Create a Flowery Natural Peace and Harmony Composition

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Combining techniques such as texturing, custom brushing, stock images, 3D, lighting effects and typography can allow a true graphic design composition to come together.  When combined with a conceptual style artwork, the results can be awesome.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to combine a nature peace and harmony feel with an urban and cosmic lighting style to create Flower Power, a digital artwork by Polish designer Wojciech Magierski.  You’ll see how to start with base colors to establish the feel and mood of a piece, and then how to build it up using a variety of techniques.

Please, leave a comment with your thoughts, or if you have a question, or just to say thanks.  It’s really appreciated!

Tools Used:

  • Adobe Photoshop

Final Image Preview:

At the beginning we set the background color.  I chose a green and brown, and used a layer mask gradient at a slight angle to create a smooth transition.  The green and brown help establish the natural feel of the piece.

Next, to create our background, we need to create a brush.  We can add an interesting effect using a custom brush with shape dynamics and other dynamics.

If you want to create a brush, you need to find a shape, put it on your canvas.  The largest brush size allowed is 2500px x 2500px, so create a canvas of this size, then use the dynamics brush created above to draw something that looks like the below screenshot.  Then make it black and white, and correct the contrast if you need and make selection using the marquee tool, (shortcut is ‘M’) around the shape.  After that, click Edit from the top menu and click Define Brush Preset.  You have a new brush.  Click F5 and find him, after that you can change everything you want, the shape, spacing, etc.  If you’re not comfortable creating a custom brush, the same background effect can be achieved using textures, however, you will have to find a high quality texture and be willing to play with the contracts and blend modes to get the desired effect.

Now, using our brush, we can play with the opacity and flow a bit to create a sort of textured background.

Now, download the peace sign shape.

Put it into the canvas, duplicate it several times and move the duplicated layers, than change its opacity to 20% blending overlay. The second layer opacity should be 30%.  Move it 20px right.  By moving layers slightly offset, it creates the illusion of depth.  The layer with outer stroke is set to 1px outside, dark green color, fill 0%.  You’ll notice that I have several copies.  This part is largely up to the final effect that you want, but I was going for a 3D type effect so I created a shadow layer, a few color layers, and a stroke with a gradient.


I added a glasses stock photo and some shapes using custom brushes.

We have to add a shadow on the bottom of our sign to show that it is setting on the ground.  To do this, take a soft round brush and black color, click and transform ctrl+5 to ‘flatten’ the shape.

Drawing water was an interesting moment in the design of the illustration.  Using the pen tool to draw a path, we create a blue shape and add blending options.  Then I used a water splash stock to add a bit splashing out (see below).

The fish you see were downloaded from www.shutterstock.com.  Using Color Balance (ctrl + b) and Curves (ctrl + m) I made the fish have a bit of a blue tint, matching the environment.
The falling water was created using the stocks seen below:

Next, we need to add lighting effects.  This effect behind our peace sign I obtained using sunset pictures.  I added a layer mask, inverted (ctrl+i) the mask , and then erased part of the mask.  When you erase, you see how the light shines through.

The Afro girl photos downloaded from the Internet (ShutterStock or StockXpert).  As with our other stocks, add a layer mask, and using the path tool, remove the background – create a path, make a selection and ctrl + x.

Blue and orange lights on the head of model girl were created by proper brushes.  If you don’t have the brushes, you can create a rectangular marquee, then use your gradient tool to create a gradient from one edge, and then erase the corners to create a smooth transition.

The Flower Power typography I found on shutterstock.com.  You can use whatever typography you feel fits your piece best.

Now we want to boost the contrast in our image a little bit, so we use adjustments layers. You can change the opacity, erase some parts to get a nice effect.  Specifically, I added some colors using gradient maps, then used hue/saturation, brightness/contrast and levels so subtly boost the intensity of the image.

The water drops on the surface were created using a photo of water.  Pasting it into the document, set the blending mode to ‘Screen’, and put under our peace sign.  Make sure our previous adjustments are on top of the layer.

To add the water lillies, grab another stock image, extract it, and then add a delicate drop shadow on the water surface.  Using pictures of space on screen opacity we add a dusty lighting effect.

Now it’s time to place a crab into the composition.  Grab another stock from the internet, cut out and put into the project, add a color overlay in order to fit it into the piece .

To add more contrast we add a paper texture, setting it to Overlay with opacity and fill 20%.

At the end, I added a texture of the cosmos to add a little noise.  I set this texture to screen with opacity 40%, and I added a mask and cleaned some parts I didn’t like.

That’s all. Thank you very much.
The project you see is called “Flower Power” and it was created for Paulo Canabarro from Abduzeedo.com, who made an interview with me some time ago.
Check it out! http://abduzeedo.com/interview-photo-illustrator-wojciech-magierski

Thank you!  See you soon. :)

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