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How to

DESIGN A
CHARACTER

IN PHOTOSHOP & ILLUSTRATOR


A Raster Approach
by Alberto Montt

DESIGN A CHARACTER IN PHOTOSHOP & ILLUSTRATOR


A RASTER APPROACH

Drawing is my way of getting to


know myself.
- Alberto Montt

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DESIGN A CHARACTER IN PHOTOSHOP & ILLUSTRATOR


A RASTER APPROACH

Alberto Montt

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DESIGN A CHARACTER IN PHOTOSHOP & ILLUSTRATOR


A RASTER APPROACH

Table of Contents

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01

DRAWING &
CONVERTING

04

FINISHING
TOUCHES

02

PAINTING
& EDITING

00

Tutorial
INTRODUCTION

03

DETAILS &
TEXTURES

05

About the
ARTIST

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DESIGN A CHARACTER IN PHOTOSHOP & ILLUSTRATOR


A RASTER APPROACH
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CREATE MORE CHARACTERS


In this tutorial I am going to show
you how I use Photoshop and combine it with Illustrator. The main
reason I work with Photoshop is
because the brushes feel more
natural and organic to me, so when
using Photoshop I tend to draw
more like when I sketch or paint
with non-digital tools.
Let me show you what I am talking
about while drawing a very simple
character. Usually I create a character in Photoshop in about a third
of the time it takes me to draw
them in Illustrator. Mixing Photoshop and Illustrator enables me to
take advantage of the most powerful tools of each application, using
the ones that are easier or simply

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dont exist in the other application.


They truly complement one another.
All digital work shown in this
eBook was carried out with the
Wacom pen tablet Intuos Pro, using
Adobe Photoshop and Adobe
Illustrator. Visit the Wacom website to find out how to enhance
your workflow and efficiency as an
artist using modern digital technology: Our pens and tablets open up
new possibilities for speed and precision and give you more freedom
to experiment.

Alberto Montt

Cartoonist & Illustrator


dosisdiarias.com

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DESIGN A CHARACTER IN PHOTOSHOP & ILLUSTRATOR


A RASTER APPROACH
Contents

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DESIGN A CHARACTER IN PHOTOSHOP & ILLUSTRATOR


A RASTER APPROACH
Contents

Drawing & Converting


1. Select a Photoshop Brush:
I usually use one of the standard
pressure-sensitive brushes in
Photoshop like Hard Round Pressure
Size, Spatter or even Chalk.
The brushes in Illustrator dont feel as
natural to me, and I dont need each
stroke as an independent object, which
is what Illustrator does by default.

2. Save the Drawing in Illustrator


to Create a Vector Image:
Once finished, I save the
drawing in Photoshop, open a
new document in Illustrator and
Place the Photoshop drawing.
File > New (Cmd+N mac/Ctrl+N win)
File > Place (Shift+Cmd/
Shift+Cmd) +P

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Watch how to start drawing in Photoshop

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3. Trace Image:
Here is where one of my favorite tools
in Illustrator comes in: the Image
Trace tool. It is available in the option
bar right after you place an image.

4. Expand Trace to Vectors:


(You can also get there by selecting
the placed object after the fact). Click
Expand and the image becomes
a vector image. Its that easy.
This is nice because now all the
brush marks are like little pieces of
paper, all of them individual objects
you can move, resize, paint, delete
or group together as needed.

What influenced Alberto Montt


as a child?

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Watch how to transform the drawing to vectors

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Painting & Editing


1. Add a Temporary Background:
To give the image a temporary
background, draw a rectangle
and change your fill color, in this
case, to grey. Select any aspect
and hit Delete you will see the
program deleting it without having
to make the selection by hand. All
the pieces are now independent.
If the drawing was still in Photoshop,
it could easily be 10 times the file
size. With Illustrator I can also
effectively save all my drawings
as a library of objects and images
that I can use later or change to
suit my needs, yet they still take up
almost no space on my computer.

