Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pretty in Pink with a Spring Bonnet - Book Cover Art and Colorizing Tutorial

Pretty in pink is my latest digital compilation using Photoshop. 
 I'm continuing to teach myself how to use Photoshop, so I've documented how 
I created her below for those who would like to know how I did it.

I always seem to be reading books that have three in the series; so I decided to create a third Book Cover Art project to complete my own creative trilogy.  I'm continuing with my Spring theme and PaperWhimsy products so they all coordinate quite well.

Pretty in Pink with Spring Bonnet by EKDuncan 2011

This is the 3rd and final installment of my Spring Book Cover Art series.
Click HERE to see the 1st in the series - Framed Lady
Click HERE to see the 2nd in the series - Country Lass in Blue

All three projects were inspired by a recent tutorial by 
Gale of PaperWhimsy and I can't thank her enough for 
lighting my fire to create these fun Book Covers.
Click HERE to see Gale's tutorial  

or go to 
click Blog and then scroll down to the March 20, 2011 entry
to see Gale's great Stage Art Project and link to her tutorial.


 So, if you are a curious cat like I am and wondering
"how did she do that" ...

 Here's How

Please remember there are many ways to do things in Photoshop;
This is just how I got at my end result.

The PaperWhimsy products I used all came from the 
 I started with this great vintage image titled The Maiden 04
from the PaperWhimsy Beautiful faces Collection

 I removed the background in Photoshop using the erase tool.
Zooming in allowed me to clearly see what I wanted to remove 
and what I needed to keep.
I also changed the size of my erase tool depending if I was working close 
to the figure or erasing the surrounding background.
I then cropped out all the extra areas including the title and saved my lady 
with transparent background as a PNG file

 I then added a background layer so I could do some fine tuning and get her just right.
This solid background will help me see any areas I missed and also where 
there might be some sharp corners or areas that are just not aesthetically appealing.

Once I was pleased with her appearance I removed the background layer 
and re-saved the PNG image with transparent background.

 This is a trick I recently learned from Gayle at PaperWhimsy.
Thanks Gale this Inverse trick has made colorizing images so much easier.

I started by using the Magic Wand tool and clicked on the transparent background.
This caused the "marching ants" to dance around between the figure and the edges.

 Next I chose Select - Inverse from the menu.
This caused the "marching ants" to only dance around the figure of the lady, providing a border 
so that when I add in my layers of color; the color does not run outside of those lines.

I still have to be careful coloring withing the image 
but I no longer have to worry about having stray color in the transparent areas.

 I add a new layer for each item I color and I title each layer with the portion of the 
image I'm coloring and also list the color key code I used.

Having a separate layer for each area being colored will allow for easy cleanup's 
and color changes at any time.

Listing the color code I used on that layer will allow me to know the exact 
color used should I need to make any corrections later on or if I want to 
use that exact color on another layer.
(I find this to be much more accurate that relying on the eyedropper tool 
if I need to make a correction later on)

I also find coloring in a darker color helps me to make sure I have full coverage everywhere
I need it, after I'm done with the layer I can adjust the color via the blending mode and opacity 
or I can change the entire color completely with a click or two and the paint bucket tool.

So here she is all colored in and pretty in pink.
Her skin tone is much lighter now that I've changed the Opacity to 51%

This screen shot shows all my colorized layers and having the name of what they colored 
and the exact color codes came in most handy several time since I would move on to another layer 
only to find out I missed a spot here or there and that I needed to erase this or that from another layer.

Also by keeping separate layers I am able to change the blending mode and opacity 
so that I can get the coloring effect and shade I'm looking for.

Examples of some of my color layers:

Eye Color is color code 448d0f 
blending mode is Overlay
Opacity is 100%

Hair Base Color is color code 90571a
blending mode is Multiply
Opacity is 55%

Hair Highlights is color code daab78
blending mode is Soft Light
Opacity is 75%

Bodice and Skirt are color code ad1360
blending mode is Soft Light
Opacity is 68%

Sleeves and Collar are color code fad6e8
blending mode is Multiply
Opacity is 42%

 These separate layers allow me to make quick and easy color changes going forward.
The trick is to remember to save my psd file and not accidentally trash it as I have done in the past.

To change a layer color all I need to do is:
select the layer -  find a new color - select the paint bucket tool 
and then click on that area of my project.

It only took a few clicks to change her eye color to blue.
If I wanted to keep this change I would also click on the opposite eye
and change the color code number on the layer description.


 So now that I have my fair maiden colored for a spring party 
I put the rest of the book cover together.

Rose Mat from the Old Mat 01 Sheet
Part of the PaperWhimsy Old books and Papers Collection
I removed the center of the frame, 
making it transparent, so it became a window for my other elements.

Pastel Buttercup Frame from the PaperWhimsy Elements Collection.

I cropped away the edges of this image and saved it as a new PNG file 
so that the inner portion of this image became a new frame.
This new inner portion of this fame became the outer frame of my project.

How I changed the color of the frame to work with my other elements:
  • I added a new layer, used the eyedropper tool on the Rose colored mat.        
  • I then applied that color via the paint bucket tool to the new layer.                
  • I clipped the new color layer to the frame via Layer - create Clipping Mask 
  • I changed the blending mode to Color and the Opacity stayed at 100%         

Damask 05 from the PaperWhimsy Background Colletion

This is the background wallpaper for this project.
I sized it down when I placed it behind the pretty lady and altered the color.
The color change was made by selecting the layer for this item.
Then from the main toolbar I selected 
Image - Adjustments - Hue/Saturation
I edited  Master with
Hue:  -5           
Saturation:  -75
Lightness:  +31
This changed the image to a nice soft rose color.

The Lady image is the Top layer in my layers pallet.
I lined up her bottom and side edge with the window cut out and
I sized the mat so her hat would overlap the left side.
This gave her the appearance of peeking out the window,
like my other cover girls.

 The final touch to this project was the drop shadows 
I added to each frame layer and for the image of the lady.  
This gave it that great dimensional effect Gale wrote about in her Stage Tutorial 
over on the PaperWhimsy blog section for March 20, 2011.


Many thanks to Gale and PaperWhimsy for inspiration and great digital images.

I hope you have enjoyed my continuing Photoshop create Quest.
Please drop back in again and fell free to leave me a note if you are liking what you see 
or if there is something more you would like to know about a previous post.  

As always...

 Grins and Giggles,


  1. Loved your tutorial It is basically what I used to do as well to extract things. Now I add a new adjustment layer (hue and saturation) instead of just a regular layer, and I can then block out the different elements for each layer. Then I can mess with just the adjustment layer without having to double all the layers. Much easier! Do you use this method still, or have you branched out into adjustment layers?

    1. Hey Sarah - Yes you are so right, there's always multiple ways of doing things when using editing programs like Photoshop and I love hearing how others like to work on projects and the "short cuts" they use.

      Adjustment layers are my best friend and I'm so glad I learned to use them pretty early on since they do save a lot of time and aggravation later on when I need to re-edit a project. I use a lot of different techniques now days in Photoshop depending on what I need to accomplish. I love revisiting some of the early learning experiences I shared on my blog when I was just starting to use Photoshop, like this post, so thanks for dropping me a line about it.

      Best wishes on your continuing enjoyment of working in Photoshop and thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed the tutorial and sharing your preferred way of working with layers.