Paul Holland’s work is often figurative. He draws with a range of regular pencils (from 5H to 6B, he says), as well as pulling out his pens and paintbrush. He then brings the results into Photoshop, where he adds components and applies colour and textures, digitally enhancing the final visual through the use of some classically inspired montage techniques.
Here Paul demonstrates how he went about producing a portrait of singer Beth Ditto for an editorial illustration. He hopes the tutorial will inspire you to explore the endless possibilities available in software.
The techniques outlined here aren’t complex. What’s more, they maintain the integrity of the original hand drawing, preserving the artist’s style and individuality.
Having followed this tutorial, you should be able to take a drawing and turn it into something that’s not only stunning but also worthy of being used for a commercial project.
Step 1 Before you start, remember to consider how your drawings will be manipulated once scanned. You must ensure that what you produce is versatile enough for the purposes you have in mind.
I work from a range of reference photos of my subject. I start by drawing just the face, which I scan into Photoshop (you should use a resolution of at least 300dpi for this key element). The hair and other elements will be drawn individually and saved in separate layers in Photoshop.
Step 2 Along with the main image, I scan an outline of the hair in pencil, putting this in its own layer. This outline is fairly rough as I want the hair to appear as realistic as possible, so I don’t want a hard edge. I also trace any outlines I needed to work within, such as the edges of the lips, and put them in their own layers.
To get a strong black-and-white main image for this work, I also altered the contrast using Image > Adjustments > Selective Color, then adjusting whites, neutrals and blacks.