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Artist Tip: I use Illustrator so that I can easily manipulate or paint the image,
further leveraging the powerful tools specific to Illustrator, to achieve a look I
cannot get any other way, or at least not as simply. I can also take the image
back into Photoshop any time and at any scale I want. Although it seems like
an extra step, going about this process in Illustrator is much easier because it
creates much smaller files both for storage and for processing.

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2. Start Painting:
I like to start painting by filling in the
major areas with color: Pick the areas
with the selection tool (V), then just
tap the color you want from your color
swatches. If you want to adjust the
color, use the sliders on the color panel.
A great trick to keep the same hue
as the original swatch but change
the shading is to hold the Shift
key while dragging a slider.

3. Be Creative with the Knife:


Bringing the image into Illustrator
as a vector image also means that I
can use all of my favorite Illustrator
tools: the knife, for example, which
lets me cut up my drawing in an easy
and fun way, as if I were playing with
scissors and construction paper.

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The Knife tool is hidden under the


Eraser tool in the tool palette. If you
hold down the eraser, you can select
the knife from the fly-out menu. With
the Knife tool selected, you need to
first select an area to cut up by holding
down the Cmd/Ctrl key tap on the area
you want to divide. To cut it up with the
knife just start slicing and dicing. Once
you make your cuts, you can select
or deselect segments without having
to leave the Knife tool by holding:
Cmd/Ctrl which gives you the
Arrow tool,
Cmd+Opt/Ctrl+Alt which is the
Group Select tool, or
Cmd+Shift/Ctrl+Shift to tap on
segments you want removed
from your current selection.
In this case I will use the Knife tool
to create shadow lines and separate
them from the original drawing so
that I can easily darken the shadows,
by holding Shift and dragging any
of the color sliders to the right.

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Artist Tip: You can assign the knife a keyboard shortcut of your own, since it doesnt have
one. To edit keyboard shortcuts, go to the Edit menu and select Keyboard Shortcuts. The
keyboard shortcut to get there is (Cmd+Opt+Shift)+K or (Ctrl+Alt+Shift)+K. An example
would be to assign the Knife tool the keyboard shortcut K. It will prompt you that it is already
assigned to the Live Paint Bucket tool, and that this tool will now no longer have a Keyboard
shortcut. This is fine by me since I use the Knife tool rather than the Paint Bucket anyway.

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Details & Textures


1. Add More Details:
Once you have shaded you can go back
and add elements like freckles or beard
stubble using basic shapes like the
Ellipse tool (L), and if you want to reuse
a shape, hold Cmd+Opt/Ctrl+Alt which
works like a copy to function by clicking
and dragging. This way you can easily
create textures to add to your drawings.

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2. Use Textures in Photoshop:


In Photoshop you can use textures
in many ways. Create a vector copy
of your drawing from Illustrator
by selecting Cmd/Ctrl+C.
Open Photoshop and a new
document, make it big so you
can see how the drawing can be
placed at virtually any size, since
it is coming from a vector file.
Then press Cmd/Ctrl+V to
paste it. It will give you a special
dialog that lets you paste as
pixels, but at any size you like.
You can constrain the placement
to its original aspect by holding
down Shift or Shift+Opt/Alt.

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3. Layer Modes:
Once having placed the drawing
back in Photoshop you can apply
more organic textures using a
wealth of tools you cannot find in
Illustrator most importantly Layer
Modes. In the layer options you can
effectively make the white canvas
of your character transparent by
setting the layer mode to Multiply
at the top of the layers panel.
4. Load Selection:
Because I only brought the characters
head and not the background, I can
select all of the area that is his head
by Cmd/Ctrl and clicking on the
icon for that layer, which I can then
use to make a selection from my
texture and copy it to a new layer.

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5. Apply Brushes:
With the selection still active, select
the texture layer, then hit Cmd/Ctrl+J,
which will copy that selection of the
texture to a new background layer. Now
if you hide the texture layer you can
use the texture only as the background
texture for this characters face.
Select a brush with a texture that
works well with this background to
give it a more organic and natural
feel. The brushes in Photoshop are
much better for acting like natural
materials. The Spatter brushes will
work great on this texture, about 2/3
the way down the default brushes.

