October Mailer Process-Wilson

1. Roughs-Of course, we start with the initial scribble. I do this on any paper, any where, whenever the idea hits and I happen to have paper and pencil ready. It doesn’t need to be fully fleshed out but enough that by the time I get home to scan it in, I’ll still have some idea what the heck the idea was.

2. Tights-Here I refine the image more. Sometimes there will be a stage between this and that really rough sketch above. But time was of the essence and I had a pretty good idea of the direction I wanted this to take.

3. Light source study-I threw these tones in to give myself a rough idea of the light source. I laid a flat tone of brown in another layer and dropped the opacity down. Then I used the eraser to act as the light source and erased where the light was touching and generating from.

4. I start laying in some base tonal colors for the background. If I had more time I would have layed in base tones on every character as well. But time was short and I had a good idea of what colors the costumes and whatnot were going to be.

5. At this stage I start painting in the characters from the background to the foreground. You can really do this in any order that you like.

6. Moving more and more forward. It’s the fairies turn!!

7. You’d think I was done at this stage, but with a break and a return to the image I realize how very, very GREEN everything is looking! Must correct that!

8. I use curves, levels and adjustment layers to pull out the green and boost my colors from being so murky. (Layer/Adjustment Layer/Curves-Levels) Curves to remove the Green and Levels to brighten my lights and remove murkiness. Isn’t Photoshop great!!! Now I have a finished image ready to be added to our mailer in time for Halloween!

Let me know if you have any questions!!


  1. Charles Cawley

    Thanks for showing your process here.
    Light looks really great. Like the detail on the bag and jack-o-lantern.

    photoshop really is great

    -Charles Cawley

  2. ;-Dave Pierce

    The work is excellent, but I liked the concept even more! What a fun idea! Thanks for sharing your process too. ;-D

  3. Valerie Rajcic

    It was very interesting, thanks for sharing.

  4. Graham Higgins

    I often find that the pencil-stage is the most interesting stage to do, before you start refining. P-shop is wonderful but I think that with so many ways to produce ‘interesting’ effects, you have to have a good, critical idea of the finish you’re aiming for. Thanks for the encouragement to persist in trying to master the Curves control!

    • WilsonWJr

      Thanks Graham. The one thing you lose with Photoshop is the chance to make “HAPPY” mistakes. My style has taken leaps when I worked traditionally because of such a thing. But I do like the kind of control it can give you in altering and making corrections to your images as you work. I guess we take the good with the bad in many ways! 🙂

  5. Nina Richards

    I love it…the thought process and the creative one as well! It’s always so nice to see how the minds of other artists work. I find it inspiring and encouraging. I’m also impressed that you did it in Photoshop, which I’m still, and always will be, learning. It’s such a versatile program but I still rely on Illustrator for most of my creations, although I love working in Photoshop, too. I’m impressed with how you handled the lighting and the “green issue”. Nicely done and thank you for sharing.

    • WilsonWJr

      Thanks Nina! If you look on my personal blog at, I have other walkthroughs of my process as well as brushes that I use. That may be of help to you! I love that kind of stuff ,personally.

  6. Brad Blahnik

    I love the post, it’s nice to see the way you work.


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