King of the Serengeti

Illustration using scanned paper textures to create a cut-out effect: the central tan coloured grass area actually uses a paper hand-made with kangaroo grass. Inspiration for the design of the lion’s head came directly from a suggested shape within an abstract desktop background – another case of seeing familiar shapes within random patterns! Completed in Adobe Illustrator CS5.


5 responses

  1. I’m really interested in this process. I’m working on a story that I want to do with simple vectors based characters, and I’d like it to look like paper cut-outs.

    How did you make and apply the textures?

    Thanks, Jude

    • Hi Jude. The process is very simple – they are just scanned paper textures pasted into the vector shape within Adobe Illustrator. I’ve then added drop shadows to individual pieces to create three-dimensional depth and mimic an actual layered paper piece. Hope that helps with the creation of your characters. Cheers, Michael.

      • Hi Michael,

        Thanks for the reply. So, to recap.

        I just find some course grain paper and scan it?

        I’ve never added a texture to an object in CS5.

        Is the colour of the object independent of the scanned texture?

        I’m familiar with the idea of drop shadows so that’s cool.

        Thanks for your help,


  2. Yep – scan or photograph some textured paper, or find some textures online, and you’re all set.

    The colour can be independent – you could obviously edit the scan colour, or do as I did with the faded brown gradient on the lion’s head, which is to add an overlayed colour with layer effects and specific opacity settings. Photoshop and Illustrator have similar set ups for handling these effects, so you can tackle it whichever way suits you better.

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