Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Integrated: Michael Schwab Poster


To learn to Photoshop/Illustrator production Michael Schwab:


Illustrators have always used photographic reference as a tool. Some illustrators like to shoot their own photographs specifically for this purpose. Michael Schwab's illustration style demands high contrast images with stark shadows. Therefore designing the lighting scheme in his studio is a critical part of his process.


Retouching the art in Photoshop

  1. download starter file
  2. open "schwab-before.jpg" in Photoshop
  3. image > adjust > b&w
  4. add adjustment layer (levels): increase contrast
  5. retouch, crop; save as "schwab-before.psd"

Making the poster in Illustrator

  1. launch Illustrator, file > new (12x17, CMYK)
  2. save as ""
  3. practice Adobe's navigation keyboard shortcuts (space; space+cmd; space+cmd+opt)
  4. file > place "schwab-before.jpg" and "schwab-after.jpg"
  5. select "before" image, zoom in to see detail
  6. object > live trace > tracing options: preset=b&w logo (preview=yes, ignore white=yes, blur=?)
  7. expand traced object
  8. retouch
  9. new layer: add type (Univers 49 ultra cond)
  10. print b&w laser (reduce to fit printable area)


  1. submit b&w laser proof with your name on it for grading
  2. file graded proof in your Process Book for individual review
  3. publish a JPEG linked from your Process Page (no wider than 800px)

Last updated: 3/2/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young