Paint to Picture: Create Finished Illustrations from Hand-Painted Elements in Photoshop | Laura Lantieri | Skillshare

Paint to Picture: Create Finished Illustrations from Hand-Painted Elements in Photoshop

Laura Lantieri, Illustrator

Paint to Picture: Create Finished Illustrations from Hand-Painted Elements in Photoshop

Laura Lantieri, Illustrator

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10 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Your Class Project

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Choosing Colour

    • 5. Painting Your Elements

    • 6. Importing into Photoshop

    • 7. Cleaning up Your Elements

    • 8. Creating Your Composition

    • 9. Exporting

    • 10. Final Thoughts & Thank You!

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About This Class


Putting brush to paper and painting a great composition can be daunting - feeling you have to create the ‘perfect’ picture on the first go. In this class, you’ll learn how to find creative freedom and paint without pressure. With fun and easy step-by-step lessons, you’ll compose and create a beautiful, finished, still life illustration from hand-painted elements in Photoshop. 

This class is for anyone interested in illustration and wanting to become more confident with composition and working with both analogue and digital techniques. Some familiarity with Photoshop will give you a great leg up before starting. 

At the end of this class, you’ll be able to apply your new skills to many illustration subjects - from patterns to more complex, detailed image making - the possibilities are endless!

To get started, you’ll need paper, pencils, and a paint of preference. You will also need a device to photograph or scan your work, such as a smartphone or scanner, and access to Photoshop. (I’ve included further resources under the Projects & Resources tab with materials, inspiration, tips and tricks covered in the class.)

At any stage, feel free to post your questions and comments under the Discussions tab - I’ll do my best to answer all of your questions and support you along the way. 

Happy painting and picture-making! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Laura Lantieri



Hello! My name is Laura Lantieri and I am a London-based illustrator originally from Melbourne, Australia. Working mainly in gouache and watercolour, my work is inspired by little scenes from daily life, often featuring animals, people, food and nature. I've worked in contemporary art as a gallery manager, curator and writer for the past decade before returning to my love of illustration, which I now enjoy doing full-time, selling illustrated prints and stationery, working on client projects and private commissions. When I'm not in the studio I like to put my nose between the pages of a good book, cuddle other people's dogs, and eat, drink and be merry with pals. 

Follow along with me in the studio on Instagram. 

