Photoshop tutorial: Create your own pop art

The pop art movement of the 1950s celebrated the birth of consumer culture, taking mundane things like the humble soup can out of the supermarket and into art galleries – often for the very first time.

It’s a distinctive, tongue-in-cheek style that’s still relevant today – after all, our society hasn’t got any less consumer-oriented. This means that pop art is a useful, versatile visual shorthand for 21st-Century designers, instantly evoking kitsch, with a sharp note of satire. In this masterclass, Mark Mayers shows you how to get that pop art look using layering, the Live Trace tool, filters and some cleverly chosen images.

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Step 1
In Photoshop, open Bubble_car.tif (which can be downloaded from the right or found on this month’s CD) and clean up any stray pixels with the Brush and Eraser tools. Draw a closed path around the people, make a path-based selection and then hit Delete. Next, erase the number plate and bonnet logo and save the image to a convenient location.

Step 2
Open Colour_distress.jpg, convert it to CMYK, then save as a TIFF with no compression (see tip box, right). In Illustrator, create a new CMYK document 430-x-307mm. Make a rectangle 420-x-297mm, position it centrally and select View > Guides > Make Guides. Next, go File > Place, select the saved Colour_distress.tif and align to the guides. Label the layer ‘Placed distress’ and lock it.

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