Illustration Elevation: How to Integrate Decorative Elements into your Illustration | Sofi Naydenova | Skillshare

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Illustration Elevation: How to Integrate Decorative Elements into your Illustration

teacher avatar Sofi Naydenova, Illustrator, Fine artist, Indie Game Dev

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

7 Lessons (48m)
    • 1. Hello!

    • 2. Structure of this Class

    • 3. Quick Warm-Up

    • 4. Drawing in Photoshop pt. 1

    • 5. Drawing in Photoshop pt. 2

    • 6. Drawing in Adobe Fresco

    • 7. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Hi there! This class will teach you how to enrichen your illustration with visual elements! We will be drawing in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Fresco, although you can use any drawing software you want or just use pen&pencils.

Also, we will do a quick warm-up to boost our thinking process. I will show you a variety of tools I use before I get to work! This helps me a lot to overcome creative blocks and fear of starting a new project :-)

If you are a beginner and need some structure, make sure to follow the steps I do, if you are an advanced illustrator, feel free to experiment the way you like - this class is designed for all levels! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Sofi Naydenova

Illustrator, Fine artist, Indie Game Dev


Hello, I'm Sofi. I'm an illustrator with over 5 years of experience.

I am also a creator of Happy Doggo Studio, an indie game studio.


If you wish to get to know me better as an artist, you can read my story here:


I hope you will enjoy my classes See full profile

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1. Hello!: Hi, welcome to the class. My name is Sofi Naydenova, and I will be your teacher today. I'm an illustrator, fine artists, and creator of Happy Doggo studio, its a Mend game studio. At the moment I work as the game designer and I make my own games. My illustration work, comics as well as short animation film was presented in Russia, Hungary, Germany, Portugal, and Japan. You can find my work via this link. My illustration journey started roughly six years ago, and I worked with musicians, I'd drew for magazines, I worked with various web platforms. I organized exhibitions, and I made my own merchandise. Through this whole journey, I tried different styles and techniques, and I had millions of creative blogs. But I developed some tips and tricks to overcome these creative blogs, and stay playful and inspired, even during that and unproductive days. The reason why I chose this class topic was that, its so important to add details to the image. Sometimes I see really nice artwork which isn't standing out because it lacks depths and information, which is so important to attract the human eye and the visual cortex, and the so called visual noise is really critical because it helps to create the desired atmosphere and evoke certain feelings and the viewer even more. So, don't be afraid to dive into the class. I highly encourage you to share your work, ask questions, and leave comments. Let's form a community here and share work in progress and the result, any advices and just leave comments and chat. So let us begin with the class. I strongly advise you to relax and have fun. 2. Structure of this Class: Throughout this class, I'll teach you how to incorporate different elements into your illustration and make it stand out and shine. We will use two popular software such as Adobe Fresco and Adobe Photoshop. Previous knowledge of these programs would be really useful here, but if you are just a beginner, don't be afraid to dive into the class and see how I worked with these programs. It will be useful for you. In the first lesson, we will put aside our digital tools and have fun with real materials, so prepare everything you have: crayons, markers, watercolor, anything. We will be sketching and loosening up our hands and our mind. Then we will dive into Adobe Photoshop in and we will create a floral scene. For this, you will need to have a laptop, Adobe Photoshop, a vacuum tablet. I have a very simple tablet. I use it for many years. You don't need to have fancy tablet to create nice images. Also unfinished image would be really useful here. If you don't have any, I will provide my own that you can use for your experiment and you can experiment with it even outside this class. Then we will dive into Adobe Fresco and we will create a space because obviously spaces are really fun to draw. There are so many details in space and the universe that we can draw. Don't forget to have fun and at the end of the class you will have two playful illustrations. Felt was different visual elements and details. You can put these images into you portfolio until again, a variety of skills and learn how to work with Photoshop and Adobe Fresco. Again, don't forget to share your work on Instagram and ask any questions you have. Let's dive in. 3. Quick Warm-Up: Hi. Welcome to the sketching lesson. For this, we need paper, some paper tape, cutting knife, and cutting net, some more paper. Just take all what you have, and some pants, and scissors. Let's take a piece of paper and divide it into four parts because we are going to make the smallest sketches, collages, and we will be experimenting, and it's easier to do with small pieces. Let's take one piece. If you have some rest from cutting out something, then take them. If you don't, just cut something out right now. Let's start by arranging those parts. I start laying out. I have all types of paper like this pastel paper, which is really stick this in paper, which you can see through that is useful sometimes and just normal paper squared. I'm done. I am going to put it aside and take another piece. I am going to take brown paper. I want to cut a plant. I'm just make a floral element. I really like making collages and just having fun with my sketchbooks and just explore. I have a dream to make a class about filling up sketchbook because yeah, sketchbooks or fun. This technique is, I don't know when I was a child, I also loved to cut out. I think cutting out is universal technique for all ages. Also it's very meditative practice. Cutting out elements calms me down really much especially before very important assignment, I make collages and it does. It's yeah. It's like doing yoga, but in the arts way, I think. I'm done. You can use this part to really fun. You can just draw some plants next to it. Let's just lay out our clash again. I'm going to take a precut colored paper. I want to cut out some elements, some triangles, and make a tiny frame to my sketch like this. Also, if you don't have colored paper, for example, you can just paint on just regular white paper. It will also create a really nice texture by the way. You have many possibilities. If you don't have materials, you can always come up with a solution. Let me do one more example. This time was a character. I will just quickly draw a portrait. But you can draw whatever you want. You can draw an animal or a vase and experiment with that. Since I am working with a portrait today, I am going draw a portrait. I want to color it in but I don't think we have time for it right now, unfortunately. Now let's add some elements to our portrait. Here you can use a variety of techniques. You can example glue these elements to the portrait. Then take a marker, for example, a black one and just add some more plants on top, for example. To create some variety. I'm not gluing right now everything because it takes time. I'm going to do it after the class. Now I will show you a very nice technique. I will take this in paper where you can't see through and cut a small piece from it and take another piece of paper. I'm going to show you how to work with stamps. I made them my own. You can use just this knife and an eraser, for example, or just linoleum. I use black acrylics to make my stamps. Here go. Now you have a hill. Now take other stamp, which is representing grass. I will place it on top of my paper. Now we have the grass. The hill dried out already I think, so I'm going to cut it out. Let's place it somewhere. Right now I'm going to draw a character just to make an example. Let's imagine that we have a field filled with grass and hills and the character is walking. Just a very peaceful