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1. Introduction: Do you ever feel like you're going to ruin a painting even before you start it? The white page staring you down? Me too. Hi. I'm Laura Lantieri and I'm an illustrator and designer based in London. As a self-taught illustrator, for years I've been absolutely terrified of the white page. Always thinking that as soon as I put my brush down that beautiful image in my head will disappear. That is at least until I discovered how to compose my hand painted elements in Photoshop to create final illustrations. In this class, we're going to create a beautiful still life illustration using hand painted elements and then transferring them into Photoshop. We'll start by choosing our objects and materials, go through the color mixing process, putting pencil and brush to paper, and then bringing them in to have some fun and move them around together in Photoshop. I'll show you tips and tricks I use along the way with keeping in mind the best practices when you're planning to digitize your work on paper and things to consider when you're editing your elements in Photoshop as well. By the end of this class, you'll have a beautiful still life illustration that you can add to your portfolio, turn into an out-print, share on social media, print on a tea towel, the options are endless. You'll also be able to apply the skills learned in this class to other forms of illustration, from patent design to more complex detailed images. This class is great for anyone who's wanting to loosen up, relieve the pressure of the painting process, and get comfortable with working between analog and digital formats. While this class is suitable for students of all levels of experience, some Photoshop knowledge is required. In the next lesson, we'll look at choosing our objects and getting started with the process. I can't wait to work with you on this project. Let's get started. 2. Your Class Project: Your project for today's class is to create a simple still-life illustration by painting elements on paper, and then composing them to make a beautiful finished picture in Photoshop. The focus is loosening up and getting comfortable with making images here, no pressure. I chose this fun and simple project because you can find objects in your own home and use whatever painting materials you have at hand. I recommend choosing 4-5 objects. Feel free to paint more or less, but no less than three. Look for different shapes, sizes, textures, and levels of detail, as this will help make your final composition visually interesting. If you're stuck for ideas, you can work on a theme such as food and drink. Here are some suggested subjects I like to paint. Fruit and vegetables. This is a great option as they're usually really easy to find even if they're not already in the kitchen. Packaged food and toiletries, are great subjects too. They can have fantastic typeface which can be fun to replicate, and have lots of interesting graphic details. You can always simplify the labels if you're feeling overwhelmed. Remember, artistic license is key here. If you're anything like me, you have books lying around in just about every nook and cranny of your home, pick a favorite one that inspires you. Ceramics and kitchen items are wonderful still life subjects. They readily available identifiable forms and make any table lay appealing, plus they are a classic still life motif. Flowers and plants are always an attractive addition to a still life. If you'd like to paint botanical, these are definitely for you. My advice is to paint what most interests you. This implies for anything illustrate. But it's good to note that in this project, it really doesn't matter how random the objects are together, it'll make for a more interesting dynamic composition. The objects I've chosen for my still life a humble onion, a wooden spoon, I lovingly hand carved myself and gained many blisters in doing so, a beautifully centered greenhouse candle, a very unique sculptural pencil holder, by British artist Pablo Bronstein, and my favorite vermouth, Berto Bitter, such a brilliant red and I love the label. You'll find a summary of materials and extra resources covered in this class under the project and resources tab, including a step-by-step guide to start your class project. I've also included photos of my objects if you'd rather follow along with me for each step of the way. Remember to upload your progress to the project gallery below for feedback and engagement with your peers as you go. Grab your objects and let's get ready for the next lesson. 3. Materials: I'm going to quickly run through the materials I'll be using for this class. Starting with our sketching, I'll be using a light HB pencil. But for the purposes of demonstrating on camera, I'm going to be using this Palomino Blackwing. I'll also be using an eraser, whether it's kneadable or a standard eraser. It doesn't really matter, they both work. Some prefer kneadable just because it can still keep a semblance of a line. I'll have a pot of water and some paper towel for blotting out my paint. I'll be using Winsor and Newton Gouache. I always have a fairly big tube of the permanent white because I tend to go through it a bit more. Then a selection of colors here. The Winsor and Newton paints are great because they're really creamy and the tubes last for quite a while. Here I've also got scrap paper for my sketching and also a piece of scrap watercolor paper for testing out colors as I blend them. Which leads me to my palette, a really dirty palette at the moment. But as you can see, it's just a ceramic plate. I sourced this for 50 pence at a charity shop in Cornwall. So anything will do, but you can also use plastic palettes if you prefer. I'll be using a selection of round tip brushes, as you can see here, in varying sizes. They go from zero up to 12. I have the Peggy Dean pigeon letters brushes, which are really great. They've got a nice thin tip so you can get a lot of coverage and then come up to a nice point. Then just some affordable small brushes from Cass Art. This is a