Digital artist David Cousens reveals how to develop a sci-fi art sketch in Photoshop using the airbrush and a few nifty tricks.

Traffic lights are everywhere aren’t they? No matter where you go, or how deserted the place is, the ubiquitous evil devices make their presence known, and for David Cousens, they always seem to stop him when there’s nobody else on the road!

Not only will this tutorial expose their insidious plan, it will also show you how to create a stylized image starting from old school pencil and paper and then develop it into a finished piece in Photoshop.

For this tutorial, you will need a graphics tablet and also some Prismacolor col-erase pencils if you want to follow the tutorial from the first step.

If your drawing skills aren’t too hot, the lines for Air Traffic Control are provided as a JPEG for you to work with on the cover CD. Aren’t we nice?

Step 1
Start with a plain sheet of paper and a Prismacolor col-erase blue pencil. The benefit of using a col-erase pencil is that you can use it to draft your lines and rub them out easily.

We’re going to use Photoshop to make the blue lines invisible later, so you can draw loads of construction lines and be as messy as you like here!


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Step 2
When you’re happy with your sketch, take your pencil of choice (We’d recommend a mechanical pencil no more than 0.5mm thick) and start to make your finalised lines.

Unlike the last step, this is where you should be precise and make only lines that you’re happy appearing in the final image. Ensure the lines are opaque as this will help later in the tutorial.