Photoshop sticker art

Add interest to drab environments by enhancing them with characters of your own. Derek Lea brands the streets.

When you start to view the city around you as a canvas, ideas for enhancing it will naturally begin to flow. There are so many locations that could use some added interest - the hardest part of the process can often be deciding where to begin.

Over the years, we have been bombarded with signage and advertisements in such abundance that we barely even notice the environment around us. We take the ordinary for granted and exist in a world of filtered tunnel vision, not noticing our surroundings unless something different catches our eye. In this tutorial, we're going to create a number of characters in Photoshop to remedy this indifference in passers-by. Perhaps world-famous graphic designer Paul Rand didn't have sticker art in mind when he stated, "The problem of the artist is to defamiliarise the ordinary", but defamiliarising the ordinary is exactly what we're going to set out to do here.

The medium of the urban artist can be many things. Alongside stickering, there is the ever-popular spray can, as well as the trusty old permanent marker. And while the latter two have their benefits, stickering allows us to achieve much more in terms of detail. Creating elaborate pieces with spray paint or markers requires a certain time commitment, and for obvious reasons you don't necessarily want to spend a lot of time in a single location. Stickering is quite different - simply peel, stick, and go.

In the following tutorial, we're going to show you exactly how to create a number of different characters within Photoshop. Starting with scanned drawings, ours or your own, we'll explain how to create a sharp outline and then fill in colours on a number of layers. Keeping the image components separated into layers means we can perform numerous colour alterations, allowing us to create a variety of versions in different hues.

The Photoshop art is then strategically positioned on the page to use all of the space effectively and is then printed out on full sheets of sticker paper. Once printed, you simply have to cut them out and hit the streets. If it's a reputation you're after, do a substantial amount of stickering in a single area. Sticker the same location with similar characters every so often and, before you know it, people will recognise and talk about your mysterious art.

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