Creative Connection

Over His Shoulder: Watch Karol Banach Work

Although Polish illustrator and graphic designer Karol Banach is only a few years out of school, his style is already highly developed and in demand. Banach recently recorded a series of screen-capture videos that reveal his process. In the videos below, you’ll see Banach draw his signature characters, then add textures from Adobe Stock.  

Watch Banach go from sketch to finished illustration. Try it yourself and get 10 free Stock assets here.

Background and Basic Shapes

Banach uses Adobe Photoshop CC for his illustration process. He begins by copying and pasting a pencil sketch into a new file and setting the sketch layer’s blend mode to Multiply. On a new layer, he creates a perfect circle with the Ellipse tool and fills it with colour to make the base of the illustration. 

Banach’s characters are often playfully surreal blends of animal and human. His first character, which he calls “the Painter,” will be a dog-man hybrid. To make it, he switches to Photoshop’s Lasso tool and start drawing the shapes. When finished with a shape, he chooses a brush and fills the shapes with colour. 

He switches to Photoshop’s Pen tool to draw the shape of the shirt, which he wants to be more precise. Later, he selects the Magic Wand tool, clicks on the arm, and goes to the white shirt layer underneath the arm. With the Erase tool, he simply erases the white colour of the shirt so the arm colour can show through. 

As you can see in the above video, Banach likes to employ a variety of tools. In addition to the tools already mentioned, he also picks the Brush tool for adding details and sometimes chooses the Pencil tool for drawing. 

The Painter, Continued

This video begins with Banach using the Paint Bucket tool to change the Painter’s skin colour to orange by selecting the proper layer and clicking on the object.  You’ll also see him add more details, such as the Painter’s tie and shirt collar. He uses the Brush tool at a partial opacity to make shadows. 

Here’s a tip from Banach: Don’t be afraid to work on lots of layers! “It’s easier to replace something later,” he explains. 

Finishing the Painter

Watch the start of this video to see one of Banach’s techniques for adding depth. He draws the Painter’s tongue using the Pen tool, changes its layer blend mode to Multiply, and copies the layer. He makes the bottom tongue layer white and its blend mode Normal, then moves the bottom layer for an interesting effect. The Painter’s ear gets a similar treatment. 

He spends the rest of this video refining the Painter.  

He later uses the same techniques to draw the shapes, colours, and shadows for the illustration’s other characters. Because it takes hours more—too long to expect you to sit through the footage—the next video skips ahead to a different part of his process. 

Adding Patterns

Before starting to record his screen, Banach licensed and downloaded assets from Adobe Stock to use as patterns. This video begins with Banach copying and pasting one of the Adobe Stock files into the illustration. 

In the layer he wants to be patterned, he makes a selection with the Magic Wand tool, clicks on the pattern file layer in the Layers panel, right-clicks to access the option Reverse selection, and hits the Delete key on his keyboard. Lastly, he changes the layer blend mode to Multiply. 

He then uses another Adobe Stock file to add a checkered pattern to the Painter’s trousers. 

Ageing the Easel

In this screen-capture video, Banach uses another pattern to distress the Painter’s easel. 

After copying and pasting the Adobe Stock file into the illustration, he uses Photoshop’s Transform function to distort the pattern. It feels a little heavy-handed, so he plays with the Blend Mode and Erase tool until he’s satisfied with the results. 

Making the Fungus Fun

Banach applied his final Adobe Stock pattern on the big mushroom in the right part of the illustration using a process similar to the other patterns. With the Transform tool, he makes the flecks of the pattern appear to be applied in perspective. He also changes the pattern’s colour.

Karol Banach’s portfolio is a delight. Spend some time enjoying it on his website and Behance page. 

Graphic Design, Illustration

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