zero, so really good for very fine detail which sometimes I like to do. Another option of an affordable brush is the Daler Rowney brand. Lastly, I'll be using a Cass Art watercolor smooth paper. This is a hot pressed paper, so it doesn't have the same tooth as a cold pressed. I prefer the smooth for painting with Gouache. But if you're painting with watercolors, you might prefer a little bit more texture, completely up to you. Just a thing to bear in mind that when you're painting with the intention of digitizing a work on paper, the tooth sometimes can be harder to remove in Photoshop afterwards. To transfer my painted elements into Photoshop, I'll be using a Canon scanner. However, if you don't have access to a scanner, you can use a camera or a smart phone. Just be sure to take photos in good natural light. If you'd rather not use what I'm using, you can choose any paint, markers, brush pens, pencils, or crayons that you like. I recommend papers that's at least 300 DSM for wet media or a decent quality cartridge paper for dry media, and a fine camera or scanner to take images of your work. Gather your materials and in the next lesson, we'll take a look at color. 4. Choosing Colour: In this lesson, we're going to choose our colors before starting to paint. There are two things that I want you to keep in mind when choosing color for your project. Firstly, the great thing about a still life is that you can literally just use the colors you see in front of you. Of course, you can paint apples purple and oranges blue if you want to enjoy a more playful approach to a still life palette. The second thing to consider is that you will be bringing your painted elements into Photoshop at the end, that magical tool which can re-color your artwork. Photoshop is a great way to relieve pressure from the palette voting part of your process as you can play with things like hue and saturation and manually re-color items later. That said, I do recommend you try to create a palette you're fairly happy with, as it means you'll have more control over your results and also less work to do later. If none of these feels comfortable to you, I recommend putting together a Pinterest board of the color palettes you naturally gravitate towards. Another tip I have is to take a wander through your favorite art supply store and pick out some pencils or markers that jump out and catch your eye. Put them together and see how you feel. Do these colors create the mood you're going for? Are they subdued, bright, vintage-inspired, high-contrast? Answer those questions and then think, does this feel right for you and your objects? If you find you're completely stuck, pick a single favorite color and work in monotone. Just make sure you're giving each object different tints and shades for variance, otherwise, the final composition will look a bit flat. The approach I'm using for my still life is to use the colors I saved before me on my objects and to enhance or tweak them as it feels right to me. Now that I've looked at the colors in my objects, I'm going to lay my paints out on my palette, which I have cleaned for you. A list of the colors I'm using are available in the class resources attached under the Resources tab. I will use small amounts to start and then I'll mix larger amounts when I'm happy with the colors. I'm going to mix the colors for my onion first. If I take a look at my onion, I can see there are some orangey brown through there, and also some tiny hints of light green. I'm going to try to create a color I'm happy with that's fairly close to the onion, but also just feels good to my eye. When I mix colors, it's very much a process of trial and error and often, I'll keep swatching until I feel happy, which is what I'm going to do here. I'm mixing some yellow ocher with some of my permanent yellow deep and even a little bit of Naples yellow. I want to create a few shades within the onion, just to think about as I paint, and I'm going to do that now. I already know ahead of painting what colors I'm looking for on my palette. I want to create a bit more of that orangey-ness and also a bit more of the graininess within the onion. I'll just have a play with that. As I said, I'll just keep swatching until I feel good about a color. Sometimes it happens really quickly and other times it takes a bit more work, so it's just part of the process. The wooden spoon is really similar warm tones, but there is a little bit of a grainy hue in there, and obviously this beige color. I want to use similar colors to the onion so there's consistency, like occasioning my painting. But I also want to think about adding some grain at times in details. Sometimes I do thin lines just to know that they are really detail lines for my painting rather than the big swatches for this swatches in color. That's my onion and my wooden spoon. Now, if I look at my candle, I didn't think I was going to paint it in a warm, dark brown tone and there was a gradation of color here I'd like to achieve in my painting. However, now that I think about the colors I have already, I don't want it to be dominated too much by brown, and I would like to offset that color with something else. I'm going to try make a dark grey-blue color that I think will work quite well, and then, I might be able to tie that in with one of the pencils that sits in the pencil holder. With this ultramarine blue, it sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but I'm going to pick up a touch of white just to make it a little bit more opaque before I deepen it with the black, which will add the gray shade I'm after. It's always good when you're mixing to just add a little bit of paint at a time. Otherwise, as I did that, just then I felt like I added too much black, and then you have to go through more paint to get the color you want. I really like that blue. It feels like it's a little bit of a statement color, and what I can do is also add a little bit of a white to create variance in the object. For my pencil holder, there's this lovely olive grain and some other colors I probably can reuse from the palette I already