Create a Children’s Book Illustration Part I: The Background

Create a Children’s Book Illustration Part I: The Background

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.

Step 22

Highlight the water with a brush set to 5% opacity, using color #8EDFD8. Try to concentrate on the center of the stream.

Step 23

Gaussian blur the “water” layer, this will soften the water and blend the dark and light just a little.

Step 24

Next, switch back to the “stream” layer and Gaussian blur it as well. This is going to get rid of the harsh bank without making it appear fuzzy.

Step 25

Time to lighten the lights. Go back to the “water” layer, and use the dodge tool (highlights mode, 30% exposure, soft round brush) to lighten the middle of the stream.

Step 26

The last step before the stream is finished is to darken the darks with the burn tool. Set the tool to midtones mode, and 16% exposure, and darken the shadows cast by the stream’s banks.

Step 27

Now make a new layer titled “grass”. This is going to be the layer that changes the green mass into what looks like grass.

Step 28

Rendering realistic grass is very easy if you use the right brush and the right settings. Find the grass brush (basic brushes, about two thirds of the way down the brush list) that is leaning to the right and copy the settings below. Under “other dynamics” turn both the opacity jitter and flow jitter off. To create realistic looking grass, use a very light hand when you are around the base of the trees, and a very heavy hand as you move towards the front of the picture. I also switched between a size 200 pixel brush and a 140 pixel brush. The two light colors are: #3B7B00 #346900 The two dark colors are: #254800 #2D5900 *Make sure you can see some of the base color through the grass, or else it will look fake!

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