Creating a Retro Wine Poster with Black Magic Halftones

by Lori Rudolph April 01, 2020

Creating a Retro Wine Poster with Black Magic Halftones

Inspiration comes in many forms and from many places. Sometimes it seems to come through osmosis for me. What I mean is that I am often inspired by retro themed design without really trying to be. I’ve seen so much of it over the years, that it’s just kind of “rubbed off”.

I admire designers like Paul Rand and Saul Bass. As far as illustrators are concerned, there are far too many to list; so I’ve created a mood board that’s filled with loads of gorgeous color, and features a modest amount of Mid-Century graphics, illustration and design that may inspire you to follow along.

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a retro/vintage look wine poster using the Black Magic Halftone brush kit. My Illustrator artboard is sized at 8” x 10”, at 300 dpi. Okay, let’s begin by taking a look at the sketch I created for this piece.


I have color coded the line work in this sketch to help make it easier to see the shapes when they overlap. Everything was drawn using the pen tool or by creating shapes using the rounded rectangle tool in Illustrator. Each object was created on a new layer.

The pieces of each of the hands and the golden/yellow frame were united together to make compound shapes. To do this Direct select each part of the hand. Using the Pathfinder tool, click on Unite. Repeat this step for the other hand and for the frame.


The line work has been drawn using the 15 pt. round brush. The hat and green wine glass are set at .25pt stroke and the two circles and two white wine glasses have a .5pt stroke.


Next we'll add the color into the shapes, leaving the larger two wine glasses with a stroke color that matches the background color.


It’s now time to start working some of that magic with the Black Magic Halftone swatches and brushes.

I filled the cloud area with the 90% halftone swatch.

I want to change the color of the halftone to have green dots. To do this you will have to change the color of the swatch pattern.

Double click the square swatch in the Swatches panel. Select the main element in the pattern. Change the color of the element to your desired color. Double click the fill color and choose a color from the Color Picker or from your own Color Palette.

Click done in the Pattern Editing Mode bar at the top of your Illustrator window.

Next, I want to change the scale of the halftone pattern in the cloud shape.

To do this select the object you want to scale. Go to Object > Transform > Scale.

In the pop-up window, select Uniform and Transform Patterns. Select Preview to see the changes.

Insert your chosen percentage in the Uniform box. When you are happy with the new scale, click Ok.

Next I applied the 50% halftone swatch to the frame. I changed the color of the dot pattern and also changed the scale of the pattern to 60%.


For the stripe on the coat I used the pen tool to create a straight line and used the 80% Halftone – Edge Short brush.

I created two diagonal lines using the 80% Halftone – Line Short brush to swipe across the lower half of the imagery.


The wine bottle has a funky/bubbly edge made by using the Gradient Edge Medium 04 brush.


For the trio of blue colored blocks I used the Gradient Edge Wide 02 brush.


To create the overlapping rails along the bottom edge I used the 60% Halftone - Line Short brush.


For the four splash lines above the wine bottle I used the 30% Halftone – Line Short brush.


I love the transparent look of shapes overlapping, so I chose to set many of the objects to Multiply. To change the blending mode of the objects go to Window > Transparency > Multiply and leave the Opacity setting at 100%. I have highlighted which objects/layers will be multiplied. Please see: the red boxes around the magenta areas in the photo of the layers panel. Set each of these objects to Multiply.


The last step that will further enhance the vintage look of this design is to add in a texture layer. I used the Scratched Pop Can 30 texture from the Diet Vector Textures pack and changed the color of the TIFF to the background color.

To change the color of the TIFF file, first select the texture and using the eyedropper tool, choose your desired color.

That’s it, we are done with this boozy poster. I hope you enjoyed this how-to.

If you do recreate this poster, please don’t forget to share it on social media using #retrosupplyco or @retrosupply on Instagram.

Lori Rudolph
Lori Rudolph


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