The Best of Both Worlds: Leveraging Photoshop and Illustrator In Your Work | Lydia Nichols | Skillshare

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The Best of Both Worlds: Leveraging Photoshop and Illustrator In Your Work

teacher avatar Lydia Nichols, Illustrator • Designer • Anthropomorphizer

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

    • 1.

      Concepting: Choose a City and Sketching


    • 2.

      Scan and prep your sketch, then trace in Illustrator.


    • 3.

      Create Custom Illustrator Brushes


    • 4.

      Create Textures


    • 5.

      Place vector art into Photoshop.


    • 6.

      Applying textures in Photoshop.


    • 7.

      More Creative Classes on Skillshare


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About This Class


Customize your Adobe workflow. Uncover possibilities.

The vector artwork of Adobe Illustrator is easier to use than raster, but sometimes you want to liven up your work with a bit of texture. Get the best of both.

In this class, we'll explore ways to use Illustrator and Photoshop in tandem, using tools from custom brushes to Smart Objects. You'll still retain your original vector art in case you need to make changes (your textures won't actually be integrated into the artwork). With masks and adjustments layers, you'll never worry about making a change you can't undo! It's a world of new possibility.

Learn by doing.

Here's you project: Pick your favorite city and start sketching. What is it you like most about this place? The buildings? The food? The people? There's no one way to illustrate a city. Once you have your vision, use class techniques to infuse your voice and style.

What You'll Learn

  • Concepting. Brainstorm and sketch out your ideas.
  • Creating vector artwork. Trace your sketches in Illustrator while carefully considering line and shape.
  • Custom brushes. Create custom art brushes in Illustrator and apply them to your vector artwork.
  • Textures. Create, scan, and manipulate various textures in Photoshop.
  • Moving to Photoshop. Consider the best way to move your vector art into Photoshop—as a whole or piecemeal—and start applying your custom textures.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lydia Nichols

Illustrator • Designer • Anthropomorphizer


Hullo, it's Lydia! I'm an illustrator with a penchant for design and type. Can't stop, won't stop drawing anthropomorphic animals.

Clients include: The New York Times, Google, Target, Penguin Random House, Chronicle Books, and many other very fine folks!


*Please note: the video tutorial below is...rather old at this point! There are still many useful tips (creating custom illustrator brushes, importing assets from Illustrator to Photoshop, applying texture, etc), but keep in mind: Both my illustrations and my process(es) have evolved since I first made this, as have Adobe programs. That's why certain aspects may feel a bit dated. If people are interested in a new Skillshare video, let me know!


