Digital Ink - How to Create Ink Illustrations with Photoshop | Ramona Kaulitzki | Skillshare

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Digital Ink - How to Create Ink Illustrations with Photoshop

teacher avatar Ramona Kaulitzki, Children's illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. How to Make a Basic Ink Brush

    • 3. How to Make a Texture Brush

    • 4. How to Make Texture Stamps

    • 5. How to Make your Lines More Interesting

    • 6. Line Illustration Demo

    • 7. Lines and Texture Illustration Demo

    • 8. Thank You!

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About This Class

Digital Ink - How to Create Ink Illustrations with Photoshop

Ink illustrations are fun to do and can be a nice addition to your portfolio. In this class you will learn how to create digital ink illustrations using Photoshop. I will show you how you can easily create your own unique ink brushes and textures that you can then use to draw your own beautiful ink illustrations. This way you can combine a traditional hand-painted look with the advantages of working digitally.

This class is suitable for beginners as well as more advanced illustrators who want to learn a new technique. You don‘t need any prior knowledge.

You can see more of my work on my website or follow me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.

Meet Your Teacher

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Ramona Kaulitzki

Children's illustrator



Hello there! I'm Ramona, a children's illustrator from Germany. Having an education in graphic design, I started freelancing fulltime in 2012. Since my real passion always was drawing and painting I later switched to being a children's illustrator, which is really a dream job for me! I just love creating little characters and thinking about the world they live in. Illustration is so much more than just a craft. You can tell whole stories only with your images. And that is what resonates most with me. I love to make people smile with my illustrations and it always makes me so happy to hear that I brightened someones day with one of my images.  

