating the bigger composition areas much quicker. Next, I scan in and trace the contours of the letters with the Pen tool in grey.
A soft brush was applied to all the shadows and highlights. A skin texture brush (white colour, at 60% Opacity) was also applied, as well as a metal texture masked on top.