Happy 60th Anniversary, Routemaster!

Using the Brush Tool in Photoshop – Happy 60th Anniversary, Routemaster!

Computer, design, Digital Art, Photoshop, U4_U37

In the first lesson of my Graphics course, we were introduced to the brush tool in Photoshop. Our task was to create a poster design to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the London Routemaster bus using only the brush tool. Having had past experience with Photoshop before, I quickly came up with a couple of ideas that could involve using the brush tool. However, having gotten carried away I ended up using the ellipse tool to draw the circle border and bus headlights.

Happy 60th Anniversary, Routemaster!

My first poster design which uses both brush and ellipse tool, as well as the eraser tool where necessary. Created on 25th September, a day after the Routemaster anniversary Google doodle was released.

The rest of the design was done completely with the brush tool and eraser tool. I had brought in my nifty Wacom Bamboo Pen tablet into class to aid in my drawing process. The tablet navigation and strokes were a lot smoother, more controlled and a lot nicer to hold than the tacky Mac mouse and its ambiguous left-right buttons.

I created the straight lines for the bus and stripy background with the brush tool, by holding down the SHIFT key and clicking from one end of the line to the other. Photoshop will automatically create a straight line from the first click to the second. This is a really handy trick that works with most brush tools and is really effective. I neatened up any rough edges with the eraser tool, creating clean-cut outlines that helped make the collage of colours recognisable as a minimalistic Routemaster bus.

Because the poster was to celebrate the anniversary of an iconic form of public transport, I chose bright and vibrant colours that were complementary to the Routemaster colours. Red, along with yellows and oranges helped convey the feeling of joy and festivity. Balanced out with black and white, I think that the colour scheme really stands out.

The nature of the circular design also allows it to be integrated into other forms, not just a poster design. Its round edges and simple colouring would make it a great sticker design too. The red ring also imitates the Transport For London logo, allowing most viewers to relate the design to the public transport that they use on a daily basis.

Each colour had a separate layer to it and I grouped the various layers into folders to organise the Layers box. For example, all the layers for the bus artwork was placed into a separate folder. This prevented any confusion and mistakes that could have easily occurred, such as accidentally drawing on the wrong layer (which tends to happen a lot, I find).

The text around the circle and on the banner was handwritten using my tablet and the brush tool. I switched between using the brush tool and the eraser tool to cut and draw the stars. I wrote one “Routemaster 60th” and drew ONE star next to it on a separate layer on top of the red border layer, and then copied and pasted it onto a new layer. I then transformed that layer and moved and rotated it, so that the text was curving around the design along with the border. I did this multiple times until I reached the beginning again and organised them so that they all had equal spacing between them. Once I was done transforming it all, I merged the layers into one “border text” layer.

There were still a lot of inaccuracies and asymmetry that needed to be fixed, but for the hour or so that I had to come up with two poster designs, it was enough to convey the idea of a bright, cheerful design.

Routemaster Anniversary brush version

My second poster design. This was sketched up in the last 20 minutes of the lesson, after spending the majority of the lesson working on my first design.

 

This second design was meant to be a close up of the Routemaster bus with the words “Routemaster 60th” written on the front. Admittedly I didn’t spend as long on this design than I did with the previous. This was using nothing but the brush tool. I didn’t even use the eraser, hence the messy edges. I also tried not using the SHIFT shortcut to create straight lines.

The headlights were created by increasing the brush size immensely and just clicking where I wanted the yellow to go. This (in theory) created perfectly round dots, assuming that my hand didn’t slip when I clicked on the tablet.

Because I the elements in this design were much simpler than the previous design, I didn’t need to necessarily create separate layers for every colour. The style of this design was more like a painting, so I just drew everything on one layer.

The shapes aren’t nearly as distinct as I would have liked them to be, and the close up makes it difficult to recognise the bus. If I have more time to work on it, I definitely could have gone in with the eraser tool and neatened up the lines. Alternatively, I could have also approached the whole design from a completely different angle. Literally. Seeing as my previous design also showed a Routemaster face-on, I could have drawn the side view in my second design and maybe integrate the text into the windows along the side. It’s probably more easy to recognise a bus side on, considering that the majority of people get on a bus from the entrance on the side.

Unlike the previous poster design, this one would be a lot more difficult to integrate into other forms like stickers as it’s rigid, rectangular outline is less flexible than a rounder, smoother one. However, having said that it is still perfectly acceptable to have a quadrilateral sticker or keyring. But seeing as this was a poster design assignment, I think that this idea works just fine as a neat, portrait poster.

 

Overall it was a fun lesson and I’m pretty pleased with how the poster designs came out. It was interesting to see how I could use the brush tool and edit the layers to bring about my ideas onto a Photoshop canvas.

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