Photoshop tutorial: Vintage collage techniques

Layer found images and handmade elements with Photoshop and Illustrator techniques for a witty, retro style that’s got dozens of uses.

If you want to provide an instant flashback to a bygone era while letting your creativity shine through, few techniques are as versatile as a collage made up of vintage elements.

It allows you to pick and choose from the distinctive motifs, patterns and colours of an age, but the way in which you combine them is entirely up to you.

There’s something wonderfully tongue-in-cheek about a really good vintage collage: if you’ve done your research carefully and found good enough sources, it’ll look so retro that it borders on the kitsch.

In this tutorial, Murilo Maciel demonstrates that researching and finding the images to use in a collage is half the fun. He goes one step further, finding some fairly messy but original ways to create some of the elements by hand, using everything from coffee to a plastic bag, with surprising results.

Step 1
First of all, think about elements that relate to our subject. Plan your illustration and look for references. Second-hand bookshops are very inspiring places for this, and great for getting resources, too. After you’ve done that, open canvas.psd.

Step 2
Before we touch the mouse, let’s get our hands dirty. First, we’ll create the peeling paint effect. Get some black paint, a plastic bag and a white sheet. I love to experiment with using different materials to paint with. In this case, I’m going to use a plastic bag as my brush. Dip the plastic bag into the paint and start painting some rough textures with it. Try to leave some white space, too.

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