Three Easy Children’s Book Digital Illustration Tips
Creating children’s book digital illustrations can be daunting. I started digital illustrating when Adobe Photoshop was relatively new and a perfect creative device for me as an entry-level user. The technology advanced beyond my wildest expectations, with dozens of ways to achieve magical effects. While newer versions of Photoshop include ever-advanced features, I tend to use 3 key tools to build every children’s book digital illustration composite, as in the image below: Levels Adjustments, Blending Modes, and Brushes. Here are several tips for using these tools.
1. Levels Adjustments. Levels Adjustment is a Photoshop tool that affects brightness, contrast, and tonal range by specifying complete black, complete white, and midtones in a histogram.
- Notice how the levels-adjusted image on the right is darker where areas of the original image are already dark.
- Notice also the Levels Adjustment histogram. Simply by sliding the midtones level (red arrow) to the right, you can saturate the dark areas. Conversely, slide midtones left to lighten areas.
2. Blending Modes. Photoshop’s blending modes affect image color in twenty-nine different ways. The illustration below is exactly the same as the first one above, except for the obvious green coloration. This results from adding a Color Lookup (LUT) adjustment layer above the original illustration and changing the blending mode on the Layers Panel to soft light.
3. Brushes. The Photoshop Brush tool works like a traditional drawing tool by applying color using strokes. I created the foggy atmosphere, the hazy car headlights, and the glowing dandelions with custom brushes from Story Art Education.
I used the Sun Flare and Smoke Cloud brushes from this brush collection to add light, shadows, texture and depth to the illustration. The Dandelion Brush has a glowing shape that works well in the shadowy foreground. I also used the Hair Brush and Hair Masker to create more fur layers on the lambs and kangaroo.
I’m always happy to answer your questions about children’s book digital illustration. Leave a comment or contact me at: joann@StoryQuestBooks.com.