Step 11 Lock the transparent pixels of the ‘City’ layer, then paint in some darker and lighter details. Just use simple brushstrokes to imply details. Open ‘Cloud Texture’ from (, press Cmd/Ctrl + A, Cmd/Ctrl + C to Select All and Copy the contents of the image.

Step 12 Press Cmd/Ctrl + V to paste in the cloud photo above the background layer. Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl + T) the photo to fit your illustration, then set the blending mode to Soft Light at 92% opacity. Create a ‘Sky Details’ layer and use the Magik brush to add some more vapour trails soaring into the sky.

Step 13 Return to the ‘Highlights’ layer and start painting over the linework using the Magik brush. When you’ve finished, hide the visibility of the white border layer. Now hit Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + 2 to select the image’s luminosity (it’s Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + Shift + ~ in older versions of Photoshop). Crop off the bottom of the pic and you're done.

David and Sarah Cousens

Who: Forget reality; you should join David and Sarah Cousens (aka Cool Surface) in their slightly insane, often cheeky and always colourful world of illustration where their heroic robots, surreal monsters, sexy women and adorable animals have excited and entertained in advertising, editorials, exhibitions, professional education, publishing and television work. Their clients include the BBC, Hachette, Adidas, Macmillan and Letraset.
Software: Adobe Photoshop
Time to complete: 3 hours


On the Download Zone, you can find custom brush Tool Presets. You’ll also need Thierry Doizon’s ‘Magik’ custom brush, which can be downloaded at