have. For example, these grainy yellow tones will match the top of this, and the beige I've created for my wooden spoon, I could also use to keep that consistency throughout the painting. I know we're going to assemble things later, but while we're doing our color swatching, it's great to think about how the colors might relate to each other between the objects. I'm going to mix up some olive green and a little bit of gray. Now, because this is a marbled-like effect on the sculpture, I'm going to put down my swatch, but I'm going to add a little bit of water to give it almost a water-color effect, which is how it appears on the object. For the gray swells that I marbled through as well, I'm going to pick up some of that color I mixed for a wooden spoon detail lines and just mix a little bit of wine into that and see how that looks for my gray highlights, and I think that will work. They're not really highlights, are they? But you know what I mean. Lastly, I am going to have a look at my Berto Bitter. Now, the liquid itself is quite vibrant, so I'm going to take the red directly from the tube and then mix a little bit of a dark black into the details for the label in the cap. Again, because the liquid is translucent, I'm going to apply some extra water, and that's just how I'm going to paint. Great. I'm really happy with that. The other thing I've neglected to mention is the background of the label on the Berto Bitter. Again, I really want to have neutral tones that tie through the whole painting. I am going to pick up this beigey color that I'm using on my wooden spoon and also the pencil holder sculpture. The only other thing I haven't considered yet here is how I'm going to approach the glass of the Berto bottle. I usually like to use a very, very diluted blue color to paint glass because I've already got blue on my palette. I'm going to get the tiniest bit of it and add a lot of white and do a very light wash when it comes to painting that. It looks like a lot, but it's just because I like to swatch a fair bit. Here is my palette for my painting, and I will refer to that throughout painting my objects. Now that we've gone over the color process, let's get painting. 5. Painting Your Elements: Before I start painting, I usually like to sketch out my objects first. It gives me a better sense of the basic shapes and what might need extra attention. It also lets me think about the light source and the position I want the objects to be in. So I'm going to start out by sketching pretty crudely my objects. Here I'm just marking out the main light reflection. So I'm going to go ahead and continue in the same way for each object. I've now sketched out my five objects. As I've gone along, I've drawn arrows just to remind me of the light source. I've positioned them all in the same spot on my desk and made these bubble shapes, just as a reminder when I paint where the line is. On the wooden spoon, it's incredibly subtle because it's a poorest object. So I'll keep that in mind when I paint, but it may not be as obvious as say a reflection on the gloss or on the ceramic. With the ceramic, you may have noticed that I drew it one time and then didn't like the proportions. So I've drawn it again and it's better because it's a difficult object in terms of proportion scale and perspective. I'm most likely to sketches that with a lighter pencil and my painting. I mentioned in the materials that a need of eraser is great for this if I show as an example, I can then lot away. Some of the lines with lighter pencil will be even more subtle before I stop painting. Okay, I'm ready to start painting now. So I have next to me my sketch for reference as well as the object I find sometimes a sketch helps me simplify the object in my mind. So it's good to refer back to it. It's also where I've done a lot of the visual thinking. I'm going to use my size 8 brush and put down my initial beige color. So now that I've got the basic shape down, I'm going to go in and add some tonal variation. I can see that there's some oranginess on the top and the bottom from where I'm looking and in the crevices. But there's also some yellowish-green here. So I'm going to walk that back in as well. I'm going to take a smaller brush now, number 2 and stop putting in some details. I want a dark color for that. I'm going to create a highlight for where I marked out my reflection bubble on my sketch. Quash can handle some layering. However, if you're working in another medium, you might be better to leave that part of the paper blank before painting the lightest sections, especially if you're using something transparent like watercolor. Now I'm not super happy with how this is looking with the highlights. So I'm going to come back and work on top of this one paint's dried. Now that it's wet, it's not going to improve with me working over and over again. So I'll move on to my next object and come back to that later. Now this is a bit wonky, but I'm not too worried about it because I'll be able to clean it up later in Photoshop. I've got my very fine brush here to stop painting the text on the label. While there's more texts on the candle than that, I've made a decision to simplify it, because I can't really fit in the full details of the label. So I'm going to leave it at that for now and I'm going to clean up those lines on the outside of the jar when I bring it in to Photoshop. I may come back later and add some more details when it dries if I feel it's necessary. I'm going to come back to my onion now and try to fix that little mess. With the wooden spoon, I'm going to lay down my beige color first and then build up with the darker colors on top. Just so it's easier to say the beige where it needs to be same. I've decided to have my wooden spoon face on. So when it comes to bringing my composition together in Photoshop, it will probably need to be leaning on another object in my composition to make visual sense. So I've sketched out my pencil holder and also my bottle of Berto Bitter. It's probably a bit too faint for you to see on screen. Just so I have a better idea of these