Creating a Colorful Skateboard Design in Photoshop and Illustrator

In today’s tutorial I will be showing you how to make a simple creative type skateboard design in Photoshop and Illustrator. We will be making use of Illustrator to layout the type and then bring it into Photoshop to finish it off. The tutorial will show you how to take something simple and make it look beautiful. You will be surprised to see how I got the outcome that I did. Let’s check it out.

Author: An1ken Creative
Tools: Photoshop + Illustrator
Time: 45 mins
Resources: Skateboard Template by Nunosk8 & 85 Illustrator Paint Brushes courtesy of Colorburned

Final Preview

Step 1

Let’s start off by opening Illustrator. It can be any version of Illustrator in the CS range, you aren’t bound to a certain suite in this case. Now create a new print document with the sizes of 500 pixels in width and 1000 pixels in height. Now that you have a blank canvas in front of you. Grab the shape tool and create a rectangle shape that fills your entire layer and canvas, then lock the layer. This will act as your background for the time being. You should have something like this below.

Step 2

Now create a new layer by click on the new layer button in your layers palette (Right next to the trash can on the left) If you don’t have your layers palette active, go to Window>Layers or press F7 for the shortcut. Now grab your text tool and set the font to Arial and the size to about 90pt and type out the word that you want to use. In my case it was “Creative.” Now once you have your word typed out, go to Window>Type>Character and then make sure that there is some AV spacing on the letters, at least 40. Now right click on your word and select Create Outlines. You will now notice that the letters have paths around them.

Now its time that you open the brushes that you downloaded earlier from Colorburned. To load the brushes into Illustrator, make sure that your brushes palette is open, if it isn’t go to Window>Brushes (Shortcut: F5) now once the brushes palette is open, go to the bottom left hand corner of the palette, it has two little windows with a arrow that points to the right hand bottom corner. This is the brush library menu. Now once you have clicked on it, go to Other Library… at the bottom, now navigate to the brushes that you have downloaded and open the file. Now you will see the newly loaded brushes in a window. You can then include them in your illustrator brushes or you can keep them in a separate window. I just kept them separate for the tutorial.

Now make sure that your text is selected and make sure that the stroke color is set to white and the fill color is no-fill. Now whilst your text is selected, choose the brush of your choice. Each brush will take to the form of your word and display it differently. Find the brush that you want to work with and set the stroke weight to 2pt, if you can’t find the stroke, (Shortcut: CTRL+F10) or Window>Stroke. My choice looks like this below.

Step 3

Now that we have our text sorted out. We can begin with the layout of the piece. Select your text and then tilt it to the left 45 degrees. You can achieve this by using the transform command Object>Transform>Rotate 45 degrees OR by doing it yourself with the select tool. Its up to you. Now that you have the angle on your word, it should look like this.

Now its time to start duplicating the text. Click on the text and then hold down alt and drag it away, this will duplicate the text or you can just use the normal copy and paste method. Be creative with the layout of your text. This is what mine looks like after the duplication.

It will appear to you that all the text is within the block, however you have a lot of overlap because you can’t see the white on white. Time to bring in some colors. You are free to do with the colors as you please, just try to create some variation. This is what my outcome looks like.

Sure this might be looking a bit strange at the moment, but that will change in a moment. Now hide your background layer which is your black rectangle. You can click on the little eye next to the layer or just delete the layer all together. Then go to File>Export and save it as a PNG file. It will take a little while to render.

Step 4

Now in Photoshop, open the skateboard template you downloaded earlier. Now, hide all the unnecessary layers. Now select all the layers from the skateboard psd excluding the background layer and then go to Edit>Free Transform (Shortcut: CTRL+T) now size the skateboard down a bit, this is down to ensure your PNG file will fit the board, you can either scale down the board or scale up the graphic in Illustrator. (Its totally up to you) Now that your board is sized down. Open the PNG file you exported earlier in Photoshop and drag it into your skateboard PSD. Now in the layers palette you will see a layer called design layer, you have to move your graphic layer to just under that layer, this is so that the shadows and highlighting of the template is effective on your graphics.

Now once you have moved it down, hold down CTRL and click on the layer window of the “Deck Color” layer this will create a selection around the board. Now select your Graphics layer again and go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. This will hide all the overlapping elements by using a layer mask. This is what you should have.

Now its time to change the background color on your deck. Click on the Deck Color layer and then grab your fill tool (Shortcut: G) then make sure your foreground color is black #000000 and then click on the deck itself. It will fill the deck with your black color for the background of the graphics. Now it should look like this.

Step 5

Now that we have our graphics on the board, we can begin with the finer details. Make sure the graphic layer is selected and then go to Filter>Liquify… Now by making use of the tools on the right hand side, and by changing the brush size on the right, be creative and liquify your type graphics. Work with the wording and the curves to get a seamless outcome. This is what my outcome looks like.

Now create a new layer by going to Layer>New>Layer and the making sure your background color is white and your foreground color is Black (Shortcut: Press D) and then go to Filter>Render>Clouds now you will have some darkish cloud cover. Change the blending mode from Normal to Overlay and then create a layer mask for that layer too. CTRL Click on the layer window of the Deck color layer and then go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. Now with your clouds layer selected Press (CTRL+L) this will open the Levels for the layer and set the levels to 0 | 0.68 | 212 and then hit OK. You should now have something like this.

Step 6

Now for the final phase, its to create the background to display your nice design. Simple take your png file and place it just above your background in your Skateboard PSD. Now change the background color to black and then with the png layer selected got to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the blur radius to 36% and hit OK. Now you’re done. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Pretty simple and easy right?



The sky is the limit. You can come up with a lot of variations when using this technique, but I hope you enjoyed the guide. See you in the next tutorial.

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Jacques is an Entrepreneur and Founder of the An1ken Group. He recently launched a daily vlog on Youtube — JacquesvhTV. He started Creativeoverflow in 2009 as a hub for creatives. Connect with him: Jacquesvh.com - @Jacquesvh - Facebook - Instagram - Pinterest

4 Comments
  1. Reply Theo April 21, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    Nice and simple, thanks!

  2. Reply Andrew Kelsall April 23, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Great work. I can remember another skateboard design from Spoon Graphics last year, too. Keep them coming :)

  3. Reply Quang Le April 26, 2011 at 6:31 AM

    Great Skateboard design. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Reply Zar June 1, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Thank you this was extremely helpful! Keep up the good work!

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