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6. Layering & Selection Masking:


I always try to use new layers as I add
elements and paint so I can easily
adjust the opacity of the whole layer to
get the right effect before I apply it.
Click Cmd/Ctrl on the heads
texture layer to automatically
mask anything outside the head
so you dont accidently get paint
where you dont want it.
Once again, you can play with the
layer modes for your shading to
get the hand-painted, natural look.
Again, set it to Multiply and bring
down the opacity, and once you like
what you see, press Cmd/Ctrl+E to
merge it down into the texture layer.

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Watch how to add texture

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Adjustments & Finishing Touches


1. Adjust Elements with Magic Wand:
To adjust each aspect of the character,
like the face, eyes, shirt and hair, jump
between the Magic Wand tool (W)...

2. Hue/Saturation:
...and or the Hue/Saturation Adjustment
dialog (Cmd/Ctrl+U). Do this by:
first selecting the imported
layer, the black and white
face layer in the layers panel;
now use the wand and tap the
area you want to adjust and mask
it off (the face for instance);
select the textured head layer, and
make your adjustment (Cmd/Ctrl+U);
then drag the Hue slider to get the
right base color (-45ish) and bring
the lightness up to around 60, and
if needed play with the saturation.

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3. Rinse & Repeat:


Repeat these steps for the rest of the
characters features:
select the imported layer;
tap the eye ball with the wand;
select the textured head layer and
make adjustments (Cmd/Ctrl+U);
drag the lightness slider all the
way up.

4. Adjust Shirt:
For the shirt select multiple areas by
holding the Shift key while tapping
in the collar, the sleeve and the shirt
body, then select the texture layer
again and slide the hue toward red.

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5. Make the Face Blush:


To give the character a slight blush I
briefly add a layer, grab my Spatter
brush again to increase the size with
the left and right bracket keys ([)+(])
or the touch-ring on the tablet.
Paint it on, then slide down the opacity
of the layer to where you like it. You
can also just tap the Opacity button in
the Brush Option bar and paint in the
opacity you like, but I like having the
control to go back and change it before
I merge it down to the texture layer.

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6. Add Finishing Touches:


For the finishing touch I will use a
smaller version of the brush and
the same method as the blush to
paint lighter strips on the shirt.
Select the shirt with the wand on the
Imported layer, then paint stripes with
a large bright red Spatter brush.

7. Merge Layers:
When you are done with the painting
you can select all the face layers
by pressing Shift and tap on them
with the pen, then press Cmd/
Ctrl+E to merge them down.

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8. Have Fun!
The main idea for me is to use the
most powerful tools of each program
as if they all were their own medium,
whether Photoshop, Illustrator or
paper, and really just to have fun while
illustrating. When I draw digitally, I have
tools that are not available when I am
just drawing on paper. I love them all.

Alberto Montts feelings when


creating something new.

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ABOUT THE ARTIST


Chilean illustrator and cartoonist
Alberto Montt has illustrated more
than 40 childrens books and is
working regularly in advertising
and marketing. His celebrated blog
Dosis Diarias (Daily Dose) was
awarded the Best Blog in Spanish by the German broadcast network Deutsche Welle in 2011. The
cartoons featured have been published in ten volumes across Latin
America and Spain and appear
regularly in newspapers and magazines around the world. Daily Dose
receives over 120,000 unique visits
per day.
Alberto Montt has published several
books on different subjects, including his very first graphic novel:

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Achiote, a collection of autobiographical anecdotes. His illustrations of the epic poem La


Araucana were selected for the
IBBY Honour List (IBBY: International Board on Books for Young
People), receiving numerous literary accolades.
This year, the artist will launch a
limited edition line of sneakers in
collaboration with Puma.
To find out more about his work, visit:

dosisdiarias.com

facebook.com/#
@twitter

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