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Create a Detailed Colourful Heart Illustration

Create a Detailed Colourful Heart Illustration

In this tutorial we will be creating a beautiful, very detailed heart illustration. We will use some stock images and develop our drawing skills in Photoshop. Don’t worry I’ll show you step by step how to do it.

Resources Used In This Tutorial

Final Image


As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1: Your Initial Sketch

First of all we have to draw our illustration simply with pencil on a paper. It’s okay if you are not really good at drawing; just make a sketch. Then scan it and open it in Photoshop.

Step 2: Creating Your Document

Open Photoshop and make a new document (File>New). It’s important that you have to make a huge document, so it will be easy to work with it. I suggest 4500×3000 and 300 DPI.

Step 3: Start Creating!

Now simply open your drawing and drop it on the document. This way you can copy all of your shapes later.

Step 4: Create a Color Palette

Pick some ‘happy’ colours, come colours that make you feel good. For example yellow, orange, pink and purple.

Step 5: The Pen Tool is Your Best Friend

Pen Tool is my all time favourite tool in Photoshop. We will be using it to create all of our shapes.

Add a New Layer and start using Pen Tool and put anchor points around a shape. Now Right Click>Fill Path. This way you can make simple, one-colored shapes very easily.

A Note on the Pen Tool:

Many people struggle with the pen tool, but it’s really not as scary as you think. If you don’t feel confident using the pen tool then simply check out our comprehensive pen tool guide.

Step 6: Using Gradients

However often we need shapes with nice Gradients. Choose Gradients from the Toolbar and choose 2 colors (yellow and orange). Now select the Pen Tool, after creating your path around the next shape Right Click>Make Selection. Now we have a nice selection and all we need to do is to choose Gradients and make a gradient inside of the selection.

Step 7: Build Up Shapes Using Multiple Layers

Repeat the previous steps for the rest of the shapes you drew. Make sure that you make a New Layer for each shape. It’s very important.

Step 8: Stroke Those Paths!

Shapes are great, but we have some lines as well on our drawing.

First choose a simple brush, sized around 3px. Now select the Pen Tool, and draw a path line following the contours of your sketch. Then Right Click>Stroke Path. Now we have a very nice line! Notice how I’ve checked the ‘simulate pressure’ box, to create a more natural effect:

Step 9: Using The Elliptical Marquee Tool

Select Elliptical Marquee Tool from the Toolbar, then hit Shift and make a selection. You will see that when you hit Shift the selection will be a perfect circle. Now select Brush and choose a soft brush, set the size to 569 px and start painting inside the circle.

Step 10: Keep Creating

Repeat the previous steps lots of times until you finish each shape and each shape you draw on your original drawing.

Step 11: Get some pictures of flowers

For our illustration we need some flowers. Download the flower images from the resources section for this tutorial:

Step 12: Extracting the Flowers

Now we need to extract these flower images from their backgrounds. Open up the flower image and then select around it using your pen tool. Then right click>make selection. Select the rectangular marquee tool from the toolbar, and then put your cursor inside the selected area. Right click>layer via copy. That’s it – you have a beautifully selected flower on it’s own separate layer.

Step 13: Positioning Our Flowers

Drop your flower on our main document. You probably have to resize it and maybe rotate it as well; in order to do this go to Edit>Free Transform.

Step 14: Building Up Your Flowers

Now we have to duplicate our flowers several times. Just simply Right Click on the layer and choose Duplicate and place your flowers anywhere you want them.

Step 15: Select More Flowers

One flower is really boring, so choose some more, around 4-5, and repeat the previous steps.

Step 16: Rinse and Repeat

Now that we have all the flowers needed all we have to do is to duplicate them and place them on the right places.

A Useful Duplication Method

To make duplication much faster you can simply select your ‘move tool’ in your toolbar. Then hold alt and click/drag on the object you want to duplicate. The object will automatically be duplicated to a new layer.

Step 17: Getting There

Okay, so one half of our heart is perfectly finished. Use Shift to select all of the layers, now hit Alt and click on your shapes and start moving them. Hopefully you have just duplicated all the layers. However it will be hard to handle them and place them correctly. While all of the duplicated layers are selected, Right Click on one of them and choose Merge Down.

Step 18: Add Some Glamour

Add a New Layer above all of the layers, choose a small soft brush, set the color to white and start clicking on the heart. After you finished it, Right Click on the layer and choose Blending Options, select Outer Glow and set the Size 38 px and the Opacity 75%.

Step 19: Work on the Background

Merge down all of the layers of the big heart (don’t save it, it’s very important), so everything expect the lights will be on one layer. Make a new document with the same dimensions and drop the merged layer to the new document. Duplicate this layer, put it under the original one and go to Filters>Blur>Motion Blur and set the Distance to 656 px.

Step 20: Building up Lighting

Cut out the crystal from ‘crystal.jpg’ (see the download folder for this tutorial) and drop it above the ‘Motion-Blur-Heart’ layer. Now set the layer style to ‘Overlay’, go to Edit>Free Transform and rotate the crystal a little bit. Duplicate it a few times.

Step 21: Finish the Background

Let’s make the background a little bit more exciting, but keeping the simple atmosphere. Duplicate the main heart, place the new layer under the original one. Go to Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur and make it really blury. Set the Radius 38.6 px.

Step 22: Color Adjustments

After you finished everything Right Click on one of the layers and select Flatten Image. Now go to Image>Adjustments> Curves and play with it and make the original illustration a little bit darker, brighter and more vibrant. I recommend you setting the Output to 87 and the Input to 128.

Step 23: Final Touches

Add a New Layer above the heart layer, set the Layer Style to Overlay. Overlay will make it really shiny. Select some middle-sized soft brush, set the color to white and click on some parts of the heart you would like to highlight for example some flowers or triangles. You will see that it looks really nice.

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome.

You can view a larger version of the outcome by clicking on the image below:

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

I'm working as a digital artist since 2006. In the past few years my works have been featured in magazines like Computer Arts and Advanced Photoshop. I have also worked some very nice clients such as Ogilvy & Mather, MTV Networks and The KDU.

Leave a comment


  1. vipin says:

    Very Good tutorial. Bright design. :)

  2. Luca Molnar says:

    Thank you! I’m glad you like it :)

  3. Tom says:

    Yeah nice first tutorial Luca! Welcome to the site, some really interesting techniques shared here :) .

  4. Luca Molnar says:

    Thank you Tom! It’s a pleasure to be here :)

  5. kabi says:

    thank you. really awesome tutorial

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