Illustration • How-To How to Make an Editorial Collage in Adobe Fresco

Mix imagery and textures to create distinctive montages.

Alejandro Chavetta mixes shapes, imagery, textures and brushes to create colorful and unique compositions. See how he uses Adobe Fresco to collage on the go.

    Alejandro Chavetta is the editor in chief for Adobe Create magazine and is based in San Francisco. He obsessively collects clippings of analog and digital art to use in his mixed-media masterpieces.

Take a one-minute look at Chavetta’s technique in this video; the steps are written out below.

Before You Start 

Chavetta saved his collection of graphics in a Photoshop document (PSD) from Adobe Fresco. If you’d like to use it for practice, save his PSD to cloud documents from Photoshop, or to your preferred cloud service that you can access from your tablet. Then choose Import and open the PSD file from Adobe Fresco.

Step 1: Collect Some Clippings

Chavetta collected random bits of imagery, masked them to show the parts he found most interesting, and saved them to a Creative Cloud library that he could access from wherever he worked. He provided these graphics directly within the PSD he shared for this tutorial. The skull and textured image layers are visible, while the others are hidden to start.

Step 2: Create the Centerpiece

Next, Chavetta selected the skull layer and used the Lasso tool to draw around the perimeter. He used two fingers to rotate and scale the canvas, to make drawing the selection easier. Once he closed the selection, he tapped Mask to hide the paper background so the skull appeared over the textured background layer below.

Step 3: Let the Details Show Through

When Chavetta was ready to add to the collage, he tapped a hidden layer and then tapped the eye icon. He repeated this until all of the graphics were visible except the top layer. Then he selected the top layer and added a new layer. Chavetta opened the Layer Properties and set the Blend Mode to Multiply so the collage images would show through whatever he painted on this layer.

Step 4: Brush on Color

The variety of brushes available in Fresco allowed Chavetta to add color and detail to enhance his collage. He held down the Live Brushes tool, selected Watercolor, and then selected Watercolor Wash Soft. He adjusted the color, brush size, and water flow as he painted different parts of the collage. He used the Eraser to clean up any areas of accidental overflow.

Step 5: Mix Wet and Dry

Chavetta mixed pencil and paint to add depth to the piece. He held down the Pixel Brush tool, chose Sketching, and then chose Pencil to add notations. He also experimented with other pixel wet brushes in the Painting category to create his mixed-media composition.

Step 6: Add Additional Textures

Photographic textures can give collages a touch of realistic grit. Chavetta included texture images in his PSD. He double-tapped the layer group, tapped the eye icon to make each one visible, and set each layer Blend Mode to Multiply to see how they affected the overall composition.

Make Your Own Statement

Gather graphics, imagery, and textures that speak to you and assemble them into a collage in Adobe Fresco.

Note: Project files included with this tutorial are for practice purposes only.

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