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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Halloween
Design

Create a Digital Handicraft Collage in Adobe Photoshop

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Through the combination of drawn elements and scanned pieces, we'll create a Halloween-inspired collage that looks as if it's been sewn, crocheted, and appliquéd rather than the digital artwork it really is. Download the asset pack included in this tutorial and let's get crafting with Adobe Photoshop.

1. Setting the Stage

Step 1

Starting with the "stock-crochet-01.jpg" file included in the downloadable assets folder attached to this tutorial, choose one of the white crocheted flower motifs. 

  1. Select around the design with the Lasso Tool (L) and Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) it into a New Document measuring 8 inches by 10 inches at 300 dpi. This will be our working document in which we'll create our design and edit scanned imagery.
  2. Use the Pen Tool (P) to carefully draw a path that outlines the crochet motif. In the Paths panel, hit Load Path as a Selection.
  3. Select the Inverse (Shift-Control-I) of the current selection and Delete the rest of the background. Touch up the motif with the Eraser Tool (E) set to Brush.
Editing scanned elements of design
As a small aside, I crocheted the scanned elements seen above from vintage lace patterns found on Pinterest and books my great grandmother and grandmother owned.

Step 2

Open the image titled "stock-felt-01.jpg". Create a New Layer in the Layers panel.

  1. Use the Pen Tool to draw the left half of a tree. I improvised in the design, but you can always refer to a stock photo of a tree or check out the shape of some outside your window (or wherever you encounter trees in the wild).
  2. Fill the path with the color of your choosing.
  3. Copy and Paste the half of your tree and mirror the copied half by going to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontally. Use the Move Tool (V) to align the two halves and Merge Down (Control-E) when satisfied with their placement. Draw additional branches as wanted with the Pen Tool, making sure to fill in paths and Merge Down layers that are a part of the tree silhouette.

Select the tree silhouette with the Magic Wand Tool (W) and Copy the selection from the felt image layer. Paste the copied felt tree into the main design document created in Step 1.

Draw your tree silhouette

Step 3

Create a New Layer behind the other layers and fill it in with your chosen shade of tan, taupe, or brown. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and add 15.19% of Monochromatic Gaussian Noise to the background in order to make it look like textured material.

Add Noise to backgrounds to create texture

Step 4

The crochet motif from Step 1 will be turned into a pattern. To do so, Copy and Paste the motif into a New Document (the size should be determined by the copied element. Go to Image > Canvas Size, and enter a width and height that is larger than the design element and square in dimension.

Paste two instances of the crochet motif. With the second layer motif selected in the Layers panel, go to Filter > Other > Offset and enter 452 in the Horizontal box and 421 in the Vertical box so your second motif appears in all four corners of the document.

Create a pattern by going to Edit > Define Pattern, and save your pattern with a name. You can also resize your image for the pattern under Image > Image Size if you find you'd like to have smaller crochet pieces within your design. We will implement this pattern later in this tutorial.

Create a simple repeated pattern with scanned elements

2. Creating the Composition

Step 1

Now that we've got the basics of editing the fiber element scans and have started to add elements into our working document, let's focus on the composition of our illustration itself.

Select the felt tree layer, Right-Click, and hit Blending Options. In Drop Shadow, enter the following attributes:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 75%
  • Angle139°
  • Distance: 17 px
  • Spread: 5%
  • Size: 24 px
Apply a Drop Shadow with Blending Options

Step 2

Use the Pen Tool to draw curving, rolling hill shapes in the background. Fill it with the color of your choosing. Since I wanted the background's graininess to be utilized, I filled the path on a new layer above the background with dark blue and selected Overlay in the Layers panel so it would appear as a shade of green. How Blend Modes affect your selected layer also depends on what colors and attributes are used in the layers beneath.

Use the Overlay Blend Mode to change the backgrounds color

Step 3

In the file "stock-crochet-01.jpg", SelectCopy, and Paste some of the crochet leaves into our working document. ScaleRotate and Move the pasted crocheted leaf elements around your composition as desired. Keep them on separate layers for now.

Repeat with the drawn leaf in the file "stock-drawing-01.jpg". Select the leaf with the Lasso Tool in the original stock document. Copy and Paste it into our working document. Use the Magic Wand Tool to Select and Delete the white background of the leaf (making sure Contiguous is selected in the tool's options).

Again, ScaleRotate, and Move the drawn leaves as needed. Optionally, you can also draw your own leaves and other drawn elements in a separate document or scan them in after drawing them out with a black pen on white paper.

Incorporate drawn and photographic elements into your composition

Step 4

Open the second drawn elements document, "stock-crochet-02.jpg", and grab some pumpkins in the same manner the leaf was CopiedPasted, and prepared in the previous step. Place them around your composition as desired.

Check out the other stock file stock-crochet-01.jpg for additional elements to fill in your composition. Mix and match faces, various doodles, etc. Alternatively, you can draw your own pumpkins, ghosts, etc., in order to give your version of this project a more personal touch.

Selecting scanned imagery

3. Coloring the Scanned Photographic Assets

Step 1

We'll start by coloring the scanned crochet leaves. On a layer above each crochet leaf layer, use the Brush Tool (B) to paint over the leaf in varying shades of red, orange, and yellow (think harvest colors).

Set the layer's Blend Mode to Color Burn and adjust your chosen colors as needed. When satisfied with your change in colors, Select both the painted layer and the corresponding crochet leaf and Merge Down (Control-E). Repeat for each crocheted leaf element throughout your composition.

Recolor scanned elements

Step 2

I decided to place the pattern created in Section 1, Step 4 within a circle to represent a full moon within my design.

  1. Using the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M), draw a circular selection on a New Layer above the background. Use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill in the pattern created previously (mine was reduced in size 50%).
  2. Select the fill pattern, create a New Layer, and fill the selection with a hue of orange or yellow.
  3. Set the orange fill color layer's Blend Mode to Linear Burn in the Layers panel. Merge the layers when satisfied with the color change.
Use a pattern for your design

Step 3

Let's create a quick framing feature within our composition.

  1. Cut out one of the little circular crochet frame pieces from the stock-crochet-01.jpg asset file and Paste it into the working document.
  2. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the lower third of the element and Delete it.
  3. Rotate the element 180° and then Copy and Paste several additional cut-off crocheted circle frames. Line them up at the top edge of the composition. I wound up using five of the circles in total. Merge the crochet frame elements together so they're in one easy-to-move layer.
Create a border or frame with custom assets

Step 4

Quick break from the tutorial itself to show you my composition so far. We have both scanned photographic elements and illustrated elements along with manipulations by way of Blend Modes. I added a Drop Shadow to both the crocheted moon layer and the teal frame layer using the same attributes as those done in Section 2, Step 1 with some slight changes in the shadow's angle.

Plan out your composition

Step 5

In order to color the drawn design elements, make New Layer above the entire composition and set the Blend Mode to Multiply. Then, using the Brush Tool and the default Hard Round brush, color in the drawn elements in shades of orange, yellow, brown, and gray.

Color in drawn design elements

Step 6

Once again, here's my piece so far with drawn elements colored in (almost completely). Note how the drawn leaves are in tones of brown and gray, whereas the crocheted leaves are yellows, oranges, and reds. This keeps these layered leaves from being lost amongst each other and brings some of the blue and green tones of the background into the main composition.

Use colors that haronize well

4. Creating Sewn Elements

Step 1

Make a New Layer above all of the others and apply a Gradient Overlay within the Blending Options of the layer with the following attributes:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Gradient: Transparent to light brown at 100% Opacity.
  • Style: Linear
  • Angle: 90°
  • Scale: 100%

Additionally, add a Drop Shadow to the same layer with the following attributes:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 75%
  • Angle146°
  • Distance: 5 px
  • Spread: 0%
  • Size: 5 px
Adding Blend Modes to a layer

Step 2

On the newly created layer, draw a path along the contour of the felt tree within your design. Set the stroke's color to light brown or white. Set the stroke's Weight to 1 pt and the Stroke Options to Dashed Line. If you hit More Options within Stroke Options, you can create an assortment of customized dotted or dashed lines by changing the size of dashes and gaps.

Creating custom dashed lines for stroked paths

Step 3

Use the dashed lines and layer style created in Steps 1–2 of this section to draw stitched lines that follow the contour of the felt tree. I found it easiest to do this with the Pen Tool, but you can skip the previous step and simply draw small dashes with the Paint Brush Tool if you'd rather.

using custom dashed lines

Step 4

Use the Ellipse Tool (U) to draw a large circle path over the orange moon element in your design. Stroke the path with a dashed line in the same way you did for Step 2 of this section. Set the stroke color to white, though, and the layer's Blend Mode to Overlay. I also added a subtle Drop Shadow to this layer.

Use shape tools to draw in sewn lines

Step 5

Outline the hills, leaves, and moon elements in either dashed lines or quickly drawn hatch lines along the contour of the photographic elements. Make sure the lines are white and that you set the layer (Rasterize path layers and Merge them together into one embroidered style layer) to Overlay in the Layers panel. Apply a subtle and simple Drop Shadow to this layer as well (I used the same settings from Section 2, Step 1).

Use blend modes to create a appliqued look

Well Done, You're Through!

Another fun Halloween-inspired tutorial has come to an end. I hope you enjoyed using drawn and photographic elements to create an illustrated collage piece. Show off your design in the comments section below. Or, create your own craft-inspired design elements and share that piece instead! If more crafting takes your fancy, learn sewing and crochet techniques over at our Crafts & DIY section here on Tuts+.

The final collage created in this tutorial
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