How to mix and match RetroSupply products for instant inspiration

by Julia Sagar September 20, 2016

How to mix and match RetroSupply products for instant inspiration

Last month, Canada-based illustrator, independent comic book artist and author Josué Menjivar walked through how to add a halftone effect with RetroSupply’s SparkPrint action, using the cover of his self-published comic, One Chance, as an example.

This month, he takes us behind the scenes on his atmospheric illustration, Waiting for the Money, explaining how he’s improved his creativity by experimenting with a cocktail of RetroSupply brushes, textures and actions.

It’s the latest in our series looking at the inspiring design and illustration work being created across the RetroSupply community. Read on for Josué’s top tips and techniques for creating an original artwork…

How to mix and match RetroSupply products for instant inspiration

RetroSupply: Waiting for The Money, by Josué Menjivar

Josué Menjivar: One thing I love to do with RetroSupply products is experiment with actions for interesting results. For example, I like using RetroSupply’s Photo-Toaster action (part of the RetroSupply Photo-Baker Kit, $15) to create a 1950s-style illustrated effect in Photoshop, and then using SparkPrint ($15) over the result.

I then process the result with the RetroLab premium photo effect kit ($29), which gives you vintage film styles. But I suggest that you mix and match – doing so will give you ideas for future projects.

In this piece, Waiting for the Money, I used the following RetroSupply products:

Here’s how I did it…


01. Hand-draw your image

RetroSupply: Waiting for The Money, Josué Menjivar, step 1

First, I sketched out the drawing by hand. I then scanned the sketched image and brought it into Adobe Photoshop.


02. Apply the SpaceRanger Gritty Pencil

Next, I started drawing digitally using the SpaceRanger Gritty Pencil, one of 20 super-realistic Photoshop Brush Presets inside the SpaceRanger Brush Kit and Tutorial Pack. When I was done, I made a duplicate copy and set both pencil layers to Multiply.


03. Create a new layer for the background

I created a new layer for coloring the background, called ‘Flat Color Back’. I then used the Woodland Wonderland Soggy Brush to add colour to the background. (In homage to the tools used here, the painting on the wall is the RetroSupply mascot, which you can see in step 05.)


04. Build up texture and color

I created another layer to color all the furniture, called ‘Furniture’, and used the Woodland Wonderland Swamp Crayon brush to color all the furniture items on this layer. This stage was about building the texture and color – as a result my image started to look pretty messy, but I’ll be cleaning it up later.


05. Use a reductive technique

RetroSupply: Waiting for The Money, Josué Menjivar, step 2

Still in the furniture layer, I then erased the color underneath the people using a combination of Photoshop’s Lasso tool selections and the Eraser tool. With the selections active, I deleted the color from the Furniture layer and the Flat Color Back layer. I wasn’t worried about being too precise.


06. Add color to the figures

Next, I made a new layer for adding color to the people, called People, and used the Woodland Wonderland Gouache II brushes.


07. Create the title logo

RetroSupply: Waiting for The Money, Josué Menjivar, step 3

At this stage, I created the title logo using the RetroSupply CraftType actions in Adobe Illustrator. The fonts I used were also from RetroSupply: Roaster, Authority and Palm Canyon Drive Regular. I then placed the title logo on my drawing as a smart object.


08. Merge the three color layers

Next, I merged the three color layers – People, Furniture and Flat Color Back – and set the blending mode to Multiply.


09. Add texture

I chose a random texture (Rag Tone texture) from the RetroSupply Halftone Kit – it’s a freebie in that pack. I then copied it into my art. I placed the texture as the top layer and set the blend mode to Multiply.


10. Apply the SparkPrint Color Action

Next, I used the SparkPrint Color Action on a duplicated version of the coloring layer. I used a blue color in the action and dropped the opacity to 50%. I then added a mask layer in the SparkPrint layer, and used a black brush to mask off the area in the image where the people are located.


11. Final touches

RetroSupply_Waiting for The Money, by Josué Menjivar

Lastly, I went back to the color copy and dropped the opacity to 60%. I made a copy of the file, flattened the art and I was done. I love experimenting with RetroSupply products.


Buy two products and get a third free

Inspired by Josué’s mix-and-match technique for creating artwork? We certainly are. That’s why we’re offering you the chance to buy two RetroSupply products at $15 or more, and get the third free – full details here.


Julia Sagar
Julia Sagar


Julia is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously a commissioning editor for Computer Arts, Creative Bloq, net, 3D World and Imagine FX magazines, she’s been writing about design for 10 years. Tweet her: @JuliaSagar

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