I have been playing with the Halftone filter in Photoshop for the past few weeks and trying different things we can do with it. I also discover the Width Tool in Illustrator CS 5 and it was a great surprise because now we have much more freedom when playing with strokes. So with these two things in mind I decided that I had to create an image using them, and then the idea of a design inspired in Roy Lichtenstein.

There are quite a few tutorials showing how to create this type of image, but I decided to try it myself. I haven't checked any tutorial because I wanted to play with the tools, so the technique might be the same as other tutorials but I really don't know. Besides I think a tutorial on Roy's style is always a great add to the tutorials section of Abduzeedo.

Roy Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997) was a prominent American pop artist. His work was heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style. He himself described pop art as, "not 'American' painting but actually industrial painting". - Wikipedia

Step 1

Let's start the tutorial in Illustrator. Open Illustrator and import the photo you will apply the effect. The one I'm using is courtesy of Shutterstock and you can find it here.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 2

In Illustrator, select the Pencil Tool (N) and start drawing over the photo using it as references. I started off with the eyes. I also use the Ellipse Tool (L) for the pupils.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 3

Keep drawing with the Pencil Tool (N) and with the Pen Tool (P) when you need more precision, however it doesn't need to be super perfect.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 4

With the Pencil Tool (N) create the contour of her hair.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 5

Stll with the Pencil Tool (N) add some details for her hair.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 6

Here I have all the vector elements I drew to create the girl. You can add more if you want, it will depend on the photo you are using.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 9

Get rid of the photo and start playing with the vectors only. Here you can see all the elements without any color and the same stroke size.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 10

One of the best tools in the Illustrator CS5 is the Width Tool (Shift+W). You can change the width of parts of the stroke, it's fantastic.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 11

Still with the Width Tool (Shift+W) play with the strokes on her hair and hands. Use the image below for reference.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 12

Time to add some colors. I used beige for the skin, yellow for the hair, white for the eyes and black for the details. For her blouse I used green.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 13

Now let's go to Photoshop. Open Photoshop and import a paper texture to use for reference. The one I'm using is courtesy of Shutterstock and you can find it here.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 14

Import the girl photo too. We will use it for reference for the vectors from Illustrator. It will also be used to create the halftones. Also change the Blend Mode of the layer to Multiply.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 15

Mask the photo of the girl so it will be over the paper area only. The best way to do that so we can use the same mask for other layers is to create a group and mask the group in Photoshop.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 16

Add a new layer beneath the layer girl but still inside the folder with the mask. Change the Blend Mode of the new layer to Multiply and fill it with Cyan.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 17

Copy the vectors from Illustrator and paste them in Photoshop. I used Smart Objects for the option when paste it because that way I can change the vectors anytime I want and see the results in Photoshop. As you can see in the image below I changed the Opacity of the Layer to 70% so I can adjust the position more easily .

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 18

Once you find the right alignment change the opacity back to 100%.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 19

Reorder the layers so the photo of the girl is on top of the vector layer. After that go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate. You will have a black and greyscale photo now. After that go to Image>Adjustments>Levels. Change the Black Inputs to 60 and the White Inputs to 195. After that change the Blend Mode to Multiply.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 20

Go to Filter>Pixelate>Color Halftone. Use 15 for the Max. Radius and 199 for the channel values. Tip: Depending on the size of your design the Max. Radius will have to be different.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 21

Here is the image after the halftone filter. It's almost done but there are a few details to work on so the image gets that old/vintage look. Also the halftones are over the teeth and the eyes so we have to fix that.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Step 22

Duplicate the paper layer and just move it on top of the others. After that Change the Blend Mode to Linear Burn.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Conclusion

Here is the final design. As you can see I clean the halftones over her eyes and mouth and also added a diagonal pattern in the background.

This design was just an experiment using halftones to create a Roy Lichtenstein inspired design. I'm working on some new designs where I go a little bit further with this technique, but as you could see, the halffones and the vectors with the paper textures do a pretty decent job in recreating Roy's incredible style.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Download the Photoshop File

Click here to download the Photoshop file used for this tutorial

About the author of this post

Abduzeedo is a blog about design. There are all sorts of articles for those who want to look for inspiration. Also you will find very useful tutorials for the most used applications out there, with a special selection of Photoshop Tutorials and Illustrator Tutorials. Of course there are other softwares conteplated like Pixelmator, Fireworks, and web design tutorials.