How to Make a Retro Space Pistol in Photoshop

How to Make a Retro Space Pistol in Photoshop

The space race between the Unites States and the Soviet Union gave rise to steady stream of radio programs that glamorized adventure and exploration of the cosmos.

This fueled demand for science fiction themed books, magazines, and consumer packaging — all in need of eye-catching illustrations.

Making these kinds of illustrations isn't as hard as you think. The pistol is made of simple shapes (squares, circles, and triangles) and a three color palette. We're using the SpaceRanger Brush Pack for Photoshop but you can use any brushes that work for you.

Follow along with these easy tutorial and create a great looking sci-fi illustration fast!

Quick Summary: How to Draw a Space Pistol in Photoshop

This tutorial guides you'll learn the process for creating a retro, mid-century style space pistol illustration in Photoshop.

We're using the SpaceRanger Brush Pack for Photoshop but feel free to use any brushes you'd like!

The emphasis is on simple geometric shapes, bold color blocks, and effective shading techniques to capture the essence of mid-century design.

  1. Creating Basic Shapes. Begin by using the lasso tool to form geometric shapes that will constitute the basic structure of your space pistol. Pay special attention to creating the pistol's handle and other significant components.

  2. Form Builder for Details. Utilize a brush like 'Form Builder' brush for crafting more intricate details and shapes, adding depth and dimension to your pistol.

  3. Adding Color Blocks. Apply solid color blocks to the main body of the pistol. This step is crucial in achieving the mid-century aesthetic, characterized by bold and simple color schemes.

  4. Layering Textures and Shading. Enhance your illustration with textures and shades on top of the color blocks. This step is essential for adding complexity and visual interest to the piece while maintaining the simplicity of the overall design.

  5. Shading Techniques. Use a shading brush like the one seen in the video to add shadows and depth. Control the intensity of the shading by varying the pressure on your stylus – lighter touches yield softer shades, while firmer pressure gives darker tones. Experiment with quick, light strokes to create gradient effects and add realism to your illustration.

  6. Refining and Finalizing. Adjust the opacity of your layers to fine-tune the illustration. Focus on areas like the handle and other critical parts of the pistol to ensure they stand out with the desired effect.


Congratulations on completing your mid-century space pistol illustration!

By following these steps, you've learned how to effectively create a design that not only echoes the bold and simplistic aesthetic of the mid-century era but also adds a modern twist.

Remember, the key to mastering this style lies in the balance of geometric shapes, vibrant color blocks, and nuanced shading. Experiment with different brushes and techniques to refine your style further.

Keep practicing, and don't forget to have fun and don't expect too much from yourself. All good things take practice!

Out of this world Textures!

The SpaceRanger Brush Pack is a perfect kit for creating classic children's illustrations with bold shapes and gritty analog textures.