more complicated objects on the page. I'm going to put down my beige color now. As I'm painting, I'm thinking about how these images will translate into Photoshop. If the color is too light, it might be hard to pick them up on a scan or photograph and to distinguish that color from the page. If there are pencil lines left on the page, it's going to mean more cleaning up digitally later too. I'm going to move over to my Berto bottle and I'm going to start with the glass first. So I'll use a slightly smaller, round full brush because there are some small edges on the sides to get to. Here you'll see I'm using a really light color, which will be a little harder to work within Photoshop later as I mentioned. But I will show you how I get around this in the coming lessons. So my painted elements are now done. You can see here in the pencil holder, I incorporated a few of the colors from the objects in the pencils. So the orange from the onion, the blue from the candle, and the red from the Berto Bitter. I'm pretty happy with how the objects come together. Before I move on, I'm going to very quickly paint a wash background for the table and the wall, which I imagine will be behind my objects. You're welcome to paint whatever you see fit. I am envisaging a tablecloth and a distressed wall in the background. So next up, we will scan them into Photoshop. 6. Importing into Photoshop: Now that we've painted out elements, we need to get them into Photoshop. As I mentioned previously, if you don't have a scanner you can take photos of your individual sheets of paper with a camera or a smartphone and just make sure that those pictures are taken in good natural light without any extreme sun or shadows. In the next lesson, I'll go over how we can clean up our elements in Photoshop and the method will be largely the same. I am using a Canon scanner and usually I scan on the photo setting. I'm going to go into the Settings here to show you what I set my scanner at to get the best quality possible. I've got a photo and then I've chosen the color option and using the original size of A4, which is the size of my paper, I've chosen the highest resolution possible, which on this scanner is 600 dpi. This means that I can actually double the size of the original image as 300 dpi is full resolution. This means if I work on A4, I can actually scan the image in at 600 dpi and then blow up that image to A3 size for a high-resolution print. Once I've set my settings, I just scan in each individual sheet with my elements and then my background. It will automatically open a window once the scan is complete and I'm just going to open that JPEG image with Photoshop. Once I bring it into Photoshop, I just need to check that the scan is clear, is not blurred or any distortions that I can't fix later. So I zoom in a little bit and have a quick once-over that everything looks like okay. For example, here you can see there are a few spots on the paper, but I can clean them up later and I'll show you how I do that, and everything else looks pretty good. I'm going to go back to my scanner and continue the process with the next two sheets of paper I've painted on. I'm also just making sure that there aren't any broke pencil lines that need to be erased. If so, I'm going to take the paper out of the scanner, quickly erase them, and then free scan the image. Just makes my life a bit easier when I'm working digitally at this stage. Now that I've scanned my three separate sheets of paper with all of my elements into Photoshop, I'm ready to move into the next phase and start cleaning up my elements. 7. Cleaning up Your Elements: In this lesson, we're going to clean up our elements and separate each on to a different layer to work with more easily in Photoshop. Before I start, I'm going to open a new document from my still life composition. I want my file to be fairly large so I'm not limited with how I use it later. I've decided on a square Canvas that's 5,000 by 5,000 pixels. I'll keep in RGB color mode for now. Now, I'm going to go back to my first scan and duplicate my background so I can cut out the white paper. If I try to do this directly with the background layout, Photoshop will ask me to fill the deleted area with the color, which I don't want. To duplicate, I'm pressing Command J on my keyboard. Now, I'll hide my background layer and I'll use the Wand tool by selecting Command W to select the white paper background. I want to make sure contiguous is checked here so that the Wand doesn't pick up on any white pixels within the objects, just the continuous white paper around them. You can now see the marching ants around my paper and along the edges of my objects and paint marks, meaning the white part of the image is selected. Before I hit Delete, I'm going to make sure everything is selected and there are no snaky white pixels still hanging onto the edges of my objects, so I can have as clean a cut out as possible. To do that, I'll go to Select, Expand, and I'm going to expand by two pixels. Then I'll hit Shift F6 to open the feather selection box, which will soften the edges of the remaining elements when I cut away the white. Let's feather one pixel. You can also access the Feather tool by going to Select and then Feather. Now we're ready to hit Delete. You can see from the grand white checkerboard background that this area where the paper was is now transparent. I've hit Command D to remove the marching ants from my paper, so I can just reassess what's left. As you can see on my layer, there are still some things that I don't want to include, including some test paint marks and a few spots that I picked up earlier on when I had scanned in my images. There's also a faint line at the bottom of the page from the scan that needs to be removed. As you remove these elements, I'm going to use my Lasso tool and just circle around the sections that I need to then delete. The shortcut for the Lasso is Command L. Now that I've done that, I just want to make sure that everything does look good and I'm going to drop in a ready dark background to check. I'm creating a new layer