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1. Welcome!: Hi, my name is Ramona Kaulitzki. I'm a children's illustrator from Germany, and in this class, I want to show you how you can create ink illustrations with Photoshop. To do this, we will create our own unique ink brushes with hand-painted textures. After this, I will show you how you can create an illustration by only using lines, and another one with a combination out of lines and texture. Painting traditionally, especially with green ink and paper is super fun and I still love it, but working digitally also has its advantages; it is fast, you can easily make changes and after you've finished painting, your work is right there, ready to share on social media or to send to your client. You don't need to scan your work in and you don't need any materials other than a drawing tablet and program. So, it is definitely worth a try. For the class project, you will create your own digital ink illustration by using this case that you have learned during this class. Of course, the techniques that I will show you in these videos are only my way of doing this illustrations so please feel free to take whatever you can use to create your own unique creative process. The class is suitable for beginners as well as more advanced illustrators who want to learn a new technique. You don't need any prior knowledge. Let's get started and I hope to see you in class. 2. How to Make a Basic Ink Brush: In order to create our own unique ink illustrations in Photoshop, the first thing that we need to do is to create some ink brushes. The first brush that we want to create is a rather basic ink brush that creates more simple clean lines. To do this, we just choose one of our textures here like this, and place it, and Rasterize it. We want to first increase the contrast a little bit. You can do this under Image, Adjustments, and under Levels or Curves. Under Levels, you can just drag these arrows a little bit to make the background more white and the texture more black. You can also do this with Curves. Just drag this down, and just play around with this. After we've increased the contrast of it. I think we can do it a little bit more. This is looking good. We take our lasso tool and just make a selection. Like this. Then we go to Edit, and Define Brush Preset. Now we can name our brush. Control D to deselect. We can hide this layer and create a new one. Now if we go in the Brushes here, we can find our brush here at the very end. Now we have basically in this stamp of our texture. To make clean ink wash out of this, we have to go to Brush Settings here. The first thing as we go to Brush Tip Shape, and take the spacing all the way to the left side to 1 percent, and this will make your brush more dark and dense. After this, we can go to Shape Dynamics, and adjust the angle jitter. Like you see this will create a little bit more variety in our brush. Like this. We also wanted to select Flip X Jitter, and Y Jitter. We also want to go under the Size Jitter, and open this little window and select Pen Pressure. You see why I do this. Now, depending on how hard you press your stylus, your line will be thicker or thinner, which is what we want. After this we go to Scattering. Here we can increase the count a little bit. This will make your brush even more dense and black. That's looking good. Then we can go on to texture. Open this little window and go to this icon. Here you have a variety of different texture sets and we just go with grayscale paper. Now we can choose one of these textures. You can really play around with this, and see what texture you like the most. I just try this one. To make this texture visible, we need to decrease the depth here. We don't want too much texture just a little bit soft, the brush isn't looking too digital. We can also play around with the brightness of bit and test it. That's looking pretty good. That's basically it. Depending on what texture you choose, and how you adjust the settings, your brush will end up a little bit different and unique. But this totally okay. After we've done all this, we can go to this icon, and go to New Brush Preset. This will basically save another version of our brush with these settings included. We can close this window. Again, if you go in the Brushes, we will find our new brush way down here. Here's our brush which we started. Here is the new brush. Maybe this is even too much texture. This monogram like a dry brush, so maybe we want to create another version of this. So again, we go to Bush Settings, and go on the Texture, and just increase the depth a little bit. Now it's more darker and the texture small at the edges and not so present. Again, we go under here this icon and select New Brush Preset. Now we have two versions. One a little bit more dry, and one little bit more clean. 3. How to Make a Texture Brush: We want to create a textured brush, to create textured areas in our images later. To do this, we again choose one of our textures and place it, and rasterize it, and again increase the contrast, like this. It's important that the background is as wide as possible and that the texture is rather dark, because everything that is gray and the texture relatively transparent. It's nice if we have a bit texture in here, but it should be rather dark overall. This time we again choose in the [inaudible] and make bigger selection. Select this whole thing here and go to Edit. Define Brush Preset. Control D to D select, and hide this texture layer and create a new one. Here's our new brush. Again you can find this under brushes and it's always the last one. Now we go to brush settings. This time under brush tip shape, we direct the spacing a bit to the right side to have a little bit more space between these separate stems, like this. We go to Shape Dynamics and adjust the Angle Jitter to have a bit more variety here. We also want to select flip extruder and flip by Jitter. If you want, you can select Pen Pressure, but this is optional, you don't really need this for this brush. We go onto scattering and have a little bit more scatter here. Maybe a bit more counts so it's a bit more dense. This is looking good. After this, we go to Texture and again choose one of these textures. To make the texture visible, we need to decrease the depth. This time we can have a little more texture. We can also play around with the brightness, and it's really depending on how textured you want this brush to be, again depending really on which texture you choose and how you adjust the settings, your brush can end up really different at the end. It's always a surprise, but it's really fun to play around with. That it. It's basically the same process like with the cleaning brush, just with a little different settings here. How often you have done all this, we can go to this little icon and select New Brush Preset and save a new version of your brush. We can close this window and get [inaudible] brushes and here's our new brush. This is looking quite good. This is really perfect. If you have an area in your illustration that needs maybe a little more texture so that the image doesn't look too digital, which is really what we want. We want a bit of this hand painted look. 4. How to Make Texture Stamps: The last thing that we want to do before we start painting, is to create some texture stamps. I don't want to paint with them, although you could of course make brushes out of them. But I really want to use them to stamp the texture onto my Images and to just get the effect. In order to do this, we have to open one of our textures like this. For example, place it and rasterize it, increase the contrast like I showed before. Then basically choose that's a tool and select this whole thing, like this. Then again go to edit, define brush preset. Like with the brushes, we find these under brushes at the very end. We want to use this as a brush like this, but we just press one time and you use it like this, like a stem. Just to get the texture and the effects of the ink in our image. Let's do some more. Place it, and rasterize it, increase the tech bar contrast so that the background is almost white or white. Make a selection with the laser tool and save it as a brush. Increase the contrast a little bit more so that we don't see the texture of the paper as much. Select this and go to edit, define brush preset. Again, make a selection and go to edit, define brush preset. It's really not complicated. Also let's do the sums better. We want to make sure that we don't see so much from the paper texture. Also that you don't have any harsh edges from the laser tool, try to avoid that. Now what you can do is choose for example, our texture brush and just paint an area with it. Then with the stamps you can add just some nice effects to make it look more inky. Could also make this white and adjust the edges a little bit. Change the angle and just have fun and play around with it. There's really an easy way to get some nice traditional effects into your images and make it look less digital and a bit more interesting. Now you can create your own brushes and stamps and we're ready to paint. 