Monday, September 18, 2017

Repeating Patterns in Photoshop (Part 3 - Incorporating Patterns into Illustrations)

This is the final part of my pattern tutorial.  In this tutorial I'm going to show you how I incorporate patterns in my illustrations.

In Part 1 I talked about how to create  seamlessly repeating pattern in Photoshop.  In Part 2, I shared my techniques for coloring and layering those patterns and in this last part I'm going to show a few more tricks.

Up until this point we have have made patterns that are flat.  And sometimes that's all we need.  Maybe we just need an interesting background for a spot illustration.


But what if we want to add a pattern to an object in an illustration like a wall?

For instance, let's add some fish wallpaper to this scene.


Here is the pattern document that I used to define the new pattern (see Part 1 of this tutorial for details how to do this)


If I create a new layer and fill it with the pattern I created I get something like this.


Not quite what we needed.  First of all the fish are way to big.  We can scale them down by going Edit -- > Fill and checking the Script check box and selecting Brick Fill.  



That will bring us to the Brick Fill window where we can enter a new Pattern Scale setting.  Let's make it much smaller - 25% of the original size.  Make sure the Offset is set to 0.





Ok the pattern size is better, but the fish are still floating in midair.  We need the fish to follow the perspective of the wall.  For that, we can use the transform tool.

Make the fish pattern layer the current layer.  Click Select -- All then Edit -- Free Transform.

Now hold down the Command key on a Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows and drag one of the corners of the pattern.  You can make squish and stretch the pattern until it fits on the wall like so:


OK almost there.  Now create a layer mask.  With the layer mask selected use the brush tool to color the sections of the the pattern we don't want to see in black.  We can also add some texture to the pattern by added some textured brush strokes to the layer mask.



I further softened the pattern by setting the layer blend mode to Overlay.  And this gives us a final product like this:


Adding patterns to clothing is tougher.  There are lots of different angles and wrinkles and creases.  Typically dropping in a pattern can look very mechanical and can make an otherwise painterly illustration look very digitally.  In some cases you can get by using the Free Transform or the Warp tool.  But I feel that drawing the pattern by hand is probably the best way to handle patterns on textiles.

I hope this helped you get started added patterns to your illustrations.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Repeating Patterns in Photoshop (Part 2 - Color)



In Part 1 of this post I showed how I created this book pattern.  Now in Part 2 I will share a few ways to use patterns in your illustrations and some interesting ways to add color and textures.



The document we created in Part 1 had a repeating pattern.  The document has 3 layers, Background, Layer 1 and Layer 1 copy. 


Making sure we have all three layers visible, click Select -- All then Edit --  Define Pattern...  

Now let's use the pattern we just defined in a new document.  Create a new document larger than your pattern document and add some colors to the Background layer using the brush tool.



Then let's create a new layer above this colored background layer and fill it with the pattern (click Select -- All then click Edit -- Fill and select Pattern.    The document will look something like this:


No big surprise, the pattern completely blocks out the colors on the background layer.  But if we go back to the pattern file and hide the background layer and define a new pattern.  This time the pattern will have transparent areas.



And if I use this new pattern to fill the layer above the color layer.  I get something like this...


Now this is a little more useful because I can easily adjust the background color by manipulating the layer underneath.

I can also manipulate the pattern layer.  

By locking the transparency of the pattern layer, I can drop new colors into the pattern using the brush tool.





I can also change the blend mode of the pattern layer to get different effects.  For instance setting the blend mode to Overlay.


Here I locked the transparency of the pattern layer, filled it with white and lowered the opacity. 


Changing the opacity of the layer is one way to control the strength of the pattern. Using a layer mask is another way.  By using a layer mask we can make some areas fade more and also add some interesting texture.  For example, make the pattern layer the current layer and click on Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the layer window.


Now make sure the layer mask is selected. Set the current color to black and use the brush tool. I prefer using a brush with a lot of texture.  Brush in some strokes and see your pattern recede.  Play with different brushes and different settings. Change the color to white and the pattern will reappear.



By using combinations of these techniques you can add all sorts of texture and pattern to your illustrations. 

In Part 3 we will talk about how to incorporate patterns into actual illustrations by giving them a little perspective. 


Friday, September 01, 2017

Repeating Patterns in Photoshop (Part 1 Creating a Repeating Pattern)



I love making patterns.  And I love using them to add texture and interest to my illustrations.  Quite a while ago, I posted how to create really quick repeating patterns in Photoshop and also how to create a quick and easy half-drop repeat in Photoshop.

Today's tutorial is a variation on the same theme.  I'll show how I create patterns and how I use them in my illustrations.  If you are looking for a simpler tutorial, go back and visit the other two tutorials mentioned above.

For this tutorial I'm using Photoshop CC 2017 but this technique will work with older versions of Photoshop (at least as far back as CS6 and probably even earlier)

I created the pattern above for a backdrop for book themed illustration.  Let me walk you through the process and then you can make patterns of your own.  I'm warning you though, once you start it's hard to stop!

1. Create a new document the size you want your repeat to be.  For me, I made my document  400 x 400 pixels at 300 dpi.  When printed, my pattern will repeat approximately every 1.3 inches. You can make your pattern document any size as long as the width and height are an even number of pixels.

