Step 9

Erase the tree lines and brown color that lies within the bushes outline. Also make any last changes to the bushes’ outlines, correcting shape and placement as necessary.


Step 10

Where there are bare ends of the trees, make a puff of leaves similar to what was done with the bushes. Then erase all lines and tree trunk that falls within its border.


Step 11

Now this is the last step for detailing the lines of the trees. Try to keep it simple by indicating leaves rather than drawing each individual one.


Step 12

Now to color the leaves of the bushes and trees, make a new layer above the tree background layer but below the layer with the outline.


Step 13

Now take a size 95 pixel (soft edged brush) set to 25% opacity and highlight the tree leaves and bushes using color #6DBB21. The lightest parts will be on the leaves that were indicated earlier.


Step 14

The last step for the leaves is to take color #1F3F00 and add shadows to the bottom of the bushes and shadows underneath the leaves.


Step 15

The last step in finishing the trees is to highlight and add shadows. A good highlight color is #844202, and the shadow I used is #3B1D00. It is a good idea to add a slight highlight to the center of the trunk, and then to make one side of the trunk lighter than the other.


Step 16

To finish the background itself, add a few transparent tree trunks, and using a very transparent soft edged brush and color #FFBE33, add some light filtering through the trees.

To add shadows beneath the trees use color #004111.


*All steps use layering a very transparent brush (20-25% opacity)

Step 17

Now, create a new layer and title it “stream”.


Step 18

To create the base for the stream, create a winding brown (color #361300) area that gets thicker as it approaches the foreground of the picture.


Step 19

Now using color #008A8C, alternate the side that shows brown. This will make the stream have a bank.


Step 20

Now, make a new layer and title it water. This is the layer where we will be detailing the stream.


Step 21

Use the magic wand tool and select the blue area from the layer below. Next, take color #00494A and using a soft-edged 20% opaque brush, add the shadows. This can be done by swiping the brush horizontally across the selected area, concentrating on the areas where the bank is overshadowing the water.

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10 responses to “Create a Children’s Book Illustration Part I: The Background”

  1. Nick Risberg Avatar
    Nick Risberg

    love the step by step tutorials!! I’ll have to get at it this weekend!

  2. DEREK Avatar


  3.  Avatar

    Confusing what application do U use like paint??

  4. zakir375 Avatar

    It was good tutorial, I am learning magic of Photoshop, thanks.

  5. Nick Legarde Avatar
    Nick Legarde

    Digital imaging is such a grind. But Mr. Grey is an OG.

  6. Nick Legarde Avatar
    Nick Legarde

    Photoshop sux

  7. Sakib Ullah Avatar
    Sakib Ullah

    Nice tutorial

    1. Berned Avatar


  8. Lisa Chaikin-Johnston Avatar
    Lisa Chaikin-Johnston

    Nice tutorial! I appreciate the steps and various explanations of brush settings.

    1. Sakib Ullah Avatar
      Sakib Ullah

      No it wasn’t good

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