Thank you to everyone who... See full profile

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1. Concepting: Choose a City and Sketching: Hi, I'm Lydia Nichols. Today, we're going to take a look at using both Illustrator and Photoshop to create an awesome illustration of a city of your choice. Now, a lot of us love Illustrator because it's vector based and that means we can infinitely rescale, and resize, and recompose, and recolor, and do all those great things to our artwork and never have to worry about degrading image quality or anything like that. But one of the biggest drawbacks to working in Illustrator is that things can look too neat, or too clean, or too "computery", or whatnot. So, this class is really going to focus on creating vector based artwork based on our sketches, moving it into Photoshop as Smart Objects, and then using things like blending modes, adjustment layers and masks to non-destructively eye texture and roughness and even vintage coloring or whatnot, to hopefully make our illustrations look a little more lively. This class isn't going to focus on how to illustrate, or illustration style, or anything like that. Hopefully you have all that underway. It's really going to focus on using the two programs in tandem to create a little bit more of a lively piece of work. The first thing we need to do is pick a city. I'm going to work on Philadelphia, which is where I'm currently residing. Most cities are full of cliches. What's the first thing you think of when you think of New York? Maybe it's the Statue of Liberty. A lot of people who think of Philadelphia, think of the Liberty Bell or cheese steaks, or Ben Franklin. If you want to illustrate something like that, that's totally fine, but don't feel you have to illustrate something iconic. You can really feel free to define the city yourself. When I first start working out an idea, what I like to do is work with words only. So I brainstorm through words and make the spider web of information and let one idea lead to another. After crossing out all sorts of things, the obvious cliches and museums and things like that, I've been sparked by the idea of food, so I'm going to go ahead and illustrate Reading Terminal Market which is an indoor food market in Philadelphia. I'd like to start with really rough thumbnail, super itty bitty, teeny tiny. Not a lot of information, mostly comprised of stick figures just to get an idea or composition out, and it's up to you how you want to work of course. Once I get a thumbnail I think it could work or that I'm liking, I do it a little bit larger. These are more like oversized stick figures with a little bit more detail. But at this point, I'm still not investing too much into the actual drawing. I just want to make sure that things are working. When I feel good about this, I start moving on to actual illustrations of the characters, or objects, or figures, or whatever it is. I'd like to do this piecemeal, so I'll do one or two at a time and then I'll compile them using either tracing paper or I'll scan them into Photoshop and put them together there. Now, there's no one way to do this. However you feel most comfortable and don't be afraid to use the computer to your advantage as another tool. 2. Scan and prep your sketch, then trace in Illustrator.: To the left, you'll see the thumbnail that I've settled on and to the right, you can see my folder full of files that I've scanned. These are all the sketches. Like I said, I tend to work a little piecemeal and compile everything once I get onto the computer. So, using this really rough thumbnail as a guide, I've gone ahead and compiled all those sketches. You can see to the right what it looks like. I've done all the sketches on different pieces of paper at different times, so you can see that there's a difference in quality. They're all grouped in this folder here. Then, I'm going to go ahead and look at the levels and decrease the hue and saturation to basically make a grayscale, so that I can see how everything looks without the distraction of the different paper backgrounds. Now that this is all set to go, I'm going to save it and head over to Illustrator, where I'm going to start a new document. You should, hopefully, have already thought about the size and the scale you want to make this. I'm going to do 24 by 36, which is a fairly standard poster size, and I'll give it an eighth of an inch Bleed, all around. Now, I'm going to place my sketch into Illustrator, so I'm going File, Place, grabbing it out of my folder. Okay, so it's a little bit tiny that's no big deal. Okay, so that looks good. Now, if you go over to your layers, panel, or window, whatever you want to call it. I like to keep everything labeled as I work, even though I don't tend to work in too many layers, I still find it useful. So, I'm labeling this layer, Sketch. If you go to the dropdown in the upper right-hand corner, there is an option for Template. If you hit that, the great thing about it is that it locks the layer into place and it also lowers the opacity. So, right away my sketch has been decreased in opacity, and there's no accidental moving it around. After I've done that, I'm going to create a new layer to work on top of, I like to work in a contrasting color when I'm tracing my sketches. Typically, I choose red, so I don't really want my layer color to be red so I'm going to go ahead and change it to blue and call this Vector. Okay, so now, I'm all set and ready to start tracing. I found the Pen Tool to be the best way to trace my sketches. I'm not sure if anyone uses the Pencil Tool. Once in a while it has a purpose, but I would say generally, it's not that useful. Like I said, I'm going to pick a nice contrasting color, a red. Grab my Pen Tool here and zoom in just to start tracing. So sometimes, I will trace in bits and pieces, for example, right now I'm going to go ahead and trace the entire head with the neck as one object on its own. Other times, I'll trace something and then split it up later. So, for example, when I get down to the body and pants, you'll see I'll just do this entire shape here, and then I'll go back and slice off all these parts so that I can actually separate out the shoes, and the pants, and the shirt, and things like that. Some of it is a little bit of guesswork because I'm not entirely sure what's going on behind that bag. I didn't actually draw it out in pencil. But the great thing about Illustrator is that it's really easy as you know, and just to go back and grab some points, and make some changes. There's a lot of shortcuts, I'm sure everyone's aware of, like holding down the Shift key will make your line perfectly straight or angle at certain degrees, which is what I was just doing. Okay, zoom out here. Obviously, this leg looks a little funny. So, all these lines that I'm just drawing across right now, these I will use with the Pathfinder Tool to actually split into different objects. As I work, I'll often make adjustments like of the side that he doesn't need to have three-inch platform shoes or something like that, and I just won't include it. A lot of this, I'll go back, and I'll sort of scooch around, and change a little bit as I see how the progress is coming along. Just on a side note, I'm using a Wacom tablet to do this. Some people can manage with a mouse, I am not one of those lucky few. In moments like this, I will use Circle Tool, and then I'll group and rotate, little tricks like that, but I'm sure you guys all have your methods or already know what you're doing. You