scene. Yes, so now we can add. Let's add more hills and grass to the scene. Even you can cut out something from paper and also edit to the scene. I'm going to add more hills to the top and to the bottom. If I didn't say you can purchase stamps from any art store, they are available everywhere, but I don't really like the stems, which you combine the art stores or I just make my own. With this cut out here, you can experiment a lot and position it. Let's assume they are done. Let's move on to our sketchbook. As you see, I do lots of collages and I actually love to work with sketchbook. I have a dream to make less of how to fill up the sketchbook or just work with it if I didn't say it already. I want to show you one technique, how you can beautifully place your sketch into your sketchbook. Just take the tape. Now what I'm doing, I'm framing is a sketch. It looks really clean and nice and scrap-booking a little bit. Actually, it also looks like a photo album. Also you can take a pen if you want and draw something or write a date or your thoughts and emotions, and also add some pieces of paper somewhere in the corners or some more elements. Anyway, that's not the class, but we are done. Let's go and work in Photoshop. 4. Drawing in Photoshop pt. 1: Let's open up the image. Just click File Open and choose the file. I'm using regular vacuum tablet here and that's totally enough to create an artwork and for the background, I'm choosing a mint green color. Then I'm going to do sketches. I want to have a plant on the left side and some abstract geometrical shapes on the right side and I'm not drawing everything precisely. I'm just roughly defining the main shapes and the positioning of our elements. Sorry, my computer is dying from screen casting and using Photoshop at the same time, but it will be okay soon I hope. I want you to try a very interesting technique here. We won't be using a regular brush, but we will use, I call digital collage so to say. We will be literally drawing with the lasso tool. So a pixel lasso tool. A shortcut for lasso tool is L on your keyboard and just define the shape. I want this time to be a little bit thicker. So yeah, I'm just modifying it in the process and then add leaf to it. This technique is similar to cutting out from paper and I really like to use it in my illustrations because I really like blending of this crispy, minimalistic look and the textured details. I decided to draw a flower on top of the plant because we have a lot going on and that's the bottom part, lots of plugs, but the upper part is empty. Then I'm going to apply an effect and the only time I'm using a brush here is when I will add the details, I will modify the flower a little bit because I don't like the shape. It became worse, but I will modify it one more time. Now, I'm happy with the shape and let's pick create a new layer and choose brush. I'm using basic brush and draw some lines on top. Now, change the Blending Mode and let's add one more detail, create a new layer and pixel lasso tool and at the bottom part of the flower, let's add like smaller flower or the second layer of petals. Whatever, just to fill in the shape and let's add the Color Burn effect to make this detail really stand out. Actually, multiply works better here. I'm really happy with the flower and don't forget to groups the layers by pressing Command G because it makes it really easy to toggle between layers. So I'm outlining the shapes just pretty easy. I'm choosing orange and lavender color for the shapes. Now, you can play with blending Modes and as seeing it looks really beautiful like that. You can do so much with these shapes, like this elements they don't have any concept or meaning, but they just makes illustration so much more interesting. You can tweak them and moves them around and just duplicate them. I don't know, but you can create a whole pattern with these shapes and it will look even more interesting. Sorry, I just experiment with it and you see I'm moving around and see how they fit in into different parts of the image. Now, I am turning of the sketch layer because I don't need it anymore and let's dive in into the second part. 5. Drawing in Photoshop pt. 2: Let's add some details to the face. By selecting the Lasso tool defines the eyelids. One part of the cheek, which is usually shadowy and the lower lip. Fill in the shapes. I am selecting the area under the chin and also other parts on the ears which are usually shadowy. I'm filling them in with a skin color. Again, blending mode help here and lowering the opacity too. Let's select a pinkish color and draw her cheeks. As you may notice, a lot of my character have cheeks as a blush because they are all serious, but I have the feeling, the pinkish color of the cheeks add joy to my characters, they look little bit more happy, I think. Again, naming the layers is so important, especially if you toggle from one layer to another and go to the layers and add it something. You don't need to seek for specific layers, 100 ears as I usually do. So I just name the layers, please. Also, I like to work with light, so let's add some lightning to the scene. Let's select the Lasso tool. To select the Lasso tool, just click "L" on your keyboard. This was Lasso tool, and draw a huge shape on the left corner of the head of the character and fill it in. Now de-select it with "Command E", and select the Pin Light blending mode. Actually, all these blending modes look fantastic. But yeah, I'm just going to choose this one and create a clipping mask. Let's add one more light to the scene. Imagine the scene has two lightening sources, select another color and draw a smaller shape on the top of the character. This time, we will apply another blending mode and you can choose your own. I am applying, let's see, maybe color dot or a divide looks really cool. Vivid Light, I think it's best. Select some areas on the face to add some light as well, especially in the upper part of the cheeks and eyelids and the upper part of the lip. I learned it actually from doing makeup for parties like decorating my face with glitters, so I'm just doing the same with my characters. Again, renaming layers is very important. Actually I feel that this image still looks a little bit empty, so maybe you will add one more flower. What do you think? Just without doing a sketch just draw stem, again as we did with the first image, and draw some leaves on top. But this time they are going to be around like monster type, and then we're going to cut out some spaces to make it a little bit like a monster of flower. In the menu, you see these icons where you can choose different modes for the Lasso tool and we will be needing a third one. You have to select it and just draw a