Add real texture with the RetroSupply Kit

by Julia Sagar September 15, 2016

Add real texture with the RetroSupply Kit

Ohio-based graphic designer, illustrator and artist Jordan Wong, aka Wongface, is the latest creative to be featured in our new series looking at the insanely inspiring illustration and design work being created across the RetroSupply community.

This summer Jordan was invited to create a poster for the fifth Cleveland Tango Bowling Marathon – an annual event where tango dancers from across America gather at the historical Mahall’s bowling venue to dance, drink and bowl. (Scroll down to see the full poster.)

RetroSupply Kit Jordan Wong poster planning

“The marathon is put on by Adam Hoopengardner, a tango performer, event organizer and teacher in NYC, who is originally from Cleveland,” Jordan explains. “I was hired to create this year’s event poster, which was also used as a T-shirt design.”

Here, using his Cleveland Tango Bowling Marathon poster as an example, Jordan walks through his typical creative process, sharing tips and advice for creating a textured illustration in Illustrator and Photoshop using his favorite RetroSupply products…



How to create a vintage textured poster design with the RetroSupply Kit


RetroSupply Kit Jordan Wong poster

Jordan Wong: To add a retro feel to the Cleveland Tango Bowling Marathon poster, I used Photoshop texture brushes from the RetroSupply Kit – a huge collection of tools for creating retro effects, including actions, halftone patterns, brushes and World War II era textures.

Whether it was to create faded, worn edges or to add some visual grit, these brushes helped me produce a vintage and aged look. Here’s how...

01. Overview

RetroSupply textures_Jordan Wong step 1

The creation of the poster can be broken down into two phases. First, I created the flat design in Illustrator; then I added textural elements in Photoshop. I personally favor using Illustrator in setting up and tightening up compositions – it’s easy to move, scale, rotate, flip and align elements.

02. Collect references

RetroSupply kit: Jordan Wong step 2

Before you do anything, collect some reference photos. Sometimes I prefer to begin drawing things by hand before moving into Illustrator – you can see my sketch in gray above.

Once you’ve chosen your colors and finished the composition, transfer your design from Illustrator into Photoshop. I’ve separated everything by color and pasted each into its own layer, apart from the background, which I kept as one layer. This poster design is divided into the following color layers: light gray, red, white and black – which you can see in the images below.

03. Create a frame

RetroSupply Kit Jordan Wong step 3

Pro tip: To keep things in their original arrangement, I created a rectangle (no fill and no stroke) at the size of the document – this acts as a frame and reference. The rectangle and other chosen elements are selected, copied and then pasted into Photoshop. Everything is placed correctly by aligning the rectangle, and the selected elements within it, to the document border.

04. Add texture

RetroSupply Kit Jordan Wong step 4

I set up a layer mask for each color layer – this is where the RetroSupply Kit Photoshop brushes are used to stamp out the textures. Remember that black erases and white restores in layer masks.  

05. Create faded edges

RetroSupply Kit Jordan Wong step 5

To create faded or worn edges, I used the Photoshop brushes from the Folds set in the RetroSupply Kit. The orientation can be changed in the brush options in the top left corner (as shown in the highlighted, cyan square) or in the Brush panel (Window>Brush). Dustin also mentions this technique in his video on How to Roughen the Edges of your Work.


Buy the RetroSupply Kit now

RetroSupply Kit

The RetroSupply Kit ($15) is a huge, comprehensive kit with everything you need to get authentic retro print effects.

Created from World War II-era paper and source material – we spent over 30 hours compiling the raw materials – it includes: seven instant screen texture Photoshop actions, a print offset kit, a halftone kit (seven high-res halftone textures and two halftone patterns), nine high-res retro paper textures, a screen brush set, folds, additional textures and more; plus a super handy manual for getting the most out of your kit. Check out the full details here.

If you've used the RetroSupply Kit in your work, let us know in the comments below, or tweet us a link to your work. We love to see what you're doing.

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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