I’ve been admiring some beautiful illustrations and examining the techniques the artists use to add details to their work. One popular shading method I’ve noticed is particularly prominent in apparel design and illustrations with a retro vibe is the use of stippling, where fine vector textures are added to build up tones and shade in areas of darkness. After seeing how effective this technique is, I created my own set of Illustrator scatter brushes to provide myself and my readers the tools required to create this effect. Download this free pack of 8 stipple shading brushes to easily paint grungy details onto your artwork with Illustrator’s brush tool.
Halftone textures are fantastic resources for creating retro print effects by simply overlaying the dot patterns over your solid colour artwork. I shared a pack of distressed halftone patterns last year, which featured a range of uniform halftone screens of various densities. This time, I’ve created a new series of vector textures with gradual changes in dot size, which help add subtle tones to your designs.
My home office is a complete mess with fairy sprinkles everywhere after creating my latest free design resource. This pack of 8 glitter patterns will help you glam up your designs and achieve realistic glittery effects in your artwork. They’re available in various colours as repeating JPEG images, a set of Photoshop Patterns and Photoshop Styles, which can be applied directly to your design elements to create a fabulous glitzy appearance!
Grungy textures are versatile resources that can be used as backgrounds and overlays in your designs to add dirty distressed effects. Broken photocopiers produce some of the best textures around, combining black and white tones with heavy grain which is perfect for retrofying your designs with aged looks. I’ll let you in on a little secret, these textures were actually created by abusing my scanner, but they contain all the characteristics of photocopy toner malfunctions.
I recently inherited a box of my Grandfather’s old possessions, which alongside his WW2 service books and a Great War Memorial Plaque for my great-great-uncle, also contains a number of postcards dated from the mid-1930s. As well as being treasured heirlooms, the aged paper textures of these postcards also make fantastic design resources! Download this pack of 24 free postcard textures to create authentic vintage effects for your artwork.
My most popular tutorial of 2014 was my guide to creating a realistic money effect in Photoshop, which explained the steps to achieve an authentic engraved illustration style. The process is quite time consuming, so I figured it would be useful to follow it up with a ready made Photoshop Action that produces the effect automatically with just the click of a button. Choose from 3 levels of detail for your image, then the Action will transform your photo into a realistic engraved illustration.