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 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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