Creative Inspiration: Illustrating the Everyday | Ojima Abalaka | Skillshare

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Creative Inspiration: Illustrating the Everyday

teacher avatar Ojima Abalaka, Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Project


    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.

      Playing With Color


    • 8.

      Photo & Illustration


    • 9.



    • 10.



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About This Class

There is beauty in the everyday. In this class, you’ll learn how to pay close attention to things around you and let those things inspire you.

Join artist and illustrator Ojima Abalaka, for this fun and accessible creative class that'll help you look at your surroundings in a new way. During the class, you’ll also learn different ways of translating your ideas into illustrations in Photoshop to create images that you can share anywhere. 

All you need for the class is:

  • A pencil or pen
  • A sheet of paper
  • Simple coloring materials

A basic knowledge of photoshop can be helpful, but isn't required. The skills you’ll learn in this video will help you with coming up with ideas for illustrations. You’ll learn an easy way to get inspired. The skills you’ll learn are also helpful if you’re curious about your surroundings and you would like to put this into your work.

This class is for people who are just starting out in illustration and for people who are looking for new ways to create!

Meet Your Teacher

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Ojima Abalaka


Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: My name's [inaudible] , and I'm an artist and illustrator based in Abuja, Nigeria. My client's work so far has been focused on people, their identities and culture. But in my more personal work, I'm inspired by everyday life and through illustration, I like to find moments of rest or peace in everyday activities and scenarios. In this class, I'll be teaching you how to find creative inspiration in everyday activities and I'll be taking you through the process of finding inspiration, turning your inspiration into ideas and bringing those ideas into life. I'll mainly be teaching you how to observe and how to pay attention to things we normally wouldn't focus on. I think this can really be helpful in the creative process of finding inspiration because sometimes they're difficult to do. This class is for people who are looking for new ways to enhance their creative process. It's also for people who are curious about their environment and people who would like to be more mindful about their surroundings. I'm very excited to be teaching this class because I'll be going back to a lot of my process when I first started illustration. It was really simple. I didn't have to go too far for inspiration. I'm really excited to go into a lots of that in this class, and I'm excited for you to also go through that process a lot because I think it can be really fun. Let's get started. 2. The Project: The project for this class is to draw an everyday object. Something around you that you find interesting, or anything that makes you a little bit curious. It could be anything random. It could be someone having a bath in a cup of tea, someone coming out on the toaster, someone being printed from a printer. It could really be anything. I chose this project because it's really simple and you don't need much to accomplish it. They also lots of fun activities involved and it takes you through a number of steps, you and learn different skills at each step. It's great for beginners because you don't need phenomenal drawing abilities or knowledge of any software to be able to complete this project and just being able to use a pencil is great. In my practice, I've found that being able to find inspiration in everyday objects or everyday life and seemingly mundane objects and activities really opens up my creativity because nothing is ever boring, and being able to work this way can be really helpful, especially in the early stages of learning to draw or illustrate because it takes the pressure of trying to find inspiration or getting inspired, I am able to focus on practicing and learning new skills. My main tip for this is to have fun with it and don't take yourself too seriously. The project for this class covers a lot of my own process in making an illustration, and it takes you through the steps I go through as parts of creating an illustration. Our next lesson is going to cover finding inspiration, so get ready to observe, pay more attention, and focus on things. 3. Inspiration: This lesson is about finding inspiration and where we can look to find inspiration. For this we're going to be looking online or just around us in our spaces or work spaces, living spaces, or even going outside if you're filling it with adventurous. For this, you're going to be needing a camera. You don't need any fancy camera equipment for this, just a camera phone is fine. For finding inspiration online, let's look at images on Pinterest, but we can also use any other similar platform for this. Or while doing this, it's important to remember that the intellectual property laws that protect some of these images, and you have to be careful not to copy or produce any derivative work of cyanosis image because that might land you in trouble. I usually go to Pinterest to get an idea of what's possible in terms of composition or just how things look in general. So this is a board I've created. It's