Sometimes commercially-made superhero posters just don’t cut it, especially when you want a poster to depict a specific scene in your favorite superhero movie. So why not make your own instead?
In this tutorial, you will learn how to make your own badass superhero posters in just 7 easy steps. Say hello to a room filled with Magneto, the Hulk and Superman!
1. Create Your Document
In Illustrator, create a new document sized 11” x 17”. Select “Print” as a profile, and make it vertically oriented. If you want to make a smaller poster, you can use 8.5” x 11” as measurements instead.
2. Make a Basic Background
As a starting point, you will need a pretty basic background so your superhero can stand out. With the rectangle tool, create a shape the size of your document, give it “no stroke” and choose a flat color or a radial gradient for fill (with the inner color lighter than the external one). Lock the background layer so its position is fixed.
3. Draw a Sketch for Your Poster
For the sketching part, you just need pencil and plain paper. Making a sketch depends on your personal drawing skills, but do not worry about it too much. Even if you are not the most skilled artist, you can produce a sketch that will be good enough as a starting point for the poster. This is an optional step, since you can draw directly into Illustrator if you’d rather do that.
4. Trace the Sketch in Illustrator
Import the sketch into the computer by scanning it (or taking a photo, if you don’t have a scanner). Paste the drawing into your poster document, and turn off the background layer. With the pen tool, turn off any “fill” and keep “strokes” on only and trace over your sketch. Try to create closed shapes so they will be easy to fill in later. After the line art is complete, use the selection tools to move anchors to make your drawing more precise.
5. Add Color
Select the shapes that constitute your line art one by one, and change “fill” to color them in. Turn the “strokes” off after this step so only the fill is visible. When you finish, you can turn the background on again. Use the selection tool to adjust the artwork’s placement and size in the document.
6. Enhance with Texture
To add some depth to the poster, you can apply a paper texture. We are using a texture from the website lostandtaken.com, but you can use any other texture you like. After opening the image, copy and paste it into your poster document (over all the other layers). Use selection and transform tools to fit it in. Change transparency mode either to multiply’or overlay and lower opacity to about 75 percent.
7. Add Text
As an additional step, you can add whatever text you want – such as a title, quote, etc. – to your poster. Find the right position for the text so it’s readable, and make it large. Choose a font that is suitable for a title (i.e., We used the font Birch Std.). Move the text layer under the texture to blend it in.
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You can use original illustrations as a reference for determining which colors to use. Just copy them in with the eyedropper tool, and then you’re good to go!
You can also make your own palettes and create as many posters as you want, featuring different characters in the same style. Have fun, and adorn your room with your very own badass superhero posters!
Edited in Illustrator CC 2014.