here. I'll just drag underneath my top layer so I can then fill the space with black or use Command J to get my Paint Bucket tool and I'll fill that second layer. I can now see whether a couple of fuzzy edges or little flecks of white that I want to get rid of, and I'll go ahead and do that now. Because these little flecks and fuzzy bits I don't want to bring with me later, I'm just going to hit Command D to get my eraser and go around and carefully erase some of the sections and smooth out the edges. You can also see these tiny bits of white that are caught within the skin of the onion. I'm going to grab my Wand tool again, zoom in really close, and try to capture those pixels with my Wand. I'm happier with that now, so I'm going to copy that top layer and paste it into my still life document that I've created. In this new document, I'm going to make sure I've selected my layer 1 and I'm going to individually separate each of those objects out onto their own layers so they are easier to work with later. Again, I'll grab my Lasso tool and circle around or hit Command X to cut the selection I've made. Then I will hit Command Shift V to paste that selection back in the same place, but on a separate layer. Now that the onion is done, I'm going back to layer one and I'll circle out the other two objects and do the same thing. I could keep the wooden spoon on layer 1 as it's the last object remaining from the three that were on this page. However, if I show you with the transform function by clicking Command T, you can see here that the layer isn't limited to the bounds of the spoon alone. It also includes the empty pixels around it from the original layer we copied. I find it a bit confusing to leave all of that space around the object and a bit cleaner to cut the final object die and give it its own layer instead and delete the original layer when I'm done. Before I move on to my next scan page, I'm very quickly going to label each layer with the name of the object, so it keeps my layers organized and easy to handle. Over to page 2, and I'm going to follow more or less the same process, but I'm going to change a couple of things. As you can see, when I hit the Wand button, it's very hard for the Wand tool to distinguish the difference between the background of the paper and the very pale blue background of the Berto Bitter glass. I'm going to have to remove this manually from my selection of the paper using the Lasso tool. I find it a bit easier to do these more finicky sections with a Wacom tablet where I have a pencil, but it is achievable with a mouse and I have done it with a mouse many times. It just takes a little bit more patience. Once I'm reasonably happy with my glass bottle, I'm going to go around the paper and this time I'm going to clean up the dots and extra marks that I lasered at the end before I delete anything. I'm going to go ahead and include them in my marching ants selection. At this point I'm ready to expand and feather my selection and to delete the background. Now I'm going to drop in a black background again so I can check the edges of my objects and clean up any messy bits that I've left behind. Again, I'm going to copy my cleaned up layer over to my still life document and separate each object onto different layers and rename them. The final elements I need to clean up are for my background. For this page, because they're just large sways of wash color, I'm going to use the rectangular Marquee tool, and I'll copy those two selections across. I'm not too worried about distorting these elements because they are just abstract washes in the background, so I can stretch them here to fit the Canvas. I've dropped both of these layers to the bottom of my objects on my layers panel. I'm grouping them together by hitting Command J and re-titling that background. We group together my five objects in the same way so that they're each in their own neat little folders. Now that I've done all this, I just want to add an adjustment layer, just to bring out the pulp of the colors a little bit. When I scan, I often find that the colors can be muted a little bit from the bright light of the scanner, and I just want to adjust that so there's a little bit more of a contrast and a bit more brightness in the images. I'm just adding a levels adjustment layer and bringing up the darkness a little bit. I think that looks a lot better to the objects. I'll drag that adjustment layer to the top of my layers panel above my objects, and I'm going to quickly check that when I turn on my background elements of the wall on the table, that they look okay with that levels adjustment as well. While I'm at it, I'm also going to clean up the sides of the candle jar, which I mentioned while I was painting and has been arching me a little bit in the process. I'm going to do that now. I'm just going to quickly transform the object so that it's as straight as I want it to be on the paper. Using my Move tool, hitting Command V, I'm going to click on my left-hand ruler and drag out some guides to the edge of my candle just so I can save it's measuring fairly straight on the Canvas. That looks pretty good. Now, I'm going to zoom in, and using my rectangular Marquee tool, I'm going to just draw a very thin rectangle along the edge of my jar on either side and then hit Delete. With my eraser, I'm just going to nip off the edges that are left a bit sharp off to that. Then I feel much happier with how my glass candle holder is looking. That looks so good. Before I move on into the next lesson where we'll really get started with the composition, I just want to rescale my objects so they look a little bit more like they're in proportion with each other. Now I've resized each of my elements using Command T to transform them, and they are looking a bit more like they're in scale. I've just spread them out on the page so I can see them clearly. Now we're ready to move into the fun part, which is composing our images. 