called spaces. I have just saved different spaces that I like or I find interesting, and I go here sometimes when I need to get inspiration for backgrounds, for my illustrations, or I just need help with composing an image. So for example, if I gets inspired by one of these images, let's say the picture of these cuts against the sky, I wouldn't necessarily draw this image with cats. I'd probably take this composition and draw maybe human being against this guy in the same style or in seeing composition. So from the same angle, for example. I'm also a fan of minimalists photography. So I look at minimal pictures for composition examples mainly, also foreshadows and lines on how you can combine these elements in the space and also for how to use negative space. So the other way I like to go about looking for inspiration is to look around my workspace or my house, or even go outside sometimes. I usually have a camera with me while I'm doing this to take images. Why I do this, I'm not necessarily growing with an idea in mind, I'm just taking random pictures of things I find, things I find interesting. Then I go back once I'm done and look at these images, and then I try to see what I can make out of them. When doing this, it's really important not to shake your camera so much, so you can get a clear enough image, some sketch out of. But other than that, it's just half phone going around, take a walk, have a camera, and just take images of anything and everything. Because why you're going through these images, you might find something that peaks your interest and you might have an idea you never thought of before. For this lesson, I'd like you to remember that inspiration is everywhere you look and you just have to go around, have fun, take pictures and curious about things around you. Making your own reference images is also fine and will help you avoid any copyrights for intellectual property violations, go ultimately is to get engaged with your environment and so have fun with it. Or getting inspired is only the first step and you still have to come up with ideas as far illustration. This is what we're going to do in our non-exclusive. 4. Ideas: Next four lessons we'll cover the process of actually making your illustration, they're going to be three methods, and you can decide to choose whichever method you feel comfortable using, or you can go through all the steps. For example, if you're not comfortable using Photoshop, or you don't know how to use Photoshop, you can decide to stop at making a sketch, and adding color, whichever way you choose. However, even if you don't know how to use Photoshop, I encourage you to go through all the steps, because I'll be showing you how to use basic tools on Photoshop to complete your illustration. Before we go forward, I'd like you to think broadly about how you want to interpret your images. For example, if you've taken a picture of a cup on a desk, I'd like you to think about the cup in another scenario, say in the forest for example. Have fun with it, and lets get ready to transform our ideas. 5. Sketching: Now we are going to make a is simple sketch, from one of our reference images or from one of the images that we've taken, and we're also going to be adding some color, you can decide to change the colors if you decide to digitize your sketch, or you can leave it as it is if you're happy with colors that you've chosen. You can also draw an image from your head, there really no rules with this. So let's get started, but before we do, you're going to need some drawing materials. I'm using a pencil, but you can also use a pen if you like, and your going to need some coloring materials, if you're going to color. If you plan to scan your sketch, remember to make lines as detailed as possible, so they can come up once you're scanning. So I have gone through some of the pictures I took earlier, and I have decided to use this picture of a vase in my studio as my reference picture. Something I like to do when I'm using a picture to transform it, is to add a character to someone image. So I'm going to be doing that in my sketch, and I'm also going to be adding some color with some pencil colors, and also with some markers. Before you add colors, if you plan on scanning your sketch, I will advise you to take a picture of it all and just scan it before you add colors, just in case you want the version of the sketch without any colors. So I'm going to go ahead and start's drawing and we'll come back once I start adding the colors to talk more about it. When you're sketching, don't worry to much about your lines or how good the sketches, just forget about all that. But try to make sure, especially if you want to scan that your lines are as thick as possible, so it comes up, and also try to make sure that your paper is as clean as possible, in case you'd like to use the sketch. So I'm done with the sketch of my vase with the dried leaves, and I'm trying to decide where to puts my character somewhere around the image. I might decide to do it in the center or behind leaves, or I might to add many characters and just have them around. So When you're doing this, just think about, what you're trying to see. If you are trying to see anything and think about, the positioning of things and where you'd like your extra thing, if you're doing something extra, where you'd like that be. So the character I'm adding in this image has in a lot of my illustrations. So it has become a story, she is just everywhere, and now it's like, oh