I wanted to do a post showing how I created one of my pieces. I haven’t been doing this for very long and have basically no formal training, so it’s pretty simple, but I thought it might still be of help to someone. Also, there’s so much stuff out there that I have no idea how it was created, so hopefully this will inspire other people to do a ‘step by step’ as well. :) Anyway, this is how I did the colossal squid travel poster.
I wanted to alternate between text and image, but can’t work out how do it. :P
1 and 2. I hand drew the squid on one paper and the mountains and boat on another (both thin Sharpie marker on A3 zeta paper, which is thin enough for tracing and the ink doesn’t bleed into it). Then I got them scanned in. Once I opened the files in Photoshop, I put the boat on a separate layer from the mountains.
3. Still in Photoshop, I drew the edges of the shading in using the basic brush tool, then filled in the colour, including the outlines. All of this was done in different layers from the outlines, so once the colours were done, I just hid the outline layers. The squid, the mountains and the boat colours were all in different layers from each other. After that I used the liquify filter to change the shape of the pointy bit of the squid a bit.
4. I added the text, each part on new layers. I experimented quite a bit with fonts and so forth to get the right look. I still wasn’t happy with the eyes, so I created two new layers (one for the whites, one for the pupils), and used the fill tool to create copies of the eyes on the new layers. Then I used liquify and the brush and shape tools to change the shape a little bit.
5. At this point I actually did stage six, but what I did after that is much clearer if I switch the order round. After putting what I thought was the final version on tumblr, I realised that the sea looked too flat, and that there wasn’t really any sense of the squid actually being in the water. In yet another layer, I used the shape tool in a lighter blue to create alternating light and dark stripes. Then I used the wave distort filter to make them a bit wavy. After that I used the shape and line tools in combination with free transform to create the circles and lines around the squid and behind the boat.
6. I wanted to make this look like a vintage travel poster, so I needed to age it a bit. There are a ton of free textures online; I’m embarrassed to say I can’t remember where I got the two I used here from, but I’m pretty sure I started at http://slodive.com/photoshop/photoshop-textures/#paper. The creased one I layered over everything at 18% opacity. With the blotchy one I got rid of the actual paper colour so that I was just overlaying the blotches. They were also at 18%, except over the text where they didn’t show up. I copied the blotches to a new layer and set the opacity to 100%, then used the eraser to delete that layer of blotches everywhere except over the text. After a bit more fiddling around I got it printed out in A1 size, and it looks great. :)
In real life there was a lot more shifting around and dead ends etc… If I’d known I was going to be doing this I would have saved pngs as I went along.