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

Graphic Design Exercises

Book Cover: Winona


To learn Photoshop and Illustrator production techniques by example. To experiment with techniques of manipulating scans for creative effects by recreating the book cover below.


Going from vector to raster is easy: any vector image can be resterized to any file size. Going from raster to vector is harder. Most scanned images don't translate well into outlines. The trick is to know what will vectorize well (i.e. organic shapes with few colors). In this exercise, we will manipulate a photograph to the point where it will translate well as vector.


Manipulating the scan in Photoshop

  1. download starter files
  2. open "winona.psd" in Photoshop
  3. practice Adobe navigation shortcuts (space=hand, space+cmd=zoom in, space+cmd+opt= zoom out; cmd zero=fit in window)
  4. reduce moire pattern: filter > blur > gaussian blur (minimum amount)
  5. dupe layer, rename "hair", hide previous layer (for safe keeping)
  6. image > adjust > levels: make hair solid black
  7. magic wand, select hair
  8. select > inverse, fill with white (opt+delete)
  9. default foreground and background
  10. deselect (cmd+D)
  11. touch up art by painting with white (if needed)
  12. repeat for "nose", "mouth", "eyes", "face"
  13. use lasso tool or eye dropper tool to select features
  14. select "face" layer: image > adjustments > invert (cmd+I)
  15. rename "face" layer as "bg"; move "bg" layer to bottom
  16. composite all layers: layer mode=multiply (except for "bg" layer)
  17. retouch any art that is touching (watch the gap around the hair)
  18. save, close

Creating the art in Illustrator

  1. launch Illustrator
  2. file > new "" (letter, portrait, CMYK)
  3. file > place "winona.psd"
  4. toggle outline/preview (cmd+Y)
  5. click "live trace", show tracing options dialog (adjust presets, threshold, etc); ignore white=yes
  6. expand (click button in options bar)
  7. toggle outline/preview (cmd+Y)
  8. object > ungroup (cmd+shift+G)
  9. add new CMYK spot colors (include rich black: 100K+50C) (tip: spot colors show up in InDesign)
  10. new layer "bg"
  11. move bg object to "bg" layer (see help)
  12. repeat with lips
  13. new layer "eyes": draw white shapes
  14. new layer "type": add "WINONA" (Goudy Old Style)
  15. window > swatches: select all unused, delete (flyout)
  16. extend art to accommodate type

Painting with symbols

  1. new layer "texture"
  2. window > symbol libraries > artistic textures: splatter
  3. paint with symbol sprayer tool ([ or ] to change size, OPT to erase)
  4. adjust symbols with other symbol tools
  5. object > expand
  6. change splatter color, adjust transparency
  7. save

Printing with InDesign

  1. launch InDesign
  2. file > new: 7x10 inches, portrait; margins=0; bleed=1p, bottom slug=3p (more options)
  3. file > place "" (cmd+D)
  4. scale/crop for bleed
  5. new layer "box": draw black box (use rich black)
  6. new layer "type": add type "A BIOGRAPHY by Jay Smith"
    (ITC Franklin Gothic Heavy & Goudy Bold Italic)
  7. window > output > separation preview: review each printing plate
  8. window > swatches: change spot colors to process
  9. add slug at bottom with your name (color=registration)
  10. print composite color (setup: page position=centered; marks & bleed: crop marks=yes, include slug area)


  1. submit a color proof with your name on it for grading
  2. file your graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 3/1/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young