where she is going to be next, that sort of thing. So you might think about that once you're doing this, and see how we can make it a recurring theme in your work. I'm doing my sketch and I've also added my characters. I have decided to add one in front and one behind. I'm going to take a picture of this before I go on to add some color. I have decided to only use some brown to add some color to their faces. I'm going to leave everything else as it is, because I'm going to add those colors on Photoshop. So the reason I'm deciding to use pencil colors for just their faces is because I would like some texture on their faces when I scan and do the rest on Photoshop. So I'm just going to take it quick, picture. This is one of the ways you can transform your sketch to a digital image, by taking a picture and uploading it for sending it to your computer before you add some color. Just try to avoid shadows if you can make shadows from your phone. So I'm done with my sketch, and I've gone to add a few more details. But if you're happy with we sketch looks, and you'd like to end your project at this stage, you can do so. But if you'd like to digitize your sketch, in the following lessons I'll be showing you how to do that, as well as how to add some color on Photoshop. 6. Digitizing: We're now going to start the process of transforming your sketch into a digital illustration. Now, there are two ways you can do this, either by taking the picture of your sketch, or by scanning. Depending on which method you choose, you're either going to need a camera phone or a scanner, and I'll be showing you how you can do this. I recommend using your phone or a camera when you just needs to take your work into Photoshop, and you don't plan on retaining any original details from the sketch. This is because when you use your phone or a camera, there's a tendency to have shadows and lines depending on your lighting situation. I don't necessarily want this. So if you'd just like to have this as an outline or as a guide, to use when you're taking your sketch into Photoshop, or any other beautiful software, you can use your phone to just take picture and that's fine. But if you'd like to retain a lot more detail, I'll advise to scan your sketch, because that way you have your lines and you can achieve more with your sketch. So this is a scanned version of my sketch in color, which I've opened on Photoshop. If you zoom in, you can see that we have a lot more detail, and you can really see the lines, and the pencil marks from sketch. There are also some stream marks on the page, where we can erase these marks using the Eraser tool on Photoshop, so that won't be a problem. Right now, and this is open as the background image, but before we start any work on this, we want to make this its own layer, and have a separate background. So to do this, we just double click on the background layer and save it as Layer 0, or actually, let's save it as Sketch. We create a new layer by clicking on this icon, and we save this as background. But you want to move this beneath the sketch, so that the sketch is on top of it. Let's add some color to the background, so we can't see what marks there are on the page. We can erase those. So before you see the sketch on the colored background, you'd have to change the mode from normal to multiply. This way, it's adapt to the color of what is beneath it. If you click on "Multiply", you see that this adapts to the color underneath, and you can go ahead to erase any marks there are on the page, before you start coloring. Like this. So scanning isn't necessary, but it's really helpful if you'd like to combine elements of traditional and digital illustration, because you can still maintain the quality of the pencil marks, and your details from using a pencil, or color pencils, or even paints, and then you can add some digital elements. The next lesson, we're going to be covering color, and how you can add color to our sketch, once we've cleaned this up. So if you have marks on your sketch, you can go ahead and clean them up if you don't want them there. We'll be adding some color in the next lesson. 7. Playing With Color: I'm done cleaning up my sketch and removing any stray pencil marks that I don't want, and I'm happy with how it looks. It's time to select the colors we're going to use, or I'm going to use, because you're free to select whatever colors you like. For colors, I have a library of colors that I keep going back to. I tend to use a lot of browns, yellows, greens, and a lot of warm colors in my work because I like the feel and look of warm colors. But you are free to use whatever color you like depending on the mood you're going for. Sometimes for client's work, I might not use my own colors because the work might require other colors. If I need to find inspiration for colors, I tend to look online at pictures I have and especially on Pinterest where I've saved a bunch of colors. For this, I think I'm going to use a brown for the vase. I'm going to create a new layer and call it colors, where I'm going to save all the colors that I'm going to use on this illustration and just have them ready. For this I'm am using only the brush tool and do reset all because I'm trying to keep it as simple as possible. My brown, and I think I'm going to use a green for the leaves and also maybe slightly darker brown for the skin colors and a black for the hair. I'm just going to be coloring beneath the sketch layer. So I'm going to create a new layer beneath the sketch. For