Creating Comics Using Photoshop Brushes

Learn how illustrator Daniel Presedo has perfected the use of digital painting tools to create comic illustrations

Illustration from a comic book.

Some of the most iconic images and illustrated stories live in comic books and cartoons. Using digital painting tools, creating comic illustrations has never been easier. Daniel Presedo, a member of the Photoshop team here at Adobe, is also a designer and digital artist. He has perfected the use of Photoshop’s digital tools to create his own comics and illustrations.


Image source: Daniel Presedo.

Even as a child, Daniel was always drawing. His transition to digital art has been a search for marrying his love for sketchbooks with the necessity of digital execution. “I realized I was trying to marry basic, analog artwork with electronic work, and at the same time, trying to make it less obvious that I was using electronics over analog work,” Daniel says. “But I’ve always, always used Photoshop and the tools there in some form. I found balance in discovering how to still have an authentic signature in my digital work. There’s nothing wrong with digital. It’s a beautiful canvas too.”

Daniel’s love for digital art has led him to create some beautiful comic illustrations. One reason why Daniel says cartoons and comics are the perfect place to start delving into digital art is that it’s hard to go wrong. The way you visually depict your ideas in cartoons or comic style images can be as unique to your own style as you want. Your technique doesn’t have to be perfect at first. So-called “imperfections” can contribute to authenticity and emotion.

The Joker.

Image source: Daniel Presedo.

Creating your own comic: Where to begin

When creating a comic, Daniel suggests you start where you always start in design: with your spark, your idea, that thing that you want to work on. “Capture every bit of inspiration in the moment. If you’re not by your computer, put it down in a notebook or snap a photo or use Adobe Capture to digitize an inspirational element,” he says. “Then, you can take your idea to your digital canvas. When you know what you want your end result to be, everything else fills out. You have to put all of those pieces together, and then you can start drawing and making templates.”

Daniel also recommends starting on a website like Art Station that presents design challenges and allows people to share advice as you submit your work. You can also find helpful tutorials for different techniques and styles on YouTube.

Daniel loves the freedom of working through his templates in Photoshop where he can sketch and experiment with brushes without worrying about “messing up” what he has created. “Brush presets and other preset tools are where the magic happens,” he says. “When you create something you love, you can save it and have it to use in different iterations from then on.”

If you make a mistake or a go down a path that doesn’t work, you can go back and start again from the place you last felt more confident. Daniel says, “When you’re working in Photoshop, things like ‘Undo’ and ‘History’ and ‘Save As’ allow you to explore and be more adventurous, in some ways, than you might otherwise be.”__

Illustration from comic book.

Image source: Daniel Presedo.

How cartoon and comic illustrations can fit into your life and workflow

Cartoons and comic illustrations are a great place to start as you dip your toe into digital painting. They can be a personal hobby, but they can also have a creative place in business design. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Remember to embrace your individuality to bring personality to the comics you create and don’t worry about the imperfections. As you explore photoshop brushes in creating comic characters, you’ll be inspired to experiment with new techniques and ideas, and that’s what makes digital painting so exciting.

Don’t leave your carefully crafted brushes at home! With Adobe Sketch on iOS, you can create wherever inspiration strikes. Add Photoshop brushes to your Creative Cloud Library and access them from inside of Adobe Sketch while on the go. Learn how.

(Coming soon for you too, Android users!)