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Tutorial: Creating Atmosphere with Textures

A lot of people ask me how I make my illustrations look sort of painted or give them their non-computerised look. So to answer this I've decided to give you guys a tutorial of how I do it for my recent illustration of Forest Girl, Evie.
So, to start off with I created the way I wanted Evie to look in her basic shapes and colour, then I overlay a free paper texture to give her a little more atmosphere.
1) To do this first step I import the texture and give my image a white background, behind the blue circle. Then I move the texture over the entire image and use the transparency window and from the drop down box select 'Colour Burn'. 

**TIP**You'll notice that this will darken your colours and give them more contrast so if some colours are too bright or now clash next to one and other lighten or even change the colour completely - so don't spend hours on the basic illustration's colouring before adding the texture! 

So now you have a basic textured artwork, and in some cases this is enough to make that certain illustration Pop with atmosphere. But there are further steps you can take to make it more atmospheric.

2) For this next stage I play with shadows and use the inner glow feature with a lot of the shapes to give them their shading. 
Focussing on the eye for a demonstration I use both the inner and outer glow effects that can be found under Effect > Stylise

To get the desired effect I go for a colour similar to the colour of the object but a little darker, I then play around with it's opacity and blur size, checking the preview every now and again to reach the look I like. 

It's important to note that here on the eye I have done both an inner and outer glow for the white of the eye to give it an atmospheric 'deep socket' look and to give the eye some shape.

3) For this step it's about continuing step 2) throughout the whole face and altering the colours to perfect them with your chosen texture. 
4) This step's just about adding some finishing touches and working on the background to really give some true atmosphere. 

For this illustration I've worked into the background to create a forest with a small fairy in front. I didn't want the trees or the fairy to be in sharp focus to take away from the girl's face so I used the Feather effect under Effect > Stylise to give it that soft focus.

And thats It! So pull it all together and you get the finished article at the top of the post. Thanks for reading.

Oh, and here's the texture I used, and it's source

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