can perfectly make something like this happen, but sometimes not being so perfect is helpful especially since that's really part of our objective. I have these perfect circles here, later on I'll probably go and sort of roughen them up somehow or sort of pull out the point to move them around, so it's not quite so perfect. So, I'm going to continue just going ahead and tracing. This is the great thing about having these on separate layers, is that I can turn off my sketch underneath and track my progress. At this point, it doesn't really matter what my line weight is, or the color, anything like that, that I'll get addressed later. For now, it's just a matter of converting this entire thing, this entire sketch into a Vector traced artwork. Now, I have just about everything traced. The only things that are missing are a few small details and the lettering up in the signage, so I can turn off my sketch and see everything. At certain parts, it's getting awfully complicated like up in her hair which is, there's actually a clipping mask containing these swirls, which is why it looks like it's doubly stroked. There's a lot of strange overlaps, but all of that will get taken care of once color is added. I mentioned earlier using the Pathfinder Tool to split up parts of the body, so if you look at the body here, it's all one shape. I'm going to go ahead and select all of these horizontal lines that split things up, and go over to my Pathfinder palette here, and hit Divide, and then ungroup just so they're actually separated objects. Okay, so that's how I'm getting a perfect meeting of points with the different parts of the drawing. Now, I'll do the same down here. It does require a little bit of thought in terms of what order you want to do things. So, I want the soles of the shoe to happen first, group, and then I can do this toe business. Obviously, that was in a little too close. So, a lot of this going back and forth making adjustments. Now, I can ungroup these, and these are separated pieces, and if I really wanted to, I could go back and combine those as well. So, there's a lot of chopping things up, putting them back together. You can see I also was making some changes to the characters themselves. So, this is the original guy here. This is the new version. The same with the woman holding pretzels. Sometimes, I decide while I'm working, maybe she looks cuter with her glasses higher and her face looking like it's a little more tilted back. So, those are kind of on the fly decisions that you might find yourself making if you don't already, don't shy away from them. I also have a few spots in the composition I could use some filling in, so I think I'm going to go back and add some words like, oink, and fresh fruit, and fresh fish, or whatever it is. I'm still sort of thinking about it. But this is basically what it's going to look like. At this point, we can go ahead and start experimenting with custom brushes, and applying the different strokes to our artwork. 3. Create Custom Illustrator Brushes: Next, we're going to create some custom brushes for Illustrator. In order to do that, we actually have to do the line work by hand. So, you'll want to grab a piece of paper, copy paper is fine, something blank, white without any toner, or speckles or anything like that, a ruler and a bunch of drawing materials. I find that really soft pencils, charcoal, charcoal pencils, markers especially ones that are really low on ink, China markers, really anything that you want to experiment with. I tend to use black. You can use any color you want because we'll go into Photoshop and turn it black and white but the more contrast, the better. You're really trying to find materials that will give you a roughness, which is why I would stay away from really hard pencils or anything that's too crips. Brand new markers, things like that. So, the trick with this is that, you want your line to be relatively straight. If it's not once you put it in Illustrator and try to stroke and object, it'll get a little wonky. But you don't want it to be so straight that you lose the rough edge. Use a roller to make these lines, but try not to get that preciseness of the ruler. So, you might want to tilt your drawing, implement a little bit away so that you can still follow the guide without getting a really sharp edge on one side. So, go ahead and draw several lines, the more, the better. If you don't like something, you can always get rid of it. You can always go back and add more. This is a lot about experimenting and figuring out what you like. Once you've drawn several lines in all different materials, and if they're not exactly straight on the pages, and if they're not totally parallel to one another, that's not a problem, we can definitely go in and fix that. You just want to make sure the lines are relatively straight. Once you've drawn all of those, go ahead and scan them in. Now that I have my line work scanned, I'm going to bring it into Photoshop. The first thing I'll do is change my mode to grayscale. I'm doing this just to make sure that there's no strange color information hiding in there. Next, I'm clicking the background to release the layer, hitting OK. Now, I want to play with the levels and make sure that the white of the paper is as white as I want it to be and that the lines are as dark and contrasty as I want them to be. You could go up to Image Adjustments and play with levels from here, but I find that to be pretty prominent. So, if I change something and don't like it I don't really have the opportunity to undo it, short of doing Controlled Z. So instead, I'm going to the Layers window, down to the Adjustment Layers and Selecting Levels here. Now the levels are actually on their own layer. I can adjust from here, and I can preview what they look like applied and turned off. I feel pretty good about this, but obviously my lines aren't very straight. If I pull down the ruler, you can see that everything's pretty crooked so I'm just going to grab the layer to Free Transform, rotate it to mostly be parallel with my guide. Obviously, these lines aren't all parallel with one another and as I pull down my guide, you can see which ones are which ones aren't. I'm not going to mess too much with it anymore in Photoshop, instead I'll fix that in Illustrator. Things that I might want to do in Photoshop instead are, take this line for example, the one side is wonky, looks like it's flipping up. So, we're going to copy this onto a new layer, and I'll actually turn off all the other brushes. I'm going to copy it again, flip it, and delete half of it. Let's see how this looks. Okay, so it's not quite lined up. Let's zoom back out. So, that line looks a lot better and if I put my guides back on, it looks like it's much more parallel as well. So, let me turn on all these other lines again. Going to merge those, turn off my guides so you can see better. All right. So, now you can see the before and after. This was the line originally and this is what it looks like now. So, that kind of thing is also really useful in Photoshop. I mean, you can pretty much do that in illustrator as well, but I find that it's a lot easier in Photoshop. You'll notice that I didn't get rid of the white background or anything because ultimately it won't matter once we bring it into Illustrator. This is all looking pretty good for now. Sometimes you'll make a brush in Illustrator and realize that it's not working. You'll pinpoint the problem and then need to come back into Photoshop and make adjustments in here