Editorial Illustration Tutorial: From Drawing to Photoshop

Learn how to transform a written article into a digital illustration with tips on drawing, color use, and texture.
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  • Lectures 35
  • Length 2.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 4/2015 English

Course Description

Editorial illustration is artwork created in response to written text, usually an article in a magazine, newspaper, or blog. In this course, we will focus on how to analyze a text, develop a unique idea, and communicate that concept visually as a partner to the article. Editorial illustration is an exciting field because it allows the illustrator to inject their own opinions and unique voice into the work. We'll focus on how to inject your own personality into your expressive illustration while still communicating your concept and illuminating the written word.

Transform Words into Illustrations

  • History + Inspiration: Learn about the history of editorial illustration and current trailblazers
  • Researching + Thinking: Learn about artistic style and visual references
  • Sketching: Learn how to overcome blank-page-phobia and start sketching
  • Drawing: Learn techniques for strengthening and finishing your drawing
  • Line, Value, and Color: Learn about color theory and linework tips
  • Digital Process: Learn about coloring an illustration in Photoshop
  • Textures + Hand-Drawn Type: Learn to create your own textures and drawn type

Course Concepts and Overview

To show you all this, I'm going to take you through my step by step process of creating an editorial illustration. You'll see my process from the original text article to researching, sketching, drawing, revisions, digital production, all the way to final illustration. I'll also show you many of my own personal Photoshop techniques for creating illustrations with bold colors and tantalizing textures. In addition, I will walk you through some illustration fundamentals that are often misunderstood including line, tone, value, and color, to help make your drawing as strong as possible.

By the end of this course, you will have the skills to transform a boring text-only article into a professional editorial illustration that communicates your unique voice while illuminating the written word.

What are the requirements?

  • Paper or sketchbook
  • Pencils, pens
  • Gouache, acrylic, or watercolor paints (optional)
  • Light box (or window)
  • Scanner (or camera, if unavailable)
  • Adobe Photoshop (free trial available online!)

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Understand what editorial illustration is
  • Learn about the history of editorial illustration
  • Know the different types and specs of editorial illustration
  • Get inspired by examples from illustrator trail blazers
  • Navigate the process of creating an editorial illustration
  • Find your artistic style
  • Analyze a written article for illustrating
  • Collect visual references
  • Follow a design brief
  • Overcome the blank page
  • Start sketching
  • Implement drawing tips and techniques
  • Know what to send to an art director
  • Incorporate feedback into your revisions
  • Finalize your drawing
  • Work with line
  • Create value and color studies
  • Learn color theory and how to work with color digitally
  • Harmonize a color palette
  • Try out new digital painting techniques in Photoshop
  • Paint textures to import into Photoshop
  • Hand-draw typography to import into Photoshop
  • Finalize your illustration

Who is the target audience?

  • Illustrators
  • Artists
  • Designers
  • Creatives
  • Anyone who likes to draw!

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction

This video will give you a brief overview of the class and what we'll be learning.

Section 2: What is Editorial Illustration?

This video introduces the topic of editorial illustration and defines what it is, and venues where it can be found.


This video explores the history of editorial illustration from Europe in the 19th century up to present times.


This video explores the types, subjects, and size specifications of editorial illustration.

25 pages

This PDF is a list of 25 of my favorite current illustrators that are trail blazers in the editorial world, with examples of their work to inspire you.


This video explains the steps of creating an editorial illustration, with a list of standard process steps, as well as my personal set of process steps.

Section 3: Personal Style

This video explores how you can find your illustration style, and more importantly how to not worry about it so much!


This video explains how I found my own artistic style, and how the specific visual aspects of my style correlate to myself, in the hopes of getting you to ask yourself the right questions and keep experimenting with style.

Section 4: Understanding the Article

This video will take you through the process of analyzing a written article and brainstorming.

1 page

An example design brief, and the design brief I use to create my illustration for this class.

3 pages

An example written article, and the article I use to create my illustration for this class.


This video explains how to collect visual references, and what to avoid when looking at references.

Section 5: Brainstorming and Sketching

This video explains how to overcome the dreaded blank page, and let your ideas flow.


This video explains how to start sketching by relaxing and not judging what comes out of your pencil.


This video goes through many of my favorite drawing tips and techniques to inject vitality and personality into your drawing.

1 page

This PDF lists a few of my favorite drawing resources.

Section 6: Feedback and Revisions

This video explains what to send to an art director in a real-world editorial illustration assignment once you have completed your sketches.

2 pages

This PDF shows examples of sketches sent to an art director, and my final three sketches for the illustration I created for this class.


Feedback can be hard to hear! This video explores how to take criticism and feedback respectfully and incorporate suggestions into your revisions.

Section 7: Refining your Drawing

This video explains how to finalize your drawing and composition on paper before you dive into Photoshop.

Section 8: Line and Value

This video explores options in linework and the theory of "lost and found" lines.


This video explains what values are and how successfully working with values will help make your color palette easier to create and stronger in the end.

1 page

This PDF includes some of my favorite digital brush recommendations.

Section 9: Thinking About and Working with Color

This video explores the huge world of color from color relativity; primaries, secondaries, and tertiaries; tints, tones, and shades; brightness; harmony; contrast; personal color style; and how to improve a bland color palette.


This video offers a quick tip on how to achieve harmony in your digital color palette.


This video shows you my process of exploring color and creating a color study on the illustration I created for this class.


This video explores some of my Photoshop digital painting techniques, and takes you through a speed-lapse of my entire digital coloring process of the illustration I created for this class.

1 page

This PDF includes a recommended reference on color.

Section 10: Working with Texture

This video explains how to paint textures on paper to be applied to your illustration digitally in Photoshop.


This video explains how to apply your painted textures in Photoshop.

Section 11: Creating Hand­Drawn Typography

This video explains how to create hand-drawn typography based on an existing typeface to add personality and hand-drawn elements to your work.


This video explains how to apply your hand drawn typography in Photoshop.

Section 12: Wrapping Up

This video takes you through a speed-lapse of the full digital process of finalizing the illustration I created for this class.

1 page

This PDF includes the final illustration I created in response to the article and design brief for this class.


This video wraps up the class—thanks for joining me and I hope you enjoyed the class!

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Instructor Biography

Christine Fleming, Illustrator + Graphic Designer at Might Could Studios

Christine Fleming is a freelance illustrator and designer working out of Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a BFA in Graphic Design, and is now illustrating in both the science and children's markets, as well as writing and illustrating her own picture books, and designing materials for various companies.

Christine's work has appeared in magazines, literary zines, science blogs, educational workbooks, and custom commissions. She was also named the SCBWI Illustrator of the Month after attending the SCBWI National Conference in New York.

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