The point of this video session is not to teach you how to draw a tiger, but to share with you my work process and the different ways you can work using Affinity Designer.
I think Affinity Designer is perfect for combining illustration and design work, and this poster is a good example of the different things you can achieve with the app.
Let’s get started.
1. The sketch
I started by selecting an A3 document in Affinity Designer and set up a guide in the centre of the canvas. I dragged a scan of my pre-drawn sketch into the app and then created a new layer to redraw my line-art and create a cleaner version of the sketch. I took advantage of the Symmetry Tool for this as most of my design is symmetrical.
2. Vector shapes
After the sketch was done, I deleted the original scan layer and started working on the tiger illustration. To keep things simple, at this stage, I only worked with vector shapes in the Designer Persona and I mostly used simple geometric shapes. Half of this illustration is actually made of ellipses!
I like to use a limited colour palette for most of my illustrations, so this time I worked with just three different colours for the entire poster.
I kept the sketch layer on top and started creating vector shapes underneath it. The sketch colour isn’t completely black, it’s actually a dark grey colour, so I can still see it on top of the black shapes. I also referred back to the guide as I worked in order to keep things symmetrical.
3. Adding details
Once I had all the vector shapes in place, I stared getting into the small details of the illustration. For this step, I used the Pixel Persona to add lines and shadows with different raster brushes. I also used a drawing tablet to be able to draw more freely and play with the pressure amount of each brush.
I then used a brush that is called ‘Brush Pen’ to create the fine lines of the fur of the tiger. I also used a brush called ‘Oil Pastel’ from the Dry Media category to add grainy shadows in areas like the tiger’s mouth and nose.
4. Typography & final details
Once the tiger illustration was done, I moved to the final step of the process: adding typography and design elements. I started with the banner at the bottom of the poster and worked with vector ellipse shapes to create the waves pattern.
For the main title, I created a vector ellipse shape, then selected the Artistic Text Tool and clicked on top of the ellipse so the text would align according to the shape. I tested a few fonts and decided to use the font ‘Oswald’ because it’s a relatively tall font that worked well with the composition I was aiming for. At this point, I had a bit too much empty space at the top and bottom of the poster, so I cropped the canvas to be slightly shorter and added a frame.
I wanted the text that says ‘ramen’ in Japanese to be hand drawn, so I found a reference and worked with a brush on top of it.
I also added some small ornament details to the ramen bowl and the frame around the edge of the poster.
The last thing I did was add a layer on top of everything, worked with a couple of dry media brushes and then added some texture to the whole poster to make it feel a bit grungier and older.
And that’s it! This is my final ramen poster design:
I hope this process breakdown was helpful to you!
If you tried to follow along to create your own poster, feel free to tag me @pierre_kleinhouse and @affinitybyserif on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with!
In our Lockdown 2020: Affinity creative sessions Pierre also shared his process for creating a two-colour screenprint in Affinity Designer. Head over to our YouTube channel to check out his video.