Step 5 Create a layer called ‘Red Land’ underneath the ‘Roughs’ layer. Use a hard-edged brush with Opacity Jitter set to Pen Pressure to paint in a red landscape. To simulate perspective, make the reds in the foreground darker and more saturated, with more muted colours for the distant land. The Opacity Jitter option can be found in the Brush panel, in the section named Transfer in Photoshop CS5, or Other Dynamics in older versions.

Step 6 Create two new layers called ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’ respectively. Position the ‘Man’ layer above the ‘Woman’ layer, and block the characters in with flat colours. Create a new layer, ‘City’, and paint in a retro-futuristic city skyline with a mixture of blues and greens. The Chinese posters we’re referencing often focused on bright new futures, so include a rocket as part of the narrative.

Step 7 Create a ‘Clouds’ layer and paint some stylised clouds using various pinks and greys to keep with the colour scheme. Use the clouds as pointers; subtly angle them to lead your eyes back to the main focal points (the characters). Using the Magik custom brush, add a flowing red sash on the woman’s arm; make sure it points back towards the characters.