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Making a monster with Monez

Fresh from his workshop at the Apple Store in Singapore, illustrator Monez gave us a step by step guide to the techniques he uses to create a monster illustration in Affinity Photo for iPad…

This tutorial uses a combination of vector and raster illustration techniques in Affinity Photo for iPad.


First, I pick a brush from the ‘Drawing’ category in the Brushes Studio and then make a rough sketch using the Paint Brush Tool.

Blocking colour/flat colour

I’m using the Pen Tool and Node Tool to make the overall body of the monster. I select Use Fill to fill each shape with colour.

Clipping the details

Then I create the detail! Draw details using the Pen Tool or Rectangle Tool which allows you to pick from different shapes. Each new shape you draw will appear on a new layer.

Here’s how we make the details look like they’re inside the body shape of the monster. The term for this is ‘clipping to a layer’.

  • Go to the Layers Studio, select your detail layer and drag it to the layer that you want to clip it to, in this case the body shape of the monster (let’s call that the ‘parent layer’).

  • When you see a horizontal blue line across the centre of the parent layer, drop the detail layer and it will appear indented below in the Layers Studio.

  • Well done! You clipped your detail to the body shape of your monster!

Repeat this step to add as much detail as you like. Note that this method works with any two layers in your document—we’ll do this again later!

Multiple shapes clipped to the same layer, note how this looks in the Layers Studio

I create more shapes and block out with other solid colours, we will edit colour later because it’s easier to recolour after you have the whole monster blocked out.

The fish monster made from just flat block shapes made with the Pen Tool and Shapes.

Add colour gradients

To make the colour more interesting, add a gradient to every shape.

  • Select the Gradient Tool and drag across your selected shape.
  • Recolour the end stops using the Colour Studio. You can select end stops to colour them independently.
  • Using the Gradient Tool is very easy and fun, you can see the colour changing when you drag the pointer on the Colour Wheel.


This is the part that I really love—adding texture. Texture will make a flat illustration look more realistic. Affinity Photo for iPad has really good default texture brushes, but you can also import texture brushes from other sources. The pattern brushes used here are by Frankentoon and can be purchased on his shop.

“Texture will make a flat illustration look more realistic”

To add texture inside the shape, I use the same ‘clipping the details’ technique as before.

  • Choose the Paint Brush Tool and pick a brush that you love from the Brushes Studio.
  • To make your first texture: just apply the brush on the spot that you want.
  • It will automatically make a new layer for that brush stroke, that’s your first texture layer!
  • Now go to Layers Studio, drag the texture layer to the layer that you want to clip your texture to (let’s call it the ‘parent layer’). You will see a horizontal blue line across the centre of that layer. Now drop the texture layer and it will appear indented below the parent layer. The texture layer will now be clipped by the parent layer.
  • Now your brush stroke is located inside/clipped by the shape, you can erase (using the Eraser Brush) or add the other texture on that brush layer—repeat this method on the other shapes.
The texture brush layer before it is clipped by a shape layer.
The texture brush layer after it is clipped by a shape layer.

Well Done! You’ve made a monster!

Now your monster is ready to rock! You can add a background, if you like too.

Create a background

Using the Paint Brush Tool, sketch to create the idea of the background. We will use all of the same techniques to create the background that we used to create the monster!

I decided to put the main character in the water, since I made it with no feet. I also added a sky, mountains and trees and I am also thinking about the foreground to make the atmosphere more realistic.

Blocking the shapes

Now we need to use the same techniques we used when blocking the shapes to make the monster. We use the Pen Tool to create shapes based on the sketch. I select Use Fill to fill each shape with colour and use Gradient Tool to create shading.

Where we need to add detail and texture to shapes—inside the leaves for example, clip that detail and texture to the shapes by using ‘clipping the details’ technique again. Repeat this on all the shapes you want to add detail and texture to.


After creating our background, we can also play around to edit the colour using the Adjustments Studio, I choose to edit the brightness and contrast.

Also, you can play around with the Noise, it’s on the Colour Studio. I use it to make the shapes look like a grainy photo.


I added a Gaussian Blur to two foreground elements to give a feeling of depth.

The foreground​ foliage, shown selected in the Layers Studio, prior to having Gaussian Blur applied.
The foreground foliage, shown selected, after having Gaussian Blur applied.


And here’s the final result:

For more about Monez, check out our recent interview about his illustration work or visit him at

Artist relations

Charlotte is an illustrator and arts lecturer who is passionate about the creative industries and is now part of our artist relations team. Her interests include mid 20th century inspired design, comic books, board games, movie memorabilia, baking cakes, feminism and yoga. She shares her 1960’s home with her graphic designer husband and her toddler son who likes to hide her iPad. Get in touch with Charlotte if you have work you have made in Affinity apps to share with us, or tag your work with #madeinaffinity in the usual places.

Credits & Footnotes

Illustrations are copyright © of Monez Guzmang