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Karen Lee shares her Photoshop Technique

Karen Lee is a divine Illustrator. She holds the honor of being a consistent contributor to Highlights magazine as well as having a number of trade Children’s Books under her belt.

We are oh so lucky that she has agreed to share some of her technique and process on our blog. So get out your pencils and paper it’s time for a lesson folks! Enjoy!

Lately I’ve been exploring my darker side in my development pieces, but that doesn’t mean I’ve quit doing the lighter work. I’ve had several assignments for Highlights lately and have used my digital technique with a great deal more fluency. I’ll do a quick tutorial on one image from a series I did for the June issue.

 I had to revise part of the image before I had the go-ahead for final so I pieced it together in photoshop, nudged a few other elements until the composition worked and allowed room for the call-out type. I had scanned it at 600dpi (Epson Perfection V500 for the geeks out there). Once I opened it in Photoshop (again, Geeks – an elderly CS5 on a Mac Power PC OS5, Wacom tablet) I hit command-L (or Image–>Adjustment–>Levels). In the dialog box I select the white eyedropper, set white point as:

 

 

I touch it to the sketch in a grayish area and that will set that as my lightest point. I play around with it a lot, select the black eyedropper, set black point and touch that to a dark point on the sketch, move the gray slider on Input Levels until I like the balance. Hit okay. I like to convert it to grayscale at this point also.
After that I clean up the sketch using my favorite sandy textured brush. It is not essential that it is perfect – I continue to tweak that layer throughout. At this point I change the image size to 400DPI.
Now double click on the background layer:

 

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