How To Make An Artistic Poster Design Using Photoshop

by . July 27th, 2012

This week’s creative session will make your hands dirty. We will be showcasing some of our recent freebies to come up with a unique graffiti inspired poster. This aims to teach you some unique ideas on how you can use our downloadable freebies into your own design projects.

Below is the final image preview of what we’ll be creating:


This tutorial is more on experimenting on your creativity, balance between the elements and the challenge of creating a unique design composition. The most important tool in here is your own artistic perspective on design. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know freehand drawing to come up with a nice output.


Before we get started, we will need the following tutorial assets:


We will be creating a print-ready poster so download the 11″ x 8.5″ Poster Template for Adobe Photoshop at UPrinting. (Go to the “Templates” tab > Select Adobe Photoshop as the application format > Click the “Download” link for the 11″ x 8.5″ file setup)

Also, download the following resources:


Yes, you guessed it! All the design elements in this poster design comes from the creative manipulation of Photoshop Brushes and Textures. The good thing is, all of those resources are for free!



Open the 11″ x 8.5″ Poster Template for Adobe Photoshop.


The blue broken lines indicates the SAFE area from trimming while the RED lines represents the actual cut of the design.

Draw a rectangle shape using the Rectangle Tool (U) with fill color: f6d9bc extended up to the red border. Draw two diagonal lines to act as a simple layout of the design.




We will start creating the design by placing the letters. Let’s start with letter “D”. Create a New Layer. Rename it as “D”. Load the Alphabet Brushes in your presets collection. Select dark brown fill color: 2a1805.

We will add a background to the letter brush. Using the Rectangle Tool, draw a white rectangle shape below the “D” layer.

Rasterize the Shape Layer then merge it with the “D” layer (Ctrl + E). Using the Eraser Tool (300 px) with  0% hardness, erase the edges of the white background. You must at least achieve something like the image below.

After achieving your desired look, transform the letter brush and skew it to its new position. Do the previous steps with the rest of the letters. Resize and place them in your desired position. Based on my layout here’s my own positioning:

NOTE: Rename your layers as much as possible since we will be creating a lot of them as we go on. :)




Start adding the arrows. Create a New Layer. Load the Random Doodles Brushes in your presets. Same as with the letters, use dark brown fill color: 2a1805.

Add a white background by drawing a rectangle shape behind the arrow layer. Raterize the shape layer and merge it with the arrow layer.  Start erasing the edges using the Eraser Tool with 90% hardness. You will come up with something like this:

Transform the arrow and skew it to your desired position. I placed the first arrow on top of “D” layer.

 NOTE: Before proceeding, make sure to reserve a duplicate copy of the arrow layer. Hide it first. We will be using it to reproduce more arrows as we go on.


I’ll be adding an effect with the first arrow as if it goes through the letter “D”. To achieve this, just erase the part of the arrow where it coincides with the letter.


Using the arrow layer duplicate, create more arrows around your design. Manipulate their positions by interchanging each arrow layer with the letter layers. You may also experiment on the opacity and blending modes of the arrows. In my design, some arrows have lower opacity and some are in Linear Burn blending mode.




This is the fun part of this tutorial! Time to unleash the creativity in you. We will now start painting using the brushes. Start by using the Watercolor Strokes Paint Brushes. Load them to your brush presets and use a brown fill color: ad6441. Create a new layer at the bottom of your palete, right before the first shape layer which serves as your background as of the moment.

Create a new layer above the first series of stokes. And using the same set of brushes, paint more strokes using a different fill color: ad682c.


Create a New Layer and load the Spray Paint Brushes in your brush presets. Use white color fill to blend in with the letters and arrows.

 Add more fun by placing more splatters. Load the Watercolor Splatter Brushes. Create a New Layer then use white as color fill.

Experiment more possibilities by utilizing the 3 sets of brushes. Do this by random until you achieve your desired look.

Add some depth and texture on your design. Go to Select > Color Range. Select the white color you used for your letters, arrows and some splatters. Set your desired fuzziness  then hit OK.

Create a New Layer. Using the Watercolor Splatter Brushes with lighter shades of brown and grey  colors, paint more splatters over the selected areas. This will give the necessary texture and depth.


Here’s the close up shot of my design after painting more splatters (upper corner of letter “D”).




Open the texture image (texture_06) from the Concrete & Cement Texture Pack. This will serve as the overall background and of course to add texture on your design :)

Place the texture image at the bottom of the layers palete, right before the first shape layer. Change the blending mode to Linear Burn and lower the opacity to 50%. The design will look like this:

Almost there! Now we”ll add more strokes in the background. Go to Select > Color Range. Select the background color. Set the fuzziness then hit OK.

Create a new layer. Using the brushes, add more splatters and paint strokes over the background. Don’t over do it. Make sure the background splatters are still in line with the design layout.




Draw a new rectangular shape above all the layers of your work extended over the canvas. Use fill color: f0cda8, set the blending mode to Linear Burn and lower opacity to 30%. This will give the artwork an added effect that blends in with the background shade. Experiment on the opacity and fill color to your desired effect.

Zoom up and review your design. Add or erase some extra splatters if necessary.

Take note of the gray border on your canvas. Remember that this is the actual area that will be trimmed off once the poster is printed. Make sure that there is no important element in your design that goes beyond this area.

Select the first shape layer you created from the beginning of this tutorial. Extend it to fit the canvas overlapping the gray border. Hide the UPrinting Layer then SAVE your file.


Well, we’re finished! Here is the final image of my design. Hope you guys enjoyed creating your own design!

EDIT: Here’s another version when the artwork is used as a poster for an upcoming event. :)



Check out more poster tutorials here. One of which actually inspired us to come up with this post. :)

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