I haven’t done a tutorial in a long time so I thought I’d share some of the newer Photoshop tricks and techniques that I’ve learned lately. Here’s a piece that I did for the Illustration for Kids February promotional mailer.
For this image, I knew I wanted to make two love birds so I downloaded a bunch of reference photos of love birds and created a rough pencil drawing.
I scanned the pencil drawing of the birds into Photoshop and cut and pasted it into a new photoshop document, making sure this new file was the size of the final artwork and in RGB color mode. I made sure I included all the necessary bleeds, so there weren’t any surprises later.
Then I created the heart shape in Adobe Illustrator and cut and pasted (paste as pixels) into the Photoshop file. Then I erased the parts of the heart that should be hidden by the birds. I also sketched in the rest of the leaves on the end of the branch.
For this illustration, I wanted everything in the image outlined in a grainy pencil line. To do that I could have created a new layer in Photoshop and traced the image using the brush tool, but I haven’t found a pencil brush in Photoshop that I’m completely happy with. So I decided to print the image out on drawing paper and trace it with a soft graphite pencil. But before I did that, I made some modifications to the image.
I selected the layer with the birds and clicked on Image->Adjustment->Levels. I then adjusted the level sliders in order to make the whites whiter and the pencil lines darker.
Next, I wanted to make the whole image a pale blue color, sort of like a non-photo blue pencil. To do this I made sure I was on the topmost layer of the file and I created a new “Hue/Saturation” adjustment layer. In the Adjustments window I checked the “Colorize” check box and moved the hue slider to a cyan blue color and increased the Saturation and Lightness until I was happy with the results.
Next I stuck a sheet of Strathmore drawing paper in my inkjet printer and printed the image. I then traced over it with at 4B pencil.
Then I scanned it back into Photoshop, adjusting the Levels as needed to make the whites white and the darks dark. It wasn’t bad, but I had a few places where I didn’t follow the lines exactly so I had some light blue lines showing through.