Design a Colorful Illustration

Design a Colorful Illustration

In this tutorial we will be learning how to design a colorful illustration. This will be created by using Ellipse Tool, Pen Tool, Brushes and Layer Masks. Let’s get started!

Start working by creating a new file (File>New) of 1920×1200 px and 72 dpi. Using the Paint Bucket Tool (G), fill the new background layer with black color.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Find a stock photo with a model represented on it, I used this photo from deviantart. I would like to thank the author of this photo:

Design a Colorful Illustration

Cut out very accurately the girl’s head and her neck using your favorite tools like Pen Tool (P), Magic Wand Tool (W), Magnetic Lasso (L) or even a simple Filter>Extract. Insert them on a new layer. The head’s size may be changed with Free Transform (Ctrl+T) option.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Now apply the Ellipse Tool (U) to represent a sphere which layer must be placed lower than the girl’s layer in Layers panel.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layer Style by clicking on this layer on the Layers’ panel.
Add Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set the Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make copies of the last created layer, changing their sizes with Free Transform (Ctrl+T). Place the copies the same way demonstrated below. This way we’ll represent a lot of ellipses of different sizes. The copies’ layers should be placed lower than the girl’s layer in Layers panel.
Change Layer Style > Gradient Overlay for first copy.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

For next copy change size using Free Transform (Ctrl+T)

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layer Style by clicking on this layer on the Layers’ panel.
Add Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make another copy and change the size

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% and add a Layer Style > Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make and place another ellipse as shown:

Design a Colorful Illustration

Change Fill to 0%, go to Layer Style > Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Add Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make another ellipse

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% and select from Layer Style > Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Place another ellipse as shown:

Design a Colorful Illustration

Change Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layer Style by clicking on this layer on the Layers’ panel.
Add Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set the Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make and place another ellipse as shown:

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layer Style by clicking on this layer on the Layers’ panel.
Add Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make copies of the earlier made blue circle and apply Free Transform option to make the copies smaller, placing them the same way demonstrated below:

Design a Colorful Illustration

Make another ellipse

Design a Colorful Illustration

Change Fill to 0% and go to Layer Style > Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Add Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make another copy and change the size

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0%, add Layer Style > Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make another ellipse

Design a Colorful Illustration

Change Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layers Style> Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Add Layers Style > Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Another one

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layer Style by clicking on this layer on the Layers’ panel.
Add Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make another ellipse

Design a Colorful Illustration

Change Fill to 0% and go to Layer Style > Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Add Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

And the last one ellipse

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layer Style by clicking on this layer on the Layers’ panel.
Add Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

On the circles’ edges mentioned with the arrows we’ll represent half-transparent transitions. In this case we’ll click on the necessary layer on the bottom part of the layers’ panel on Add a Mask icon and after that choose a brush of black color (Opacity 20%) to clean out the chosen circle.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Let’s represent the highlights on the circles. Create a new layer and choose a brush of white color (Opacity 30%).

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Blend mode to Overlay for the layer with the highlights:

Design a Colorful Illustration

On the next new layer apply the same brush, but with a smaller diameter to give more shining effect to certain highlights.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Create a new layer again and use here the brush to represent a lot of colored spots around the circles. Take a sample of color out of the circles, using the Eyedropper Tool (I).

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 70% for this layer

Design a Colorful Illustration

Take the Pen Tool (P) to represent a tattoo on the girl’s cheek. The tattoo’s color is black.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Put together the shape’s layers composing the tattoo into a rasterized layer (press Ctrl button to select out these layers in Layers panel and then press CTRL+E to Merge Down). Make a click on the bottom part of the layers’ panel on Add a Mask icon and choose a brush of black color (Opacity 20%) to erase the tattoo’s edges.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Try to represent several bubbles under the girl’s neck, choosing in this case the Ellipse Tool (U).

