This is just one of many ways I create designs, and a technique you can use to turn black and white drawings into digital line art — which you can then use any way you choose.
- I usually start out with some ideas in my sketchbook, and sometimes make a short list of designs I would like to try. I often look online for inspiration and have a few things in mind before I get started.
- Once I have a design I like, I re-draw it lightly on a clean page (8.5″ x 11″) in pencil.
- I go over the pencil drawing with a black Sharpie or another fine black ink pen, to get something like this:
- I scan each design separately into Photoshop.
- I clean up the image as much as possible using tools such as desaturate, Brightness/Contrast, Curves, and erase to clean up any little black dots or dust bits that are showing. I use colour selection tool to select the black line only, then create a new layer and fill in with black. Once I am finished with this step, I save the file as a .PSD.
- Next I open the .PSD file in Illustrator, and use the Live Trace or Image Trace tool on the black lines to turn them into a nice smooth vector image. This is a great tutorial on using Live Trace in Illustrator that I often follow.
- The result of this process is that you get much smoother lines than if you don’t use Image Trace in Illustrator. This is important if you are having the designs printed, especially in large sizes.
- Save the image as a .PNG (using Save for Web) and make sure it’s a large size (at least 6000 x 6000 pixels). I believe you can also just save it as an Illustrator file and open it up in Photoshop.
- Open up the .PNG image in Photoshop and fill or colour it in however you desire. I like to use layers, fill with gradients and use layer settings (ex. Screen) or just paint on another layer using a drawing tablet. There is basically an endless variety of ways you can use your line art.
- Save your finished design as the correct file type and size(s) for the POD site you are creating for. I always save a .PSD file as well (with all my layers in tact) so I can open it again later and use the same design multiple times.
Here are some examples of work that I have used this technique for:
And there you have it! Hopefully you now have a little bit of insight into how I create my designs for sale, and maybe even learned a new technique to try out for yourself.
Feel free to leave any questions or comments about this process in the comments section below.
Have a great week everyone!