Conor McGregor Tattoo Style Illustration Effect Photoshop Tutorial

How’s it going everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Photoshop Today we’re going to take a look at some handy illustration techniques that mimic the style of traditional tattoo flash graphics

Now typically I’d use Adobe Illustrator for most of my illustrative kind of work, but for this style, Photoshop’s brush tool offers the best results with its ability to form gradual brush flows, rather than solid vector shapes The artwork we’ll be creating today is a panther illustration inspired by old school tattoos Solid outlines, bold colours and a stipple shading effect that is formed by the magazine of needles from the tattoo machine are all key aesthetics of this style I created the initial sketch on paper, which you can download to follow along with the rest of this guide in Adobe Photoshop So open the sketch image into Adobe Photoshop

Create a new layer and give it the name Outlines Select the Pen tool and begin tracing around the sketch lines Now there’s loads of different techniques you can use when working with Bezier curves, but I tend to just click and drag each point as I follow the outline If you reach a corner, or the curve is going to be too large, hold the ALT key and click the point before continuing Generally just try to keep the paths nice and smooth without any awkward kinks

If you need to move the points around or make adjustments, hold the CMD key to toggle the Direct Selection tool Once you’ve reached the end of one of the pencil lines, activate the Brush tool then configure the settings to a size of 10px, hardness of 100%, zero spacing, and check that none of the other options are checked Switch back to the Pen tool, then right click and select Stroke Path Choose Brush from the dropdown menu, then click OK to have the brush settings we just set applied to the length of this path Hit the backspace key a couple of times to delete this first path, then continue tracing the next pencil line

Right click and select Stroke Path again, followed by the Enter key to quickly hit OK In some areas, using a shape rather than trying to trace smooth curves with the pen tool would be easier Select the Ellipse Tool and make sure the setting in the top toolbar is set to Path Draw a shape that roughly matches the pencil sketch Switch to the Pen tool and add points to represent the start and end of the pencil line, then hold the CMD key to activate the Direct Selection tool and use it to select and delete the points that form the unwanted portion

Move the leftover points and bezier handles around to better match the path to the sketch lines before right clicking and selecting Stroke Path Continue tracing the sketch lines with a mix of the Pen tool and Ellipse tool to turn the rough doodle into neat linework For those three drippy shapes, create a new layer and use an ellipse as the foundation of the shape Switch to the Pen tool and hold the ALT key to activate the Direct Selection tool, then click and drag the right most point outwards Hold the ALT key instead and give it a click with the Convert Anchor Point tool to make it a sharp point, then stroke this path

Press CMD+T to Transform, then rotate and move the first drip into place Hold the ALT key while dragging the shape with the Move tool to make copies, and rotate each of these individually Use the CMD+E shortcut for Merge Down to combine these layers with the main Outline layer That’s the linework finished, the next step is to add colour Turn off the visibility of the Background sketch layer, then create a new layer and fill it with white using the CMD+Backspace shortcut

Give this layer the name Background Create another new layer and give this the name Black Switch to the Magic Wand tool and make sure the Sample All Layers option is checked Hold the Shift key while clicking all the parts of the panther that need to be filled with black Rather than use pure black, choose a dark grey so the linework can still be seen and use the ALT+Backspace shortcut to fill these selections

Sometimes it’s easier to apply a colour, then use the Hue/Saturation adjustments to alter it with a live preview Add another new layer and name this one White Choose a yellowy off-white colour, then use the Magic Wand to select all the white areas Fill them with this new colour selection Repeat the process with a yellow for the eyes and teeth, then a red for the mouth and other features

The illustration is coming to life with a bit of colour, but a bit of shading will really give it that cool traditional tattoo look Create a new layer above the black layer The shading over the black areas will need to be the off-white colour we used elsewhere Sample it with the eyedropper tool Hold the CMD key and click the layer thumbnail of the black filled layer below to load its selection, then fill this selection with the off-white colour on this new shading layer

Press CMD+D to deselect Since tattoos are make with lots of tiny needles, the shading effect has a kind of stippled look to it The Dissolve blending mode is an easy way to achieve a similar style in Photoshop Reduce the opacity of the layer to 50% Add a Layer Mask to this shading layer, then activate the Brush tool

Change the brush settings to a slightly large size with zero hardness Begin painting within this layer mask to erase the speckling away, leaving it creeping in from certain edges Continually alter the brush size with the square bracket keys, and use the X shortcut to switch the foreground/background colours around Painting with black will erase the layer, painting with white will restore it Zoom in and out with the CMD+ and CMD- keys to get right in to the details wherever you need to erase the shading on one side of the outline, but keep it on the other side

Having a pen tablet will give you an advantage when working with this painting technique, but you can absolutely still work directly with the mouse Erase most of the layer away, but leave the shading along certain bits of the outline to form highlights The larger the brush you use, the more gradual the speckling will fade out Select the next coloured fill layer and create a new layer above it CMD+click the thumbnail of the coloured fill layer to loads its selection, and fill the selection on the new layer

Since the other colours are quite light, we’ll use the dark grey colour for the shading Set up the layer with the Dissolve blending mode and apply a layer mask, then use the Brush tool to erase and restore the speckling within this section of the illustration Continue the process of adding shading layers to the other colour fills and using the brush tool to determine where the grain should appear The final result is a really cool illustration style that can be used for any artwork that requires a speckled shading effect, whether it’s old school tattoo flash art like this, or some other kind of vintage illustration with stipple shading So I hope you found this tutorial useful

If you did a thumbs up on the video would be really appreciated to help spread the word and share the techniques with others Feel free to get this panther tattooed on your body, or alternatively pick up the artwork on a slightly less permanent t-shirt Hit the subscribe button to be the first to see my upcoming tutorials Thank you very much for watching, and I’ll see you in the next one

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