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layer Style > Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration

Add Stroke

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make several copies of the last made layer and choose Free Transform option to change the copies’ sizes, placing them the same way demonstrated below.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Try to make a shape on the right side of the girl’s head, applying the Pen Tool (P) and using the Convert Point Tool you can adjust path segments as shown.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Go to Layer Style > Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Click on the same layer on the bottom part of the layers’ panel on Add a Mask icon and use here a brush of black color to clean out that shape’s zone, crossing the girl’s hair.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Let’s attach other shapes too to the main element, applying the same tools – the Pen Tool (P) and the Convert Point Tool.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layer Style by clicking on this layer on the Layers’ panel.
Add Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Represent another shape using Pen Tool (P)

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% and go to Layer Style > Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Make another shape

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% for this layer and go to Layer Style by clicking on this layer on the Layers’ panel.
Add Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Combine in a group all the layers composing the ornament on the right side of the girl’s head (press Ctrl button to select the corresponding layers and then hold on the left mouse’s button while dragging the selected layers on Create a new group icon on the bottom part of the Layers panel). Make a copy of the new group and apply Free Transform option to turn over the copy, placing it on the left side of the girl’s head.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Fill the ornament with new elements. In this case we’ll apply the already known instruments – the Pen Tool (P) and the Convert Point Tool. Each element should have the Fill on 0%. Place the layers of the new elements lower than the earlier made ornament on the Layers panel.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% and go to Layer Style > Stroke

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Apply Layer Style > Stroke for all the layers of the transparent ornament’s shapes

Design a Colorful Illustration

Combine in a group all the layers composing the transparent elements of the ornament (press Ctrl button to select the necessary layers and hold on the left mouse’s button while dragging the selected layers on Create a new group icon from bottom part of the Layers panel). Make a copy of the new group and choose Free Transform option to turn over the copy, placing it on the left side of the girl’s head.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Create a new layer which must be processed with the brush of black color (Opacity 15%) to represent a shadow under the ornament. Place this layer under the ornament’s layers in Layers panel.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Now we’ll create a brush. In this case we need to create a separate file (File>New) of 19×23px/72 dpi with white background. Create a new layer and take the Pen Tool (P) to draw a path as shown:

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 0% for this layer and select Layer Style > Gradient Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

Gradient Editor settings:

Design a Colorful Illustration

Delete the white background layer

Design a Colorful Illustration

From the Edit menu, choose Define Brush Preset. Give a name for this brush in the Brush Name dialog and click OK. Select the Brush Tool (B) and press F5 to open Brush Presets panel, set the next settings for created earlier brush:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Create a new layer again and paint with earlier created brush of white color the represented ornament. The brush’s layers must be situated lower than the earlier made layer containing the ornament in Layers panel.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Click on the same layer on the bottom part of the layers’ panel on Add a Mask icon and select the brush of black color (Opacity 20%) to clean out certain zones on the girl’s head and on the ornament.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Set Fill to 29% for this layer and change Blend mode to Overlay

Design a Colorful Illustration

On the next layer we’ll apply the same brush of white color.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Select again Add a Mask option on the same layer and choose the brush of black color (Opacity 20%) to clean out the demonstrated areas on the girl’s head and on the ornament. Set Fill to 65% for this layer

Design a Colorful Illustration

Create a new layer and continue using the earlier created brush to complete the ornament on the left side of the girl’s head.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Set for this layer Blend Mode to Soft Light:

Design a Colorful Illustration

Make a copy of the last made layer and choose Free Transform option to turn around the copy, placing it on the right side of the girl’s head.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Find a picture of a flower, remove the background using your favorite tools like Pen Tool (P), Magic Wand Tool (W), Magnetic Lasso (L) or even a simple Filter>Extract.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Click on the bottom part of the layers’ panel on the next icon: Create new fill or adjustment layer>Curves to make some color corrections

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Press Alt button and click between the Curves adjustment layer and the flower’s layer (on the layers’ panel) to apply this color corrections just for the flower.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Put together the flower’s layer and the effect’s layer into a rasterized layer. In this case there is indicated to select firstly both layers (pressing Ctrl button) and then press CTRL+E to Merge Down. Insert the flower on a new layer on our composition.

Design a Colorful Illustration

Go to Layer Style > Drop Shadow

Design a Colorful Illustration

Add Inner Glow

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Create a new layer above the flower’s layer and select out both layers (Press Ctrl button) and then press CTRL+E to Merge Down. Make 15 copies of the rasterized layer and select Free Transform option to change the sizes of the copies, placing them as it is shown on the picture.

Design a Colorful Illustration

On the next new layer we’ll choose a brush of white color to represent many small dots among the ornament on the girl’s right side.

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Click on the bottom part of the layers’ panel on the next icon: Create new fill or adjustment layer>Levels to make some color corrections:

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Click on the bottom part of the layers’ panel on Create new fill or adjustment layer>Curves

Design a Colorful Illustration
Design a Colorful Illustration

Finished!
View full size here.