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Creating a ramen shop poster with Pierre Kleinhouse

My name is Pierre Kleinhouse and I’m a freelance illustrator and designer. I’m here on Affinity Spotlight to share with you the full illustration and design process of my ‘Ramen Shop’ poster, using Affinity Designer.

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.

Pierre talks us through his process

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.

Visit Pierre’s website to see more of his work or follow him on Instagram. You can also check out his videos on Youtube.