Create a Children’s Book Illustration Part III: The Finishing

Create a Children’s Book Illustration Part III: The Finishing
This tutorial will lead you through the steps of creating a children’s book illustration that can be edited and changed when the author you are working with wants minor changes made to the art. And when using this kind of layout, the changes will be easy and generally painless for you, as the artist. Part I covered the background, and Part II covers the foreground. This final part (III) details the steps to create a child and the finishing details for the picture.

Preview of Final Results


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Create a Children’s Book Illustration Part III: The Finishing Photoshop Tutorial

  • Program: Photoshop 7
  • Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Estimated Completion Time: 45 minutes
*This tutorial was meant to be completed using a pen tablet. If you are using a mouse, the brush sizes will be irrelevant. However, a good estimate for brush sizes when using a mouse is about 1/3 the size of the brush I am using.

Step 1

Now that we have build up so many layers, it is time to make a “set”. Go to Layers > New Layer > Layer Set. Name it “scenery”, and change the mode to “normal”.
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Step 2

Click and drag all layers (except the background layer) into this folder, starting with the top layer and moving your way down. The picture should look the same once you are done, because the files should go into the folder in the right order. If you make a mistake, it is easily fixable, just drag the misplaced folder to the place it is supposed to go within the new set. In order to get all layers into the set, it will be necessary to minimize the set by pressing the small arrow to the left of the set’s folder, so that it faces to the right instead of down.
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Step 3

Repeat step one to make a new set. Title the set “characters”, and press the little button so that the little arrow is pointing down. This will make all the layers placed in the set visible, so that they can be worked on during this part of the tutorial.
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Step 4

Make a new layer, “girl outline”.
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Step 5

Sketch in the pose you want the little girl to be in. I have decided to place her at the base of the tree, making a string of flowers. I used color #4B4B4B. It doesn’t matter what size brush you use, but it is important that it is a hard-edged brush rather than a soft one.
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Step 6

Make a new layer “girl”. This is where the actual girl will be outlined.
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Step 7

Start to refine the outline that you drew on the layer below, starting with the head. Remember that children, especially their faces, are all soft curves, so try to avoid any harsh or pointing lines. For steps 7-12 I will be using a size 25 pixel hard-edged brush (100% opacity) and color #1D1D1D.
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Step 8

Work on the neck and shoulders next. The neck will be soft and the shoulders narrow. *The neck joins to the chest in the front; it does not disappear into the shoulder. **The neck also joins at the base of the head; I have circled this area in white.
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Step 9

The next part to draw is the arms. They are round and soft, like the shoulders. For now it is only necessary that you block in the position of the hands.
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Step 10

The second arm is not completely visible, so erase any overlapping lines as you work, so that the object in front is not obscured.

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