and then go through a process again. But I think for now that everything's good, so I'm going to save this as a jpeg. Just add it to the end here, and hit Save. Okay, good bye. All right, now that the line work is ready we can bring it into Illustrator. So, to convert it into vector we need to open up the Image Trace panel. Image Trace, here we go. It should default to black and white. Go ahead and hit Preview. So, you can see that it's not going to be perfectly accurate. We're definitely not trying to have a 100 percent accurate pencil line, or marker line, or whatever it is in Illustrator. Instead, we're trying to have a rough inline quality that we can apply to strokes, or just stroked objects to give them a textured effect. Really, the goal here is to downplay the perfect sharp edges of illustrator and less so to really mimic an actual true pencil line. You can go ahead and adjust this though. I don't think that there's any super science behind it or exact formula to making it look great. I tend to stick with the threshold slider and play with that. As I decrease the threshold, you can see that the white becomes more prevalent and as I bump up the threshold, the line work becomes thicker and blacker. Slide it around, see what you like. You can trace these more than once. So, if you decided that you went overboard in any given direction, it's not a big deal, you can totally do this over. When you have it to a point you like, un-select Preview and hit Trace. So, now it's actually traced even though it looks exactly the same as it did in Preview mode, and since we really want this to be usable vector, we have to make it something other than this static image. So, go to Object Expand. You want to make sure that Object and Filler is selected and hit OK. Now it's expanded, we have vectors we can work with but there's a couple of things we need to do first. It's also more or less traced to the white of the paper or what it thinks is the white of the paper, and that includes even all these specs inside the line work itself. If I grab my Direct Selection Tool which is that white arrow, I can actually grab this white specks. So, you can see that the white is an object, it's still actually knocked out of the black. So if I hit the black, you can see that this is knocked out of it. But what I really need to do is get rid of all that white completely, otherwise it will become part of your brush and that will defeat the point. The easiest way to do it is to select a big swaths, such as the background white and I'm doing that with my Direct Selection tool and then go up to select, same, fill color. It's going to select everything that's white on a page, hit delete. And now when I hit my art again, I can tell that only the black is left because if I look at my fill color down here, it shows that it's only black, which has multiple colors it comes up as a question mark. So, next I'm going to un-group everything and I just hit Un-group until I get that sound that says you can't un-group anymore. That way you can go in and grab the strokes one-by-one and play with them. The only caveat here is that these strokes that are scraggly- They're comprised of multiple groups. So, if you look right here, I can actually pull that apart. I don't want that to happen if I'm trying to work on this stroke. So, I'll just grab it all and regroup it. Now, I'm not going to do this for all the lines right now, we'll just take a look at at one or two and see how it's looking. But, that's something you can do if you wanted to convert all of your lines into brushes. So, I'm going to pull out my ruler and drop down a guide, and pick a brush to play with. I think I am going to go with this guy here. So, I'm going to duplicate it because I might do some changes to it, and I always like to have the original on hand in case I want to backtrack. So, I'm pulling over the guide and it's although straight, but not totally. It's not really even so much a matter of it being straight as the tail in front end, sort of lifting up a little bit. So, I'm going to grab my direct selection tool again, and just pull it down and place this to make it sit more evenly across the guide. There's no real exact science to this. I'm just going to mess around until I like it. Luckily, these strokes are a little wonky looking, so you don't have to really worry about messing them up too much. If there are other things that you don't like, for example, I'm not super fond of this little tail here, now's the time to go in and play with those. Okay. So, I'm feeling good about this, I'm ready to make my brush. The next thing you need to do is go to Window attributes. Okay. So, in the far right hand side, you'll see two little buttons. One that has two squares overlapped and they combine. The one to the right of it has two squares overlapped and the the part where they overlapped is knocked down. If you hover over it, it'll say, "Use even odd fill rule or use non-zero winding fill rule." The even odd is probably the one selected. You want to make sure you select the one where the two squares are combining. Basically, what this does is, if I draw a line that overlaps itself and I don't have this combined square selected, the place where they overlap will actually get knocked out. So, I have an example here. Let's see. Where did I save it? So, I have an example, okay. So, this is where I haven't made that adjustment and you can see in these spots such as here. It's getting knocked out, whereas here, it's overlapping without any issue. That's sorts of why it's important to make sure that you have used non-zero winding fill rule selected. Once you have that selected, you can go to your brushes panel in the upper right hand corner, that drop-down, new brush. We're making art brushes here, so select art brush and hit okay. You can fill on a name if you want, Skillshare, I'll call this, Thin one. We're going to use stretch to fit stroke length. So, that basically means if I have a circle, it's always going to follow the whole entire length of that circle, or to that square, or whatever it is. Or if it's a line, however long the line is, it's going to stretch out this artwork to fit that line. Scaling proportionately is just what it sounds, so it'll make the line bigger, and bigger, and bigger. It just sort of fit whatever scale your object is, and stretch between guides, you can set the guides. So, stick with stroke-length. There are some limitations to this which I'll talk about. But first, let's figure out how to make these brushes and then we can talk about the limitations I have. In colorization method, drop-down to tints, that's the one method that's really just whatever color you select, that's what it's going to reflect. It's not going to give you a hue or a shade, even though a tint is a misleading term. Then you can hit Okay. There's my brush up there. So, we're going to draw a circle, test this out, and apply brush. There you go. Nice subtle texture there. If I shrink this down, you can see that the texture increases. That's that whole stretching to fit the stroke width. So, this is the exact same stroke and it's the exact same way. These are both one point, but this is a stretched out to accommodate the larger circle, and this is on the smaller circle. So, that's one of one limitations to the art brush. It's that, as your objects get bigger, you lose some of the rough quality, and conversely as they get smaller, you might end up with too much roughness. So, I'm going to zoom in here. You can tell that this is not looking so