Designer and art director Ricardo Ajcivinac works at TBWA Guatemala. He combines Adobe Photoshop with traditional illustration and graffiti principles to create pieces that jump off the screen. Ricardo is also a graffiti writer and has a blog that he uses to showcase street art from all around the world.

A small character can tell a big story – but traditional character art can be rather flat and one-dimensional, tending towards a cartoonish feel.  

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

In this tutorial, Ricardo Ajcivinac shows how to recreate this brilliant image, and how to give your character art extra punch by using lighting and layer styles.

The principle of this tutorial is to create a complex background with a focal point that hints at a story behind a character. Once you’ve mastered it, it’s a highly versatile technique.

Light effects are very trendy these days but you can avoid clichés by mixing them with something different and interesting; the result will always be an amazing image that gets everybody’s attention.

Time to complete

2-3 hours


Adobe Photoshop

Project Files

Click here to download this tutorial's project files

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