8. Creating Your Composition: We are now ready for the fun bit of composing our actual image. But before I do anything, I want to make sure I have saved my document. So I'm just going to quickly Save As, find my file location, and keep it as a Photoshop file while I continue to work on it. The next thing I'm going to do is to close the tabs with the original scanned files. I have now cleaned up my objects, and they're each on their own layer, saved in My Still Life document. So I don't need those open anymore. I'm going to reveal my table background at this point so I can start placing my objects bearing in mind where the horizon of the table might be. As I start to move things around, I can get a sense of where things are still not scaled quite correctly and what needs to come to the foreground of my image. I'm mainly using the Move tool and the Transform tool here to move things around and start to get a sense of my composition. Position my objects in their place that I think looks quite nice. I'm just not sure if this is what I want my final composition to be. So I'm going to group those together and rename them as My First Version. Then I'm going to copy that group and create my second option, which I'll play around with now. The first version felt a little bit too tight to me like all the objects were kind of crammed in the one spot on the table. So with this one, I'm going to try and move things around. As you remember, my wooden spoon does need to be attached to another object because it [inaudible] on its side and needs to be resting on something else, but everything else is fairly independent. I want to try and invert my wooden spoon and see if that feels better in the composition with the other objects, especially the two with labels and text. I can't do this because then the texts will no longer be legible and it'll be obvious I've played around with them in Photoshop. But the wooden spoon is actually a really good object to do this with because the light reflection is also very subtle. So it doesn't affect the composition too much in terms of the light reflection suddenly being on the wrong side of the spoon. In any case, I'm not flipping the first spoon upside down. It's just one end to the other, left to right. With the head of the wooden spoon out to the left of the image, it feels somewhat more balanced for me, and I think I'll keep it that way. It feels like another kind of rounder shape to balance off the onion on the other side and then also create another correlation with the round yellow top of the pencil holder. If I feel that my elements are imbalanced or a bit wonky, I like to pull out my rulers from the side of the canvas or the top of the canvas just to double-check. I bet you just noticed I missed a little bit of the white paper and between some of the pencils on the pencil holder. So I'm going to do quickly erase that now because it appears really obvious when the background is dropped in. Taking another look at my background now, I realize I want my table to end higher up in the image. Because I want this painting to look hand-done, the edge of my wall where I've cut it off with the Marquee tool is just a bit too sharp. So I'll bring down my ruler from the top bar just to get the horizontal line, and then I'm going to create a Clipping Mask. Checking black is selected in my color panel to hide the pixels. I'm about to go over. I'll pick up my Brush tool and just work across that line a little bit with a slightly wonky hand, so it ends up looking not perfectly even. For the sake of time, I've skipped over some of my fiddling, and so now we're looking at the composition I've landed with. I'll leave version one for now, but it's always there if I need to go back to it later. Now I want to give my background some attention. The olive green color wash is looking a bit drab. So I want to show you how I'll change this using Adjustment Layers. I've created Levels Layer, and I'm just sliding across the black end of the scale a bit just to add a little bit of darkness. It feels too washed out at the moment. I'm now going to change the actual color of the background because I really don't think the grain is working for me. I've selected the hue and saturation Adjustment Layer, and I'm going to use the slider over the hue panel to see what other colors I can achieve. This is now changing both my tablecloth and my wall because they are the layers below that adjustment layers. I'm just going to press this button with the square in the arrow down, so it only affects the immediate layer below. It looks like I need to bring that directly above the layer for this to work. I really like this blue color I've created, so I'm going to leave that and work on a complementary color for the tablecloth. This moma beige works a lot better for me. When I positioned my objects on the table to paint them, I had a light source from behind, but it was kind of coming from an oblique angle. I want to emulate that in my background, especially the wall. So I'm going to add a Gradient Adjustment Layer, making sure that black is selected on my colors panel. I want it to be colored to transparent or foreground to transparent and the smoothness [inaudible] remain at 100 percent. I want the angle to match what I was saying on my table when I was painting the objects. I'm going to play around with that here. I feel like it's a little bit too dark, so I am going back into my gradient editor and experimenting with these black and white toggles. I think that looks better. As you can see here, the glass on the Berto Bitter bottle almost looks opaque. In reality, it's quite transparent, so next to the dark background it looks like a very flat object. I want to rectify this by making the glass section of the bottle only a little bit more translucent, where it stands in front of the background. To do this, I am selecting a mask, and then I will select my Brush tool, and I want to bring the opacity down. So I've got black selected in my color panel and because I don't want to completely hide the pixels, I'm going to bring the opacity down to about 15, 14 percent. Then with a steady hand as I can muster, and without taking my finger off the mouse, I am going to drag the cursor around the glass elements that I want to be more transparent. If I take my finger off the cursor and click again, it will just build up the layers, so it will continue to become more and more transparent, which isn't what I want. I want a consistent transparency over that section. So I would rather go over the edge of the label loop a little bit and then come back with my white brush to clean up and return that label into full opacity. This part does require a bit of patience and a steady hand but it really is worth it for the effect at the end. So now that my glass looks more transparent, I'm going to make my brush smaller and go over the white reflections on the bottle so that they stand out more. I'll bring up my opacity to 100 percent and make sure white is selected on my color panel to do this. Again, I want a really steady hand because with the mask that's transparent, it's harder to re-work back and forth between hiding and revealing pixels. So I want to get it more or less right on the first go. I'm really happy with how my bottles now looking. So I'm just going to review my other objects. My onion, I think could pop a little bit more. I'd like the color to be a bit more vibrant. So I'm going to add a new hue and saturation adjustment layer to that. I'll bring up the saturation ever so slightly and make sure that it is toggled to the layer blue only so it doesn't affect the whole canvas, and I can just toggle this Eye Button to see the difference between when that layer is on and off. I'm also giving my spoon a very slight adjustment with the levels there. It's all now looking pretty good, but the objects look a little strange sitting on a surface with no shadows. So to do this, I'm going to create a new layer in my background group and select the Clone Stamp. This part can take a little bit of trial and error. I'm going to select the color from the top right-hand corner of my canvas as I think this will work quite well for the shadows. I'm going to play around with the opacity and the hardness of my brush. To start, with the shadow under the Berto Bitter bottle. Oops, I've gone too low, so I need to make sure I'm collecting the color from the top of the canvas and not too close to the pencil holder. But I don't like how I've drawn the shadow. I'm just pressing Command Z to undo. It's easier to get them right as you go rather than trying to edit them later, although I can delete some edges if I'm unhappy with them. I find when I'm painting my shadows in Photoshop, it's sometimes helpful to have the objects in front of me again so I can just remind myself of where the shadows land on the table. Here, I'm just cleaning up this edge slightly with the Eraser tool. If you don't want to use the Clone Stamp tool, you can use the Paintbrush or Pencil tool to create hand-drawn shadows in Photoshop as well. There you have it. Here is my finished Still Life illustration from hand-painted elements in Photoshop. In the next lesson, we'll look at exploiting our files ready for use. 9. Exporting: Now that I'm happy my image is done, it's time to export my document. The first thing I'm going to do is just resave the Photoshop or PSD file. Then I'll save the file as two separate JPEGs. The first will be a larger file at full resolution. I'm going to rename it My still life HR for high resolution. Then use the format drop down menu to choose JPEG. When the next window opens, I'm going to make sure my quality is at 12, the maximum, and the format is ticked on Baseline, Standard. Now that I have my high resolution version saved, I'm going to create a smaller, lower resolution file that I can use on my website and social media. First thing I'm going to re-scale my image so it's half the size it currently is. To do this, I'll select "Image Size" and then make my dimensions 2,500 pixels by 2,500 pixels. I'll save this version as My still life for web, again as a JPEG. When the next window opens, I'll select Baseline Optimized, and I'll bring the sliding bar down so it's medium quality image. This will mean the file's much smaller for uploading to web and social media. If I take a look at my files now I can see that my web version is only 566 kilobytes, so it's quite small and manageable to use online. Then my high res still life is 13.1 megabytes, so nice and large that I can use it at full resolution across a variety of formats. I also have my working PSD file so I can always come back and edit my image later. I'm going to close my file in Photoshop as I'm now done with it. Because I've resized the image to 2,500 pixels square, I'm going to make sure I hit Don't Save because I want my original Photoshop file to remain at the 5,000 pixels, which is what I saved it out at the start of my exporting process. Now you're done. Your image is ready to be shared with the world. 10. Final Thoughts & Thank You!: Guys, you made it. Congratulations. I hope you had as much fun as I did working on this projects. We've covered everything from choosing our objects and materials, to mixing colors, putting brush to paper, and then bringing out elements into Photoshop and creating our final compositions. If there's one thing you've taken away from this class, I hope it's that illustrating does not have to be stressful especially when working on paper, and working between analog and digital formats really can help us loosen up, have fun, and always change an image later as well. Don't forget to upload your project to the student gallery below. I cannot wait to see what you've made and I'm sure your peers will love to see as well. Don't forget Skillshare is a wonderful, supportive community, so make sure you engage with it. If you liked this class or would like to ask me a question, or would like to see me teach something else, please feel free to get in touch. You can also follow me along on Skillshare and via Instagram. If you would like to share your projects to social media, do tag me, and I would be very happy to share with my networks too. Thanks again for joining me, I had such a blast working on this project with you, and I cannot wait to see what you guys have produced.