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Dawn Icon Tutorial


Buckle Up Tight
Feb 26, 2006
A few days ago, a friend asked me if I could make a tutorial for this Lydia Martin icon -

So, I did, but I can't guarantee it's gonna be any good or understandable, lol.

So, okay, today we're going to turn THIS:
into THIS:

This is done in Photoshop, but everything but the coloring at the end is translatable.

I don't remember the exact steps I took to get the original icon, as I pretty much just played around until I found something that worked, so this might be slightly different to the Lydia icon, but it'll be the same general idea.

To start with, we need to give our image a solid background. I've done this a lot of different ways over the years, but recently, I've decided that it's easier, for me at least, to make a solid colored background before I crop the image at all. Easier to see to erase and paint, if you ask me.

So, choose your color and create a new layer, on top of your chosen image, and fill it with that color. Then, using a mask or eraser, or whatever your preferred method is, remove everything covering the subject. My advice would be to go for a very, very light, almost white color, as it'll be easier for the next few steps. (At least, this is how I did it, because, like I said, I made this up as I went along)

You'll have something that looks like this (don't worry about the space between her arms):

This is where it gets stupid. I'm basically just playing here, so here we go.

Resize your image to a height of around 80 or 90px, width is less important. Copy the whole thing, and paste it on a new canvas, size 100px by 100px. Make a new layer UNDER the pasted image and fill it with the same color you used previously. I used #fffffe. Move your image close to the top of the canvas. (Told you this was gonna be stupid)

You should have something that looks like this:

Take THIS TEXTURE (sorry, I don't know who made it, any help would be wonderful) and paste it onto your canvas. Invert it (image – invert) and move it until the 'drips' are at the bottom of your subject. Set it to Screen and duplicate it.

You should have something that looks like this:

Next, create a new layer and fill it with your choice of color. I chose the same purple as Dawn's shirt. Leave it set to 'normal' and reduce it to 67% opacity. Then, VERY CAREFULLY erase as much of the color from your subject as possible, including – if you need to – the 'drips'. Then, create a new gradient layer with a black and white gradient. Set it to 'soft light'. I also erased across Dawn's face on the gradient layer, as I thought it made her too pale.

You should have something that looks like this:

After this, you can continue with your normal coloring techniques. If you want to know, this is what I did:

Curves layer, Input: 48 Output: 41

Viberance layer: Viberance +42 Saturation: 0

Color balance: Midtones - +18, -7, -45

Viberance layer – Viberance +49

New gradient layer – Fill with THