Digital Illustration: Using Photography As Texture

Chris Clark, Designer & Illustrator

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6 Lessons (9m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Lesson 1: Making The Vector

    • 3. Lesson 2: Choosing A Photo

    • 4. Lesson 3: Prepping For Photoshop

    • 5. Lesson 4: Mastering The Clipping Mask

    • 6. Final Thoughts


Project Description

You will be creating a vector illustration that uses photography as texture. It is recommended that you watch the entire class first before you start. That way you can better use the videos as reference while you work.


You will choose a word as inspiration and then make an illustration using photography as a texture with the clipping mask found in Photoshop. Here are the steps required to complete the project:

  • Choose a word to use as inspiration when thinking of your ideas. In my project, I used the word ascend. 

  • Create a 1500pt X 1500pt canvas in Illustrator.

  • Start layering shapes together to create your vector illustration.

    Note: I recommend using a large stroke (start with a 20pt stroke) and no fills.

  • Use a photo you’ve taken, or you can find a photo on the internet. I recommend going to either: Unsplash or New Old Stock to find a photo.

    Note: The photo should at least be a 1500px X 1500px resolution image.
  • Bring your illustration and photo into Photoshop and then utilize the clipping mask technique. 

    Note: I encourage you to play around with the orientation of your photo to see what best suits your illustration.

  • Save for web as a maximum quality .jpeg at 750px X 750px

That’s it! You have an illustration that uses photography as texture. All you have to do now, is share your finished product here in the project gallery.

Feel free to share your process photos, especially if you have questions, or want feedback.


A 750px X 750px Illustration that uses photography as texture (via the clipping mask).

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