2. Create a new layer (the default name will be Layer 1) and, using the brush tool, draw something in the middle of this new layer.  Don't draw to the edges of the document. Make sure there is some white space between your drawing and the edge of the document.  You can use colors but I like to stick with black lines (you will see why in Part 2)


3. So now you should have a totally white background layer and a black line drawing on an layer above it, called Layer 1. Create a duplicate of Layer 1 (In the Layers window open the options and select duplicate layer)


4. Now you should have 3 layers in your file, Background, Layer 1 and Layer 1 copy.  Hide Layer 1 for now (click on the eyeball next to Layer 1  to hide it) It will be easier to see what is happening in the next step if you are only looking at Background and Layer 1 copy.

5. Make sure Layer 1 copy is the active layer. In the top menu click on Filter -- Other -- Offest... Using the offset filter is my trick for making patterns repeat seamlessl

Here is what the Offset dialog box looks like...


Set the Horizontal Offset to one half of the total width of your image.   My image was 400 pixels wide so I set it to +200.  And set the Vertical offset to one half the total height.  Again my image was 400 tall so I set it to +200.   (Remember when I said to make your document height and width and even number of pixels?  This is why.)

Also make sure you check "Wrap Around" and then click OK.

By doing this, we effectively moved the book image to the corners of the document and it will repeat perfectly. Neat huh?



5. Now reveal Layer 1 again (click on the square next to the layer name to make the eyeball reappear.)  Now I could leave it this way and I would have a seamless repeating pattern.


All I have to do is go the top menu and click Select -- All and then Edit -- Define Pattern...  Name it something meaningful and TA DA! I created a repeating pattern.

To test it, I created a new test document that is between 2 and 3 times larger than the original pattern document.  I made mine 900 x 900 pixels because, as you recall, my pattern document is 400 x 400 pixels.  The test document has to be larger than the pattern so you can see if it's repeating properly.

In the new test document, I clicked Select -- All and then Edit -- Fill.  In the Fill dialog box I selected Contents to be Pattern and clicked the drop down in Custom Patterns to find my new pattern and hit OK.  



This is what the pattern looks like: 


This works but I don't like how the books are touching.  To fix this, I went back to the original pattern document and altered Layer 1.  I rotated the book image on Layer 1 and moved it down slightly so it fit the space better.  Just as long as I don't touch the edges of the document, the pattern will still repeat seamlessly.




In fact, you could get even more creative.  You don't have to keep Layer 1 and Layer 1 copy the same image.  You could get rid of the book on Layer 1 and drawing something completely different.  Just make sure your drawing doesn't touch the edges of the document and you are good to go.



Have fun with it!  Next week in part 2, I'll share how I add color to patterns and in Part 3 I'll show you how I incorporate the patterns I create into my illustrations.







Thursday, August 31, 2017

Most People Illustration Details

Evening Spread - Most People Michael Leannah

For the book Most People by Michael Leannah, I got to create a neighborhood full of characters. Many of them keep popping up throughout the book.  When I was a kid I loved finding little details in illustrations.  So on the last spread we get to peak in the windows and see how the people in the neighborhood enjoy their evenings - coincidentally they are things I enjoy doing - one of the perks of being the illustrator!



This lady likes to knit socks (so do I.)


I imagine this guy dresses like a tough guy, but he likes reading sappy romance novels and sipping tea when he's alone.  He also likes lacy pillows. :)


This guy is video chatting with his relatives who live far away.


Of course I had to add someone reading a story.



Enjoying popcorn and a movie together.




Sharing a meal with family and friends.


Blue Mohawk guy has a soft spot for his cats.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Most People featured in NY Times Book Review



I was so excited this past weekend, I even told the guy behind me at the convenience store.  I think he thought I was a bit of a lunatic tearing apart the newspaper in the checkout line to get to the Book Review section.  But our book, Most People, was included in a great list of picture books that inspire empathy in the NY Times this past Sunday.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Most People Book Release

In June 2016 just two days after the Orlando nightclub shooting I got an email from Jonathan at Tilbury with the manuscript for "Most People."  When I read it I teared up. It was exactly what I needed.  I wanted someone to to reminded me that most people aren't full of hatred.  I wanted someone to hold my hand and tell me is was going to be all right.  I wanted someone to tell me that there is still a lot of love in the world.  And of course I said yes I would be very happy to illustrate the book.

And here we are again.  More violence and killing in the streets.  Killing of perfect strangers not because of who they are but because of what they represent to these aggressors in their twisted view of the world.

I hope this book helps children navigate the world where acts of ugliness and hatred are blared across 24-hour news stations.  There are no easy answers. But I hope children will see past the anger.  I pray they will not meet violence with more violence.  I pray that they will be surrounded by love and by people who will love them no matter who they are and they will not grow up hating someone else because they are different.


"If you could line up all the people who want to be good and all the people who want to be bad. The good line would stretch from here to the tallest mountain.  All the people in the bad line could crowd together in a dark and gloomy room." - Most People by Michael Leannah

Most People 
by Michael Leannah


Friday, July 14, 2017

How to Draw a Chicken

Just in case you were wondering...



You can download a free PDF of this page and other "How To Draw" on my website.  Also check out the other activity pages for my latest picture book Little Red Rolls Away.