little circles. These are going to be parts that we need to cut out. If you don't want to add this parts, just skip this part of the video. But I'm ready, so I'm just filling in the image and I will apply a color burn effect. I like how the green is going through and to the skin and it creates like a greenish, yellowish color. Let's dive in into the flower. It will be a simple flower with middle and many petals. I choose basically the same colors to match the color palette and feel of the Illustration. The middle part is orange and the petals will be violet, I think. Now you see how the image starts to become really interesting to observe. Again, don't forget to name or group the layers. It will help you in the future while editing the image. You can also play around for the positioning because I just randomly drew a flower, but then I decided to move it to the right side, and move this abstract shapes to the left side, which is totally fine. Let's create another layer and draw big shape on the left corner. I chose blue for some reason, but I don't like it. So I'm choosing into yellow and I'm lowering the opacity. It will be like the sunlight going into the Illustration, and now actually all these lights versus become more logical. So yeah, that was the Illustration in Photoshop. I hope you enjoyed it. Let's move to Adobe fresco. 6. Drawing in Adobe Fresco: Lets dive into Adobe Fresco lets create.a layer and lets place it underneath the image and I will choose not saturated blue color and fill up this background. We need a pixel fill. Let's choose a bright blue color and create a new layer. Let's draw some stars. I will choose a brush, which is called natural incur. You can find it into ink folder and brush presets in Adobe Fresco and I just simply start drawing stars. Well, I like these simple stars, which are symbol like. You can draw any star shape you want of course. I just noticed that it's funny. I draw the snow in the same way. Yeah, here in this lesson we will be more playful and start without actually doing a sketch. Because all our elements will be really simple. We will draw some abstract shapes. No details. When you are happy most stars create a new layer. I am going for a bright orange color because we want some elements to really stand out from the illustration. I picked the charcoal brush, which is my favorite. You can find it in dry media folder in brush presets in Adobe Fresco. Let's start drawing just simple shapes. Whatever you want. Make the brush a bit smaller and color a bit brighter. I will start drawing under random place because we can always move and these elements. Maybe in the corner. I liked this brush a lot because it has a really nice texture. Create a new level and draw some more elements. The reason we are creating a new level, it's because we can play with blending modes and capacities and create really interesting field of the same elements, but being a little bit different. Explore the possibilities here a little bit. I think multiply effect and overlay works really good here. Actually all of them look really nice. But I need to stop right now and just pick one. I think lighten is okay. Still cannot choose, but let's move forward. Let's pick a red color. I will show you a really cool brush to create some blush and facial details. This is block stain brush and this has a really analogue feel. Like very painterly and it works with pencil pressure. The more pressure you apply the less paint is going to be actually on the emit. Let's draw some details on the eyelids, on the cheeks, and under the lip. Also this brush is based on randomness, you never know which part is going to be covered. you will always can erase things, but usually I don't need it. Here, the color burn blending mode works really well. Also the linear burn. We are going to add classes to the character. I really like to add classes to my character. Let's pick brush, which is called CAFO. It's located in the comic folder in brush presets. You see there are a lot of these half tone brushes, but half-tones three is my personal favorite. Lets choose a blue color, which we use for the background. Drawing circles, they don't need to be perfect. Just circle out shapes. You see this really cool retro feeling. I just love it. I am going for linear burn here because I want actually glass has to be a little bit less saturated. Now let's draw frames with a simple brush. Just follow the outline of the glasses. Also the shape doesn't need to be perfect because it's a playful illustration. In this scenario, the more unperfect the better actually. You see how the frame is blending into the glasses. I really like this effect, I added, I use it a lot. I just made this white, this right frame, which is blending in. Let's draw some light to the glasses. Pick any bright color and just fill up the upper part of the glasses. You can see that actually the glass has started becoming a little bit more real so that the glass is actually reflecting sunlight. Here, let us move to the elements. I have no plan here, actually, let's dive in and see what we can do because I think that the left part needs a little bit more shapes. Just create some verbally lines which represent I don't known meteorites, comets. I don't know stuff that is in the universe. Maybe could also fill out the shapes and just share your work. I would really like to see what you come up with. I think that's all right, let's fill up this part and insert in the corner too. One last element. I will apply blending mode for two, of course, it will not cover the face for sure. This effect is really cool. This blue, it really adds something to the scene. We are basically done. But let's add some more stars, which will be just dots. I will pick one color. This will be just a simple dotted pathway, which is representing stars or whatever. To add some more, even more playfulness. We are done. If you have any questions, just let me know. I will be glad to help and also share your work. I hope you had fun in this lesson. 7. Final Thoughts: This was our class. Of course, you can experiment with the image further and I highly advise you to repeat all the techniques we did in this class to get familiar with them and incorporate them into your own workflow. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you still have any, and I hope you learned something new in this class, and I can't wait to see your results. Post your images here or on Instagram, tag me, make sure I will see all of your images, and please write in the comments if you want to see more of my classes on Skillshare, I had so much fun creating this class for you. I hope you will have a great rest of the day. Good luck in your illustration journey and your art career. Bye.