Step 12 Create a new layer above the shape and change the opacity to 50%. Select your flowing shape the same way you did in Step 3. Choose a soft brush roughly 200px in size, making sure your foreground colour is black. Paint around the appropriate edges of your shape to create a shadow.

Step 13 Repeat Step 12 to create more shapes. Use this stage to tweak the final placement of elements.

Step 14 Here is where your piece will come together. Using the techniques learned in this tutorial, you will be able to add smaller details. Here, I’ve used masking techniques to add small bits of paper around the edges as well as some larger circles which have had parts erased away.

Step 15 To finish the piece, create a layer above all of the other layers and set the blending mode to Screen – this is located in the top left-hand corner of the Layers palette; the default is Normal. Choose a large, soft brush between 600 and 1000px wide and a vivid colour, in this case orange. Apply the colour around the composition in places that you want to highlight or bring some colour to.

Max Spencer

Who: An illustrator and graphic designer currently living on the coast of south-west England, Max Spencer’s work consists of central composition, bold images and lots of textural detail, while maintaining a sense of minimalism. Max has been freelancing for the past three years and has worked on projects for Nike, Sprite, Charles Schwab and The KDU, among others.
Software: Adobe Photoshop
Time to complete: 2-3 hours


The resources for this tutorial can be downloaded here.