5. How to Make your Lines More Interesting: Before I start with the first illustration, I wanted to give you a few tips about how you can use lines. Here I have our basic impressions that we created. You can see we created it so that depending on how hard you press the stylus, the line will be thicker or thinner and this is really useful because having really thin lines, as well as thick lines in your illustration will create a nice interesting effect. You could also make the size of the brush a little bit bigger and make the brush strokes even thicker. Another thing about lines is that like you can see here, thicker lines like this one appear way more dominant. So they come forward a bit more than thinner lines. It does make sense that if you have overlapping in your illustration, let's draw an example here, something like this, that the upper line is more thick. It just makes more sense. I had the tips to organize your illustration a bit more and to make everything a bit more clear and read more clearly. Okay, another thing you could play with is and the length of your lines. You can have small, short brush strokes, as well as longer ones and really long ones. So in all these ways you can create a nice variety and this really helps to make your illustration more interesting for the viewer. One more thing you could experiment with is, here we have our rather clean brush, but you could go to brush settings here again and decrease in the depth and just include some more dry brush strokes. Yes, and I think that's basically it. Now we can start painting. 6. Line Illustration Demo: So here you can see my sketch for the line illustration and the first thing that I always do is to create a second window under Window, arrange and new window for this file. Drag it to side just to have a smaller version of your illustration there to take a look every known then and don't get caught up in details it's by painting. Here we have our brushes. I will use our basic ink brush that we created and decrease the opacity of this drawing layer to about 10-15 percent here. Under opacity like this, and create a new window with this icon on top of my drawing layer. Now I can see my drawing and can paint on top of this. So here's our brush and select dark gray and now we can start painting. Like I showed you in the line lesson, try to have a nice variety in thickness. I could do this with the backhoe tool or with a bigger brush but I really want this texture and this little white spaces between the hairs. Also pay attention to your edges. To make hair look a bit more like hair does make sense to have some tiny hairs sticking out and edges. Just to make it feel a bit more like hair. Every now and then I flipped my image and that image, image rotation and flip canvas horizontally. This really gives you a fresh look at it and you can easily spot art areas that are not working or that need a little bit of improvement. Another nice thing about working digitally is you can easily add some white elements to your illustration. I just create a new layer on this icon and make my color to white and paint on top of my illustration these white elements. Now I would say this is finished but what I really like to do when I think something has finished, I go away for an hour and take a walk or work on something else and when I come back, I oftentimes find things that I'm not too happy with and I change them and I work a little bit more on the illustration until I again call it finished. If you have the time I would suggest even sleep at night over it, if it is an important illustration. This is really, really hard for me. 7. Lines and Texture Illustration Demo: Here you can see my second sketch, which I will use to show you how you can create an illustration with Ink and Photoshop or with the combination out of lines and texture. First again, I will create a second window. Here I have our brushes that we created. Decrease the opacity to about 10 percent. This time we will make our sketch to multiply here, and create a new layer underneath the sketch layer, like this. Here's our sketch and here's the new layer, so that we always see our sketch while we're painting. Then, let's start with the background. I will start by using the Lasso tool. Just select the background, press Shift to add to your selection. With the arc you can take something out of your selection. Now, I have the whole background selected here. Now, I will choose one of our texture stamps to create a background texture. But it's a little bit too dark for my taste so I'm going to put lighter stamp. We want to make sure that we have really clear values here. Then, maybe another one, a little bit darker. Maybe I create a new layer, and this, and then use my eraser so that we don't have this hard edge here, like this. There's our background. Let's match these layers by holding Shift and selecting both, right-click and match layers. There's our background layer. Now, we can press control D to deselect this and create a new layer for the hair. Again, choose the Lasso tool and just select. Now, we have to pay attention that we don't have wide space between the background and the hair. Now, I press arc and take the face out. I want the face to stay wide. There we have our hair selection. Again, choose one of our stamps. I want the hair to be a bit more darker to stand out in front of the background. I did a few more of these stamps, just to have a bit more variety here to choose from. A little bit of shadow from the head. A little bit of experimenting to find the right stamp for the right selection. Control D to deselect and create a new layer for the head. I want the head to be even more dark than the hair. We really have just a little bit of texture here. Control D to deselect and I will make a little adjustment here and the background layer. I don't like that these are so parallel, so I will make this. Just select this and delete it. I like this much better. Now we have our basic layers here, and now I will use our basic ink brush and create a new layer, and jump up this, and start adding some details. Let's start with this. Here also, pay attention to have a little bit of variety in your lines just to make it a bit more interesting. 8. Thank You!: Congratulations on finishing the class. Please share your digital ink illustration on the project page. I would really love to see what you've all created. Also like I said at the beginning, the techniques that I've showed you during these videos are only the way I do these illustrations, so take whatever you can use to create your own process. I really hope that you've learned some new useful things during watching these videos. Also, let me know if you have any questions at all. I will do my best to answer them and thank you so much for taking this class.