Create a dynamic illustration with the use of ink splats in Photoshop
Begin by sourcing references to help you with your illustration. Place them in the document and position them so that the ball is about two-thirds into the composition. Next, use a Hard Round Pressure Size brush at about size 10 to begin drawing on a new layer above.
On a new layer, go over the rough sketch, this time with more precise lines and details. Use slightly smaller brushstrokes for details and thicker for outlines. We’ve changed the expression of the main face with another reference image to help convey the energy of the illustration.
On a new layer, use a Black Hard Round brush to roughly go over the areas where the shadows on your players would be. Once finalised, you can use the Eraser tool to clean up the edges. Set the layer to 30% Opacity.
Swirling clouds help to add a sense of motion. First, fill up the sky area with grey. On a second layer, use a White Hard Round Pressure Opacity brush, Opacity 40%, to draw some swirls. Repeat on a third layer and add some thin, black outlines for the clouds.
Add colours by pathing the individual parts out and then filling them with your desired colours. Using these paths as masks, mask the shadow layer to only affect what he is wearing. Set this layer to Color Burn, Opacity 30%. Duplicate this layer, this time only affecting the skin tones.
Invert the black outlines of the opponents to white. Select the path layer>right-click>Blending Options>Gradient Overlay. Choose your desired colours, rotate the angle of the gradient parallel to adjust the transition. We chose orange for their jerseys to blend with the background and be in contrast to our main subject.
Add more detail using Gradient Overlay. This is similar to how we added gradients previously, only this time choosing a white-to-beige colour, with blend mode set to Soft Light. Do this for all of the base skin-colour layers of our hero.
Repeat this for all the shadows of our hero, this time setting the blend mode to Multiply. You have created a subtle four-tone detailed colouring for the main subject. At this stage, you can add additional details to the hair and face on a new layer.
Path out a strip on the side of the jersey, fill it with purple, add a Stroke of 3px, with Position set to Outside. Repeat this for the sleeves as well. Group the sleeves layer and add a group mask to easily mask out areas with too much black outline.
Use a Soft Round brush, set the colour to #8affcf, and brush in slightly on the jersey and shorts to create a transition. Use the paths you have created previously to mask within them. Repeat this step, this time using an orange colour to brush the top of the socks.
Import an ink texture into your artwork, and set the layer blending mode to Soft Light. Using the shadow paths created earlier, mask the texture within. Repeat this step for the rest of the shadows. We will do the same for the clothes and skin layers.
On a new Soft Light layer with an Opacity of 75%, use a Hard Round brush to brush in the shadows. Use a white Hard Round brush, set it to Soft Light, and brush in the midtones on a new layer. Finally, use a white Hard Round brush to brush in the highlights.
Select a spaced, round brush. Fill the seat area with a black brush with one swipe. Repeat this on a new layer, this time in a slightly higher position and using grey. Finally, swipe just once over the top of the row, this time using a white colour.
Using a Color Overlay, fill these layers with different colours. On a new layer, set the Spacing from 5% to 50% under Brush Tip Shape and begin brushing. Fill this layer with a different colour. Repeat this step a few times with different Spacing settings to create random colour dots.
Add a Curves adjustment layer and pull down the centre slightly to darken the crowd layers. Import a paint texture, desaturate it and set to Hard Light at 50% Opacity. Curve it to fit the flow of the crowd using Warp>Arch transformation. You have now created rows with random crowds.
Repeat the previous step for the bottom row. Opt/Alt-click the two layer groups to make a selection. Hide any overlapping layers above. Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+C to Copy Merge the layers. Paste this on a new layer. Go to Filter>Filter Gallery>Poster Edges. Apply the settings 2, 1, 2.
Import paint splat brushes. Position them behind our hero. Colour the main splats yellow, to green, and those behind our hero to dark blue. Import a scratchy paper texture, invert it and set to Lighten, and place them above our hero.
Set a paper texture to Soft Light, 50% Opacity. Set another paper texture to Darken and another to Soft Light. Set a watercolour texture to Screen. Group them into a Texture folder and set to Multiply with 50% Opacity.
With the textures in, it’s time to balance the colours. Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer set to 20. Add a Cooling Filter (80) Photo Filter. Add a Curves adjustment, with the Red Channel input at 22. Finally desaturate slightly with a Hue/ Saturation layer with Saturation at -10.