Patrick Benjamin – Vector Genius Photoshop Tutorial – June 2012
This was an environment concept illustration I did to help me piece together some of the locales in a comic book project I’m working on. This particular thing is a gratuitously-armed water-bound fortress for coastal defense.
I first drew out the whole thing in pencil, working out my shapes from my imagination and a collection of reference of various stuff from WW1 and WW2 – concrete bunkers, field fortifications, flakturms, etc. This took me a couple hours of diddling around until I had the kind of look I was going for – big and menacing. Then I went over the whole thing with a ballpoint pen to get my lines in nice and tight.
With this sort of illustration, I know it’s the drawing that’s going to be doing most of the heavy lifting, so I have to make sure I get that right before I move on to anything else.
After getting it scanned in, I started blocking in the large sections of color with the pen tool in photoshop. My initial colors are always super garish so I can keep them separated more easily.
After I get all that done, I start fiddling. I like starting my colors this way, because I can quickly change whole areas just by double-clicking the layer and fooling with the color picker until I find a basic scheme that works.
Then comes the ‘stuff’ – I paint in some sky smudginess, aerial debris, etc, and throw some texture on top of the fortress itself to give it more ‘grit’.
After that, I start fiddling with adjustment layers to non-destructively edit the whole thing until I get a tighter color scheme going on. At this point, it’s starting to look kind of fearsome!
Next is all of the optical effects, both in front…
…and behind. The glow and lens flare bits are stuff I hand-paint in there.
A few more final touches in the form of a color balance adjustment layer and some additional painted bits, and we are set!
This should be appearing somewhere inside of my comic book project when I wrap it all up in a year or so
Patrick Benjamin is a professional illustration enthusiast who persists on a diet of charcoal and sunlight. www.tetchist.com