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Creating Lichtenstein Inspired Portraits From Your Child’s Photograph

This is a guest post on Creating Lichtenstein Inspired Portraits is by Shalet Abraham from My Baby Photos

firstphoto.jpgRoy Lichtenstein is an artist famous for his pop art Ben-Day dots. This tutorial will teach you to replicate Lichtenstein’s style incorporating Ben-Day dots, line drawings and digital coloring techniques. It may sound complicated but it’s really just a simple step-by-step process. When finished you’ll have a personal pop art portrait worthy of display.

Image: Photoshop Tool Bar

Photoshop Tool Bar

  1. Open photoshop and open the photograph you wish to work with.
  2. Make a duplicate copy of the the photograph (Layer –> Duplicate Layer). Title it “initial portrait”
  3. Create a new layer (Layer –> New). Drag this layer between the two photographic layers on the layers palette. Use the paint bucket tool to fill this layer with the background color of your choice. Don’t worry – the color can always be changed later if it is not to your liking.
  4. With the initial portrait layer highlighted use the pen tool to cut out your subject and remove the background (see this pen tool tutorial for details).
  5. After your background is removed make a duplicate layer of the initial portrait layer (Layer –> Duplicate Layer) only this time open it as a new file.
  6. How to open a duplicate layer as a new file

    How to open a duplicate layer as a new file


    Your picture will look like this:

    New duplicate image removed from background

    New duplicate image removed from background


  7. Convert the image to grayscale (Image–>Mode–>Grayscale)
  8. Convert to greyscale

    Convert to grayscale

    The prompt will ask “Discard color information?”; respond Yes.

    Your picture will look like this:

    Picture after converted to grayscale

    Picture after converted to grayscale

  9. Apply the halftone pattern filter (Filter –> Sketch–>Halftone Pattern)
  10. Halftone Pattern Filter

    Halftone Pattern Filter

    Your picture will look like this:

    Halftone pattern filter

    Halftone pattern filter

    Click the fit on screen button in the lower left hand corner to see your whole picture then adjust the size and contrast sliders to get the effect you want. Be sure the pattern type is dots. Hit OK when finished.

    Fit to screen button

    Fit on screen button

    Halftone Pattern Sliders

    Halftone Pattern Sliders

  11. Re-convert image to RGB color (Image–>Mode–>RGB Color).
  12. Make a duplicate layer of the image but place back in original document (note my original document was titled “other”). You may now close the separate dot file (you won’t need to use it anymore).

    Placing new duplicate copy in original file

    Placing new duplicate copy in original file

  13. Make another duplicate layer of the dot layer and title it “white” (open it within the same document). Go to Image–>Adjustments–>Brightness/Contrast. Adjust the brightness to 100% and contrast to -100%. On this layer your subject should be white. Drag the white layer just above the “colored background” layer.

    Now you need to create a clipping path between the “white” and “colored background” layers. Hold down the alt key and run the cursor between the paths on the layers palette until you get two bubbles. When the two bubbles appear click to create a clipping path (indicated by a downward arrow).

    Clipping path between layers

    Clipping path between layers

  14. Hide the initial portrait layer by clicking on the eye in the layers palette.
  15. Highlight the dot layer and change to “multiply”
  16. Creating Lichtenstein Inspired Portraits From Your Child's Photograph

    Now you’re ready to color!

  17. Click on the “New Fill Layer” button on the bottom middle of the layers palette and click on solid color.
  18. Creating Lichtenstein Inspired Portraits From Your Child's Photograph

    This will open a new layer. Choose the color you want to start drawing with – usually the lips or eyes (don’t worry — this color is also easily changed). Drag this new layer just above the white layer. Create a clipping path between these two layers.

  19. Click on foreground color and switch the color to black. Use the paint bucket tool to fill with black (the background color should appear around the photo).
  20. Switch the foreground color to white. Click the paintbrush tool. Use the paintbrush to color your image.
  21. Repeat steps 14-16 until your picture is completely colored in.
  22. Your picture will look something like this:

    Colored Photo

    Colored Photo

    You’re almost finished!

  23. Highlight the Dots layer and adjust the opacity to achieve a pleasing effect
  24. Creating Lichtenstein Inspired Portraits From Your Child's Photograph

    You can stop here or you can take this one step further and add line art over the top. If you wish to add line art, click on the “initial portrait” layer and make a duplicate copy opening it in a new file. Then follow this tutorial to create a cartoon drawing from your photograph. When finished make another duplicate copy and place as the top layer over your Lichtenstein-inspired portrait. Your final result will look like this:

    Creating Lichtenstein Inspired Portraits From Your Child's Photograph

    And there you have it! Lichtenstein-inspired pop art from your own photographs. Print on canvas and proudly display your art for friends and family!

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Shalet Abraham
Shalet Abraham

is a guest blogger from My Baby Photos, a Mom and Dad’s guide to child photography and scrapbooking.

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