The 'Little Boy' Pop Art Tutorial
 See larger image
If you are a fan of pop art then you're probably already well acquainted with the work Roy Lichtenstein. Roy Lichtenstein became one of the leading pop artists of the sixties with his comic-strip paintings. Drowning Girl 1963, is one of his better known works and is a good example of the design features in his most famous pieces. Notice the thick lines, bold colors, and thought bubble. His work also often included boxed captions and words such as 'WHAAM!', commonly found in comic books.
Drowning Girl (1963). On display at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Due to the vivid colors, the pop art that you will create using this tutorial will look fantastic if you get it printed at your local print shop. If you are going to get it printed, at the end of the tutorial change the resolution to 300dpi (Image > Print Size).
Step 1: Open an image in Pop Art Studio
Open an image. In the menu click File > Open > File (Ctrl+O).
The ideal picture is a headshot of a person, a pet or a close up of an object. Use a good quality picture, where the face of the person will be clear, big enough and close to the lense of the camera. The photos that work best have the following characteristics:

  • Sharp and in focus, blurry photos make it hard to see details in the subject.
  • Good lighting, better when the light comes from the back of the photographer and it's facing the subject.
  • Avoid dark shadows in the face of the subject.
  • Use photos that were taken indoors. Photos taken outside tend to have contrasting shadows.
  • Good contrast and brightness. Make sure the photo is not under or over exposed.
  • The image below shows the image we use for this tutorial, the official portrait for President Barack Obama.
     See larger image
    Step 2: Crop the image
    An image is cropped when a rectangular area is cut from an image or a photo. Image Crop allows you to remove those parts of the image you don't find useful. Choose Selection > Rectangle to make a rectangular selection. Drag in the image. As you drag, a border indicates the selection. When you release the mouse, the selection border becomes a marquee. You can move the marquee to place it over a different area of pixels. Change the size of the marquee by dragging one of the marquee's edges or corners. The selection remains active until you make another selection.
    Choose Image > Crop to Selection to create a new image. The image below shows the cropped image we use for this tutorial. The size of the image is 1400 x 1400 pixels and the resolution is 180dpi. To keep things simple, we only use one layer, the 'Background' layer.
     See larger image
    Step 3: Remove the image background
    There are many ways to remove the background from the image. The easiest method is to use the Airbrush Tool (soft edges) or the Paintbrush Tool . Choose the Color Selection Tool (Pipette) and select the background color from the image. Select the Paintbrush Tool (or Airbrush Tool) and fill areas of the image you wish to remove.
    Paintbrush Tool, Opacity = 100, Width = 80, Antialias
     See larger image
    Step 4: Apply the Roy Lichtenstein effect
    Benday Dots were Lichtenstein's trademark. Benday Dots are a printing process which combines two (or more) different small, coloured dots to create a third colour. Back in the day, pulp comic books used Benday Dots in primary colours to inexpensively create the secondary colours such as flesh tone.
    The Melody Haunts my Reverie (detail, 1965).
    Apply the Roy Lichtenstein effect. Choose Effects > Pop Art > Roy Lichtenstein. Change the default settings in the preview window. Set the fill style to Solid for all colors. Play around with the colors and sliders until you get the combination that you think works best for your image. A good Skin color is #FFC0C0 or #FF8080.

    Skin: #BE905F, RGB = 190, 144, 95
    Red: #663D28, RGB = 102, 61, 40
    Dark Blue: #32160F, RGB = 50, 22, 15
     See larger image
    Step 5: Fill the background with an unique color
    Fill the background with an unique color which does not appear in other parts of the image. The easiest method to fill the background is to use the Paintbrush Tool or Pencil Tool in combination with the Paint Bucket Tool .
    Paint Bucket Tool, Color = #00FF00, Flood mode = Contiguous, Tolerance = 20
    Step 6: Retouch the image
    With the use of the Paintbrush Tool you can remove noise and dark spots and repair the eyes and lips. Use the Paint Bucket Tool to remove a color from the image by replacing it by another color.
     See larger image
    Step 7: Duplicate the image and fill the background
    Duplicate the image 3 times and fill the background of the four images. Choose Image > Duplicate . The first image is located in the upper left corner of the combined image. The last image is located in the lower right corner of the combined image.

    Use the Paint Bucket Tool to fill the background of the images. In this tutorial we use the colors:

    Red: #E02828, RGB = 224, 40, 40
    Blue: #106BB1, RGB = 16, 107, 177
    Yellow: #FFF302, RGB = 255, 243, 2
    Green: #3BB44A, RGB = 59, 180, 74
    This is how the tabpage Images looks like:
    Step 8: Combine the four images
    Combine the four images into one image which has 4 panels: 2 rows and 2 columns. Select the first (red) image. Choose Image > Multiply and set its Width and Height to 2. Mark the checkbox next to the pictogram to combine the four images.
    Step 9: Use the Median filter to reduce noise (optional)
    This step is optional. You should try though, to see what it turns out like. The Median filter allows you to remove small random specks and areas of noise. The filter adjusts the intensity of each pixel in the image to the median intensity of surrounding pixels. The median intensity is the middle value (not the average) in the range of values. Choose Adjust > Add / Remove Noise > Median and set its radius to 2.
    Step 10: Save your image
    Lots of print shops can now print your image directly on to canvas. Choose File > Save As and save your file in JPG format. Set the Quality to 100 to prevent loss of image quality.
     See larger image
     See larger image
    For comments, questions and suggestions, please send email to: