Create artwork with both real and digital brushstrokes


Adi Gilbert is a Bristol-based illustrator and designer. He mostly produces work for the BMX and motorcycle scenes, but also has more commercial clients, including Nokia, Channel 4, Toshiba, AOL and Red Bull. Most recently, Adi illustrated the cover of The Albion magazine and started a brand called Folklore.  

In this tutorial, Adi Gilbert explains how he produces beautifully-crafted illustrations using a blend of traditional brushwork, and digital techniques with a tablet, stylus and Photoshop. 

See also: 83 Best Photoshop tutorials

“I like to think of my Mac and my tablet as just another tool alongside my pencils, brushes and inks,” says Adi, “and try to combine them all to keep a hand-crafted feel to my work.”

By using traditional drawing techniques and textures, you can create a tactile, imperfect piece that can then be coloured and enhanced with editable, digital layering. This technique gives you the best of both worlds, especially when working to deadlines or changing requirements. 

The illustration is a reinterpretation of a piece he did for a motorcycle magazine. He describes it as: “A pretty good example of how you can take advantage of the awesome potential a tablet and stylus can give, especially if you are more comfortable with holding a pencil or brush than working with a mouse. Unleash the power!”

Time to complete 

1-2 days


Photoshop, scanning software, tablet

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