Colorado road trip: making of

For those who are interested in my process to create the "Colorado road trip" submission to Threadless, here is a small making of...

It starts with a small sketch done in the train, on my way back home after work. Usual pencil on my drawing book. It is quite messy, the kind of sketch I'm the only one to understand...

I redo the sketch, a bit more detailed so it can be a start when I open photoshop. (notice how small details starts to appear while the composition is refined).

Photoshop is opened, I choose the background color between threadless shirts colors ("royal" blue), then I redo a clean sketch. (Photoshop CS5 and wacom intuos 4)

I roughly colorize the sketch to get an idea of where I'm going to go. Colors are quite ugly at this stage.

By playing with RGB curves, I create new colors tunes... A bit "garish" but it becomes more dynamic

Then comes the typo. I wanted something very thin and pure, so I first try with Avant garde extra light. Not light enough, so I download Raleway from free google font repository (a gold mine), the thinest of "thin" font category. For the "trip" I use Bolide, a classic brush-like typo, to get a sharp contrast between the two words.
I Refine the spaces between letters, erase the cross of the "A", then I draw a slight shadow behing the main letters. No automatic drop shadows, I wanted something more subtle and "manual".

Here come the big part of the job: I clean my "paint". This takes a couple of hours. I use only one sharp round brush, varying its scale with the pen pressure. It took me concentration to keep each colors on a separate layer...

I go to bed. The day after, I polish the paint (add the stars, clean some edges, deleted some details, add others, make the moon a real circle, redo ten times the same stroke, etc.)

Then I merge all my layers to keep only one layer per color (in order to tweak easily the colors and keep my document a bit organised)


Once this is done, it's easy to change the colors individually. I make a few variants, and ask some friends for advice to help me choose.



Chosen the colors, I make some very little tweaks, I make the submission picture and post it to threadless :)

And here you come: if you like this design, make sure to VOTE for it ! Thank you : )