Working with Photographs: Pop Art Edition

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Usually, when I use photographs in my work, it's usually for reference. But for this tutorial, let's
use photographs as a basis for pop art.


1. To start with, I picked out a photograph to use. Since I have a background in photography, I have no trouble finding suitable images to work with:

2. First, I rotated the image using the {Transform tool}, cropped it by making a selection over the cropped image, and adjusted the brightness:

OPTIONAL: The {Extract Line} function isn't necessary, but it can help in finding shapes to work with, especially from underexposed areas:


1. Once I'm happy with the photograph, I made a new layer and sketched everything out. For the layer, I recommend the Vector layer, as it gives you more control over your lines:

As you can see, I changed some things to not make it an exact photographic trace. I exaggerated the size of the mountains:

And added a cumulonimbus cloud and a joshua tree:

Now the REAL fun can begin...


1. I added flats to every part of the painting, referencing a certain series of pop art paintings as I go along:

2.Once I finished the clouds and mountains, I added a gradient for the sky:

All of the parts are painted on seperate layers:

3. Now comes the fun part: adding detail. Note that I don't give detail to the desert floor nor the mountains because the paintings I'm referencing usually don't tend to add detail to these parts:

The car in particular took me the longest to complete, as it is the most detailed. I made two layers for it alone:

Optional: With a white layer set to color, I check for values and adjust them accordingly:

To finish it up, I added a paper texture and a noise filter:

Both materials I used can be found in the links below:

Finally, here's another painting I did around the exact same time using the same steps:


Now let's see how you interpret these steps for your next piece. I love to see how you did.

Until next time...



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