As promised, I’ll go more into detail as to how I make these graphics. But before I do that, I have a show recommendation for all y’all designers (no, it’s not Riverdale). This morning, my adviser Sara told me about the show “Abstract: The Art of Design.” Of course as soon as I got home I watched it, and WOW. Let me just say, I was super, super inspired after the first episode.
The episode followed artist Christoph Niemann who creates covers for The New Yorker. The show captured his personality very nicely but the composition was also very cute, as a lot of the show was interrupted with abstractions and graphic design elements. I also loved how the show included dialogue between Niemann and the director; it was a funny touch that captured his personality effectively rather than resorting to traditional methods such as filming the subject’s day-to-day activities (which Niemann was greatly opposed to).
Anyways, after that episode, I came out a bit more inspired which is always good. I’ve been really into Marina & The Diamonds as of late so I figured why not make a graphic of her. So, how do I make these graphics, you ask? It’s actually not too hard once you get the hang of it! I first started by saving a lot of Refinery29 graphics and recreating those to practice, and once I got the style down, I started doing my own.
This is the original photo I used:
I use Adobe Draw to make the general graphic and Adobe Sketch to add extra texture and effects. Here’s a step by step tutorial:
- Use the color snatcher on Adobe Draw to find the person’s skin tone.
- Make an outline of their body with that color and fill it in. Then hide that layer.
- Start with the eyebrows and outline them in the appropriate color. It’s okay if they outlines are a bit jagged and rough.
- Next, move onto the eyes. I do the eyeliner first, then the lower lid. I then draw in vague shapes for the pupil and iris and add the white of the eyes.
- Lastly, I add a bit of white on the pupil and eyelashes if appropriate. Then I add a line that’s a bit lighter to show a crease in the eyelid.
- Next, I do the lips. This is pretty simple- just outline the mouth shape and fill it in!
- Here comes the fun part. I create a new layer which I will use for shadows. I use the color snatcher to get the skin tone again, and then make the color a bit darker/lighter from that base point to use for shadow and highlight.
- I put the photo I’m referencing in inverted colors so it’s really easy to see where the shadow and highlight is. Then- you guessed it- I mimic those shapes and just color them in.
- Lastly, I add the hair and clean up any stray marks.
Sometimes I add a lot of shadows and sometimes just a few- it’s really up to you and what you’re feeling! For this piece, once I finished up the basics in Adobe Draw, I saved it and switched over to Adobe Sketch. I messed around with all the brushes until I found one that gave me the texture I liked, and then I just kind of blended colors and sketched really loosely. It was a lot more fun than trying to perfect the hair and I just cleaned up the outline a bit once I was done. Finally, I added some pattern in the background to make the piece a bit dynamic.
I’ve become obsessed with Riverdale as of late, so check out this playlist. One of my favorite songs is Marina & The Diamonds’ “Teen Idle.”