this, you'd want to create a new layer for each item that you're going to be coloring so that in case you need to change anything on any layer, it would be easy to do that. Because if you have everything on one layer, it might be difficult to go back and try to change things if you make a mistake. For this, I have 1, 2, 3, 4, maybe three or four elements that I'm going to be coloring. So I'm going to end up having about three or four layers in my work as I go along. Layer one will be vase, which will be brown. I prefer to create layers as I get to each item because you might get confused if you just create all layers and you might forget to switch to each one. So once I'm done working on the vase, I'll go on to the leaves and then I'll go on to the skin. Let's begin. You'd want to zoom in so you can get as much space as possible to work with. You can always erase but it's easier to just keep things within the line. I'm done coloring my vase and I'm go on to color the other elements. It's pretty much the same process. Just stay within the lines and add in your colors. Think of it as a coloring book and it could be fun. Don't get too caught up in choosing perfect colors. Just get a feel of what feels right and just go with the flow. In the next lesson we're going to be looking at creating a photo illustration, but I'm going to go on to finish this and I'll be sharing my work with you at a later stage and I can't wait to see what you make as well. Let's learn how to make a photo illustration. 8. Photo & Illustration: To make this Photo Illustration, we're going to be taking some of the skills and concepts that we've learned so far and applying them any differently. We're going to be taking a photo and applying some illustrated elements to it. This can be helpful if you're just starting out and maybe you're not so good at drawing, but you still like to add attributes details to your work. The image I'm using is one of the pictures I have taken and I advice use one of your own pictures. Avoid any intellectual property evaluations. The first thing we're going to do is to create a new layer and we're going to call this a sketch layer. The sketch is just so you have a guide for where you want your colors to be. For this, to transform my image, I'm going to be adding a character where you can choose to transform your image in whatever way you choose. You can add some more natural elements to it or you can add anything at all. For my character, I'm going to put her just in front of the clouds here. The sketch doesn't have to be too detailed, just a simple outline for where you want things to be. Again, don't take yourself too seriously while you're doing this. It's really not that steep. Now, I have my sketch and I have an idea where I want everything to be. We're just going to use the steps we use for coloring our images to add some color to this. It's basically the same process. You create a new layer for whatever part or coloring and it's specified for this beneath the sketch. You have lines as a guide and you just try to color within the lines. Where if you make a mistake you can always use the eraser to go back and correct your mistake. This layers for my skin, and you can make this sketch lighter by reducing the opacity, so you can see clearly what's you're coloring. I'm done with my character and hidden my sketch layer. Well, it's still here, but since we're done we can get rid of that, just getting something neat. Before we go onto the next lesson, I just wanted to say that the more space you have in your picture, the easier it will be to transform. When you're taking your picture, try to create a lot of space around the area you'd like to focus on. You can be as detailed as possible in your illustrations or you can use very simple shapes and lines to transform your picture. There are no rules and you just have to do whatever you feel comfortable doing. In our next lesson I'm going to be showing you how to export your illustration so far. 9. Exporting: This is my finished illustration. I've added a few more details and changed some colors, but everything else is the same. If you're happy with your illustration or your sketch or also your photo illustration, I'll be showing you how you can export and save your image. If you're working on Photoshop, you wants to go to file, and go down to export and then you go to Export as. It'll give you options and different formats. I usually save as JPG and Export all. Then you type in whatever name you want to save it as and you choose where you want to save it and you export, and that is it. Your creation should be saved and you can share on whatever platform you feel like sharing. You can send to your friends, or you can share on Instagram and feel free to tag me on your work. 10. Conclusion: You made it to the end of this class, and we've covered everything from finding inspiration in everyday life and coming up with ideas, to translating those ideas into illustrations, either through sketching, coloring, or photoshop, or through photo illustration. If there's one thing I hope you take away from this class is that, coming up with ideas or finding inspiration doesn't have to be difficult. It's in everyday scenarios and in things around you, and you just have to pay more attention, and look. Feel free to upload your projects on the projects and resources tab, and also feel free to leave any questions, or comments, and I'll be happy to help. Thanks for taking this class, and I hope seeing you in another one. Bye.