Step by Step Illustration Process

Assalaamu Alaykum. What follows is some steps I take to making a cover for The Muslims. Follow the steps below and insha Allah you’ll gain some insight as to how I do things. Read till the end, and there’s a special prize awaiting you!

It’s not pictured here, but I first write down some ideas I like for the cover. For this cover some ideas I had were 1) Hani on the way to school 2) Hani lazily looking out his car window 3) Hani standing with his armor and sword. Then usually I make very small rough sketches for each idea. In this case I started with idea #3 and got so into it, it became a full fledged drawing, and I didn’t even bother doing sketches for the other ones!
Next, using Adobe Photoshop, I laid down the “flats.” This means using the lasso tool, I select areas where I will fill as a flat color. I do this for ever section of the drawing till it’s all filled in. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to first use the magnetic lasso tool to fill the whole drawing with any random color.

I lock the transparency of the layer, that way I won’t go beyond what I’ve already filled. Then using the lasso tool to change individual sections to the color I want. Holding down the shift key will help you add to your selections. I do this because it’s really hard to get the whole selection I want, the first time. Hold down the alt key will deselect parts of your selection. I use this if I selected more than I wanted to.
Next I make new layers on top of the fill layer. Holding alt between the layers and clicking allows the layer above to be “clipped” to the layer below. This means that anything I do on the layer above will not go beyond the pixels (colors) of the layer below. This is just to keep everything nice and neat.

I lock the fill layer, and start shading. Now it will become clear why I made a fill layer. Using the magic wand I select the portion of the drawing that I want to render, and go to the layer on top to do the actual rendering. I usually have different layers for different parts of the drawing that I want to render. For example I’ll have a layer for the cape, for the green shirt, and one for the hair etc. This is awesome because it means my shading and lighting will not go beyond the parts I want it to.

Once I’ve pretty much added shading and highlights to the whole drawing I usually add a few more layers on top to do general rendering across the whole painting. This is to fix things usually or try out different colors or shading techniques.
Then I’m finally done with the rendering of the character yay! I’ll make adjustment layers on top to different areas of the painting just to mess around with the colors, shading, saturation and so on. I mainly stick to the “hue and saturation” adjustment layer, and the “curves” adjustment layer.
Here I just had a simple background. I wanted Hani to pop, and the papers were just to relate to the title of the book “The Test.”
Add the logos on top, and I’m done!

Jazaka Allahu khayran for sticking with me! Here’s your prize! We’ve just released our latest book The Muslims Book 1: The Test, and for a limited time only will be sold at reduced price. The Kindle and Payhip version is priced at $1.99, and the paperback is reduced to only $8.00.

Help us to make more Islamic material for our ummah. Check out our Muslim children’s books! Jazaka Allahu khayran!

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