Describing himself as a “creative all-rounder”, Bristol-based Chris Malbon has produced work for a wide range of clients and agencies over the past 13 years. He’s currently involved with campaigns for Coke, the 2012 Olympics, Unilever, Nestlé and EA Games.

In this tutorial, illustrator Chris Malbon takes you through the process of creating a bold artwork with an 80s retro tropical theme – drawing on the kitsch glamour of shows like Miami Vice. He says the secret to his striking style is using abstract shapes and negative space. 

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“Simple can be beautiful – flat and bold knocked-back screens can create depth and tints that really lift an image,” explains Chris. “You also need to consider how negative space can be used to your advantage to create a truly original piece of work.”

He also shares some techniques for ensuring there’s a base of photorealism underpinning an abstract piece. By using photos as a starting point, then tracing them in a simplified way, the illustration has a good contrast that feels both handmade and digital.

Time to complete

3 hours


Photoshop, Illustrator

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