great. This is not it's optimal size. The optimal size is probably somewhere like that. So, there's no really excellent work around for this. Unfortunately, there's no good way to get your line to repeat itself or anything. If you know how, let me know. Because I've spent many hours trying to figure it out and our brushes really tend to work best in Illustrator versus the pattern brushes. So, instead, what I do is try to make strokes of varying lengths. So, maybe I like this one and what I'll do is go in and cut it. So, I'm going to use my Pathfinder pellet. So, I've cut this, I want to make sure that the edge isn't so super sharp. So, I'll go in and round it out a bit, maybe something like that. Same process, new brush, art brush, okay. I'll call this Skillshare Then Short, stretch to fit tints, hit okay. We duplicate this circle here, shrink it down, and select the new brush. So, obviously, the new one, and here is the old one, looks a lot better than the old one. So, really what I do, is just make a whole set of different brushes at different lengths and thicknesses, and whatever it is that I might want to have in my arsenal. If you don't like how this is ending, there's a little bit of a gap there, then, you can go back. It's in part because this is tilting up to the left, and this is tilting down to the right. So, if I go and move these in, you'll probably find that it makes for better closure. Now I can test that by doing another art brush. You don't really have to name them unless you want to. I find it helpful once you have a huge collection. So, I duplicate this and let's see. Yeah. So, that was a little bit better. I mean, could still use some work, now it's touching. You can get really nitpicky with these, it's entirely up to you. It often will depend on the scale that you're working at. Just to let you know what it looks like on a filled object. It's actually nice. It just takes away a little bit of that perfection. Like I said, you shouldn't have any issues changing the colors length as you are not in Greece cathode, and you did the tints. If you've made a brush and you want to go and edit some basic things such as the colorization method, or the overlap method, or flip along, and these things really just flip the direction of the stroke. Actually, you can see it happening on the screen as long as your preview button has selected anything that has that stroke, or you could change the name and hit okay. It will ask you if you want to apply to all strokes or leave the existing ones alone. I'll hit apply it all. So, you can make some changes. You can't really change the structural quality, you can grab it out of your brushes palette and drag it in and make edits from here, but then you'll have to go and save it as a new art brush. If you want to get rid of an art brush you've made, you just select it in your palette and hit the trash can. It will ask you if you want to expand it on the existing things or if you just want to remove it. I'll hit remove. You can see it got rid of it. So, now you can go ahead and do that for all of your brushes or all the ones that you want, or all the strokes that you want to convert into brushes. Once you have several and I have two here, so, yeah. We can save this as a library. So, save brush library. It should default it into your brushes folder in Illustrator. You can see I already have a collection going. So, I'm not going to save mine. But, if you want to save yours, you should. Then, it should pop up down here in user-defined. I can see I have a whole mess of brushes, all different thicknesses and width. They might look funny, and as I hover over it, you can see this is extra short. So, it's like super zoomed in. So, you can make all sorts of brushes and then save them and always have them on hand. The great thing is that you can continue to add and create more brushes. Now that you've made your brushes, you can go back to your artwork, open up your brush library and I went ahead and finished up all of those brushes that I had scanned for this project, here they are. Here's my old library, I'll probably end up using both. The more the merrier, it's up to you whether you want to do your coloring first, or whether you want to apply your brushes first. Sometimes I like to apply the brushes because it gives it that hand-on look and I can get into the feeling of it, and helps dictate the color, but it's entirely up to you. Once you start applying brushes, you might have to do some changing. As we saw earlier, one brush applied to a larger object, isn't going to work the same when applied to a smaller objects. So, down here it's not working quite as well and I want to go through and find something better. These are smaller brushes down here and they don't necessarily look much better, so, it might also be a matter of changing the weight of the stroke as well. I like this rough crinkly inky sort of look. So, I'm okay with leaving it like that. Again, sort of finding that balance between weight and style of brush. Of course, you want to make sure that your weights feel appropriate. It depends on the style you're working, and of course, this is just how I like to work. So, I'm going to go ahead and start to play with color. Color is not really my forte, I tend to struggle a little bit with it. I sort of have a default palette, I like to start with, and then I will change from there. So, oftentimes, I'll just start with boxes on the side and pick out three or four colors. I like to work in a really limited palette, but of course this depends on how you like to work. I'm going to pick out a few colors, see if I like them and just start applying them across the piece. I think I want a flat background color, I don't think I want this to be on white. So, in that case, I'm going to actually make the background layer. So, I don't have to worry about whether it's locked or unlocked or what not. Then I can just turn it on and off if I want to see how something looks without it. So, I definitely want white to be a color, then of course, it's a matter of sending objects behind other objects, or in front of, and this is really where your own illustration skills kick in. Right now, I'm dropping my colors, once I have a better sense of the palette, I'll actually grab them, go up into my swatches and do a new color group, and I'll call this. I'm big into labeling things, skillshare Philly. Okay. The next thing about this is, every time I dropper a color from over here, I lose my stroke and then I have to go back and reapply that change color, yada yada yada. Whereas, if I'm grabbing out of my swatches panel here, I can easily do my stroke and fill separately. So, I can tell right now that I'm not a huge fan of these colors and I probably won't stick with them, but for the moment, I really need to just start filling some things and so I can get a sense of what is working and what isn't working. Most of my characters, as you may have noticed, are grouped together. You know why his legs are separated? Now they're grouped. I'd like to do that just to make sure that things don't get lost. She grouped yes. Double-click groups, you can double-click and work inside isolation mode, and then everything's basically separated again, unless they're in subgroups. Or you can use your direct selection tool which is that way arrow and grab things this way. It's up to you, or you don't have to work in groups at all, it's just something that I find useful. You should also start considering, do you want everything to be solid? Do you want line work? What will your line work be like? And I definitely want to have some moments of line work, I want these to be glass. So, I'm just going to keep them in a white line to give that effect of transparency. But again, this has a lot to do with your style and what you like and what you think will work for this piece, in particular. I think I should just add this white down into this group here. Nope? There we go. So, as I said, colors annoys my forte right off the bat, and it takes me a little bit of time and experimenting to figure out what I want to do. So, sometimes I open up a new document and just sort of play around from there. I went back to my favorite palette, this more turquoisey blue, golden yellow and orange red. They're sort of my default colors, because I can solve almost any problem in them, and they're really fun for doing multiplying, you get some nice greens and other good secondary colors, if you want that overlapping printmaking effect. That's what I was trying here, a little bit of the overlaying with the line work and stuff like that, and while I like it, I'm not entirely sold on it. So, from here, I thought maybe it needs to be on a white background. More or less the same palette, white background. You can see I'm making a few adjustments to the mustache into the placement of the buttons and things like that as I go along trying to figure things out. Nothing is 100 percent executed at this point. Again, it's just trying to figure out what colors work, what balance of line and shape I want, whether I want this sort of multiplied printmaking effect or not. Still not sold, tried introducing a really dark black line, I thought the high contrast might work, but I couldn't seem to get the other colors working. Not really sold on this pink orange or yellow. I finally got to this palette which is a hospital medicinal retro green and a nice pink and yellow and a dark brown to go along with it and to contrast it. I was feeling really good about this as a palette, but not necessarily the distribution of color. And I like that I was getting away from my favorite trio of red, yellow and blue. So, I decided to keep working with this and I finally landed on this guy here. Of course, I had to start testing it in the overall piece and making sure that it was working with the other components as well. So, we'll go back over here, and this is what everything looks like color. Originally, he was sort of this yellow and she was white, and I found that sort of switching the colors around worked a lot better, provided a better sense of movement across the piece and just balance of color overall. Like I said about adding additional details, I added some moon green and some paneling down in here using different brushes. That's the advantage of having a huge library to draw from, and where did my two libraries go? Is that you can apply different brushes in different spots and get new textures. This is an example of when using that pencil tool is actually handy. So, it was really just doing this and applying a stroke, and that lag that you just saw, that's a byproduct of all the color and the brushes in effect right now. The biggest drawback to having all of these brushes is that, by the time you get to the end of your illustration and granted this is at a scale of 24 by 36 inches, it's going to be a bit of a memory sack. So, do keep that in mind, when you're applying brushes, especially if you're trying to decide whether to apply them before or after you add color. If you are experiencing any lag, then just turn off your brushes which is as easy as selecting an object and going to this little crossed out paint brush down here, and now it's gone. You can do that across your entire document. For the lettering here, I did basically the same thing that we did for making brushes. I draw it out, scanned it and then traced it in Illustrator. Although in this case, I printed out the typography first and then traced it, my hand-lettering skills are not that crazy good. This is a little more free-hand, but the same thing, I'd drawn it out, I scanned it in, cleaned it up in Photoshop, brought it into Illustrator, did the image trace, and this is what I came up with. You can tell, see it's just an object versus this which was actually strokes line work. But they do have a really similar quality. I'm now noticing there's this like little point detail down here. So, I'm going to go over to my stroke, and there are different ways to end your corners. If I hit this round one, it'll just smooth it out a bit. So, there's a lot of good stuff hiding up here in your Stroke panel and also in your brushes panel, those things that we talked about, your pathfinder and your layers. All these things are in good use right now. 4. Create Textures: Now that our vector work is done we can bring it into Photoshop, but first we have to prepare some textures to actually apply to our artwork. Now you can use whatever you want to make textures, but I have a few recommendations. My favorite being a brayer and some ink. Brayer's come in all different sizes, it almost doesn't really matter what you use, but I happen to have a variety because I enjoy it so much. As for the ink that you're going to use, I'd recommend a water soluble printmaking ink, but you could also try using a water based oil paint or something of a similar viscosity. Regular India ink won't really work, it's just going to absorb into your brayer and actually won't spread around too much. So, I would avoid that. Pick up your brayer. Roll it out, do it a bunch of times, try different thicknesses, different applications of ink, see what you like. I'd have a huge stack of computer paper and just go through page after page. You can also try India ink with a brush, a dry brush really works well, so sop up some ink maybe, let some out on the side and then just dry brush across the page. Other materials you may want to try would be charcoal, pastel, marker. Really any thing that can give you sort of a nice gritty quality. You can try some of the tools that you use when you're working in your brushes for Illustrator. On a bigger scale, you can try working on a different kind of surface or a different kind of paper and see what effects you get. This is really a good time to experiment. Even spray paint can be good if you get a nice little splatter effect or if you're using India ink. Instead of using a paint brush, try using an old toothbrush and really spraying the paper with the ink. I didn't have an old toothbrush on hand, so I used a paintbrush to a similar effect, but a toothbrush because of the way the bristles are set up will give you a much better spray. So, just gather up your tools and go at it. When scanning your textures make sure you do it at least 300 dpi and really consider what scale you want to scan at. I decided to scale it up to 150 percent to give me a little more wiggle room. I could probably even go higher. Especially because the poster I'm working on is 24 by 36 inches and if this is roughly nine by 12, applying this onto that- this is going to be significantly smaller. So, increasing your DPI and or your scale will definitely help. Also in scanning, remember to scan as a tif instead of a jpeg because jpegs actually are degrading in quality every time you open and close them whereas tifs are not. So, this is a good way just to start off your library and right here, you can see everything I've scanned for this project. I have a bunch of rolled out brayers, some found paper. This was a record sleeve and then I went in and used the Content-Aware tool in Photoshop to get rid of the circle in the middle. This is the sprayed India ink and a couple other dry brushed India inks. I have other collections. This is just what I've made for our class today. But you can see, just investing 15, 20, 30 minutes and you can already start to amass a nice little library. 5. Place vector art into Photoshop.: Okay, so by this point we have our illustration done in Illustrator, complete with custom brushes and we also have a small but budding library of custom textures that we've scanned and organized. So we're ready to take our artwork and place it into Photoshop and start mixing these two sets of things. So let me move over here to Photoshop and start a new file. So like I said mine's 24 by 36 inches but I have to account for the bleed that I built in, so, here we go 300 DPI. A lot of you probably already know this but in case you don't, you can go to window new guide and manually type in your guides and that way you don't have to sort of putz around and try to figure out the exact right location but do make sure you're putting in the exact right of measurement. So next I want to put in my background color and what I'm going to do is go over to my illustrator file and check to see what color this is. Copy it. Move on back to Photoshop and I'm just going to do a new solid color fill layer and I will call this background. Okay, and then I can delete that default background. The next thing I'm going to do is return to illustrator and grab all of my artwork which I'm going to copy and paste into Photoshop. Now the reason I'm copying everything at once is because I want to use it as a guide. So when I go over to Photoshop I can paste it as pixels. Okay, going to rename this and I'm going to reduce the opacity to about 50%. Again this is really just a guide for where I'm going to place the individual objects. Want to go back to Illustrator and start grabbing things such as this fishmonger bring them in. Now it's really important to make sure that smart object is selected, otherwise you won't be able to easily go back and edit. Although you can always go back and paste it in. Every time I put something in I'm going to go ahead and name it. Eventually will have a lot of players so you'll really want to make sure you know which is which. Just roughly in line all this up. Now if you're working with some sort of multiplying effect or overlaying or something like that you'll want to approach this a little differently. We can actually go ahead and take a little look at how we might do that. So I'm going to start a new file and this is just a test for those of you who are not working in solid colors like I am. I am going to go back over to these color tests that I showed you earlier and zoom in before I figure out what this background color is head on back to Photoshop, to my fill layer. Okay, so let's see here. So, I'm noticing a couple of things right away. First I'm going to have to ungroup all of this stuff and sort of figure out okay what is on the bottom. White should definitely be on the bottom, so I will make sure everything's ungrouped and go ahead and select the white. But before I do that I'm going to do the same thing I did before which is just copy the whole figure as pixels over here bring it to 50% and use it as a reference. Okay, so we grab these white things, back to smart objects, start pasting in, looks like I missed an arm there. So delete that, all right. Next I'm going to go ahead and grab the blue and again going to label my layers just because it makes it easier for me. But do as you'd like and now I'm going to change this to multiply. Line it up here. So you can see if you actually want that multiplying effect, and I'll just turn off the reference. That's how it's looking. You do need to place these separate objects. What happens if you try to place it all at once. Now just turn these off. Photoshop isn't recognizing the different sort of blending modes that you've applied in Illustrator. So everything solid and you're not really getting that nice overlap there and if you go to multiply obviously because everything is just one object this is what's going to happen, just pretty useless. So it's important that you go through and place these sort of pieces one at a time and then apply as necessary. Okay so that's what you would do if those were the ways you were working. At this point I have all of my illustration pieces placed into Photoshop as smart objects and everything's labeled. I've separated out the text wherever there is any but otherwise I have kept large pieces intact like this fruit stand and I've gone ahead and color coded certain things just to make it really easy. For example, the ones in yellow I'll have to do with the fishmonger and the red all has to do with this little Philbert the pig here. 6. Applying textures in Photoshop.: So, I'm going to head over and grab some of those textures that I made, and I'll probably just pull them all into Photoshop. These are a textural quality. If I enlarge a little bit, I don't think it's going to be a big problem, but we'll have to see. I generally like to just run through the blending work first and see if anything strikes my fancy. For example, I like what's going on in the darker colors with this. I'm getting some nice speckly quality here, but I will keep looking, see if there's anything else I like. Okay. So, overlay and soft light are giving me some things that I like. I think I'm going to stick with soft light. I mentioned earlier using adjustment layers, which are down here. So, I'm going to grab levels and start playing with the levels of this texture as well. Now, if you do option command G, that'll cut the levels right onto the layer you're working on which happens to be the texture, and therefore it will only apply to the texture. So, as I adjust these levels, they're only applying to the texture. So, when I turn the texture off, they get turned off too which you can tell because the little eye there gets grayed out. You can do that with any of the adjustment layers which is really great and again, that's part of the whole non-destructive working. I'm never actually permanently changing my texture that I've placed in, I'm just modifying it. So, I think I like that. Obviously, it's not filling up the whole space, but that's okay because I think I only want to apply in bits and pieces. This again, is part of the reason that I imported things separately. If I drag this down to the customer, I'm going to go ahead and use my wand and so just the brown parts in just this section of the illustration. So, now thankfully I don't have to worry about selecting all the brown across my entire piece. You go back up to my texture and apply a mask and zoom out. So now, I'm applying my texture just to this one portion. I can go in and unlock the texture from the mask and grab my free transform tool and twist things around and shift them in and see how I like the way it's sitting. Go ahead and grab a different texture. A lot of this like I said is trial and error. So, maybe you like something right now and then you start doing other things and you realize you like that better and you turn it off. Again, that's really the advantage to doing this in layers and to using things like adjustment layers and clipping masks is that, I can always turn it off. I haven't permanently done anything, and if I find that there's something wrong with my illustration here, just double click it. Should bring the smart object into Illustrator. So for example, I changed the mouth at some point and did a quick fix and applied this funny green shape on top, could actually go in now and knock it out. Make sure I send that to the back. Layers are out of control. Okay. So, that's a little better. Now, it's actually one shape instead of having that weird green thing. So, I hit save, go back here and it should update, if it doesn't you might need to go back to Illustrator and give it a second. Okay. You may have just seen the mouth change ever so slightly. That's partly because now the stroke is coming in here as well, so it made the mouth space a little smaller. That's the kind of thing you want to account for when you start to cutting out shapes when you're using strokes, but I think that's fine. In any case, I still have the flexibility to go in and make changes to my vector objects and apply or take away my texture. You will notice though, because I did this using a mask, it's not perfectly fitted anymore. I'm a little close, just why that's looking a little funky. So, I'll just go ahead and delete the mask and click new one. Now, if I didn't have this levels adjustment clipped onto the texture, which I will delete the mask and de-clip that. I could then clip the texture directly onto this portion of the illustration, but note that it is applying to the entire shape, which is all of this. So, I can't really just clip it on and have it applied to just the brown unless I put a mask on it. So, did the same thing with Philbert, just did different texture. Now, that it's in the mask, I can go ahead and use my free transform tool to move it around and see what I like. I don't know but I feel like these textures go super well together, but at this point, I'm just experimenting and trying a few different things out. One of my favorite ways to add textures is to give it that quality where the ink didn't quite stick everywhere. So, I'm going to go ahead and just turn off these other textures I've tried out. I'm not really sold on either of them, but I'm not ready to give them up either. One of my favorite textures to apply is that look where the ink didn't quite stick and I find that found paper is really good for achieving that effect. So first, I'm going to turn off these other textures, maybe I'll come back to them we'll see. I'll go over to my scanned records lib and copy it and paste it. In this case, I don't really need to maintain the color or quality of the paper as is, so I'm just going to go in and make these changes to it directly and I'll start by changing the Hue/Saturation, basically taking all the color out. Then I'll hit levels. I'm going to crank up the black quite a bit and the white too. I'm really trying to get this effect here. I want some substantial bits of black but not too much, so I'll hit okay and see how this looks. Then I will go back and do it again and try to knock out even more and hit okay. I've got my wand tool and make sure my tolerance is pretty low about 10, because I don't really want it to pick up all of these little pieces, just some which I turn off this layer. That looks all right, at least worth a shot, up at the top it's a little out of control but we can deal with that later. So, I'll go down to my adjustment layers and select solid color and choose this background color and then hit okay. So, obviously, up at the top it's a bit much, but it's looking okay down here. It's a little heavy, I don't really need quite so much. So, for one thing, I'm going to change the scale of it a bit, because I don't think it's going to degrade too much and if it does, I'll just apply a sharpening mask. So, what I can do now is because this is basically a mask, can grab a paintbrush and I'm going to go with something not too fuzzy, you want something harder, rougher. Make sure I have black selected because I'm actually, basically painting in the mask, and I'm just going to take out some of this. I'm being random with this. I'm not too concerned about getting rid of too much because it's not going to be that hard to add it back in. Okay and as I zoom in, it's looking better to me already. I might actually go ahead and do filter sharpen just to get this a tiny bit crisper. Okay. I'm going to go and paste that found paper in another time. This time I'm going to adjust the blending mode kind of run through. This is interesting though I think it might shift the color a little much for my liking. I can then go through and change the opacity and this is giving it a nice vintage quality making it look a little worn. There's also some nice getting around the sides there that are a byproduct of the scanned paper. My only issue is that it kind of is muting the whole thing a lot. Yes, I am labeling more things, I delete this guy. So again, with the adjustment layers levels. Now, I just start playing with this a little bit too and knocking them up or down. I think I like the contrast a little more. The opacity on this is 50 percent, I'll try it at 30. Maybe too much so 40, 45. So, again, the great thing I can't say it enough and this is what I mean when I refer to nondestructive editing is that I can turn all of these things on and off and everything is still editable Okay, I think I like that. Let's see what else we have in this bag of tricks. So, I can use a sputter and very much the same way that I use the found paper and take out bigger chunks of things if I want. Part of this, I mean it's a little much in these places but I can see how I might want to use little pieces of it. I kind of like maybe roughing up an edge here or there or adding a bigger speckle somewhere. It can be as much about the edge quality. So, I can transform this. So, I kind of like this hunk here, Iet me see if I can use it somehow. This is going to seem kind of ridiculous but all right. So basically, master everything else except this little bit here, chicken trope I like quite a bit. I'm going get rid of some of this and then boom, I have just this little bit done. I know that this is super detail oriented and maybe not for everyone and I find like the little inconsistency is what adds some charm throughout the piece. Next, I'm going to go in and add another brayer texture and I like the soft layer before. So, just give that a shot. Some sort of nice things going on but I want it a little bigger. Again, be aware of how degraded the quality of your texture is when you do things like this. Some good stuff happening but maybe a little too high contrast, so I'll just decrease the opacity and this is just adding another layer of that edge to block really. I zoom in, it's just giving it a little bit more of an edge texture look. If I wanted to accentuate it in any given area, I could try to duplicate the layer, move it where I want it and if I want to apply just to the Reading Terminal sign, go and let's get off. Okay and there it is. If I don't like how the levels are working or something, I can go and do that right on top. Why are you down there? Clip it on, darker, darker, darker, too dark, whiter if I want it or I could just go ahead and actually continue to move the texture inside the mask. Here we have the final illustration. I've also gone and played with some of the hue and saturation masking things off, adding in some brayer texture very subtly that found paper, you can kind of go through I mean this is the great thing and turn layers on and off and see what each thing does. If we look closely, there's some nice speckling going on, like the ink didn't quite stick. There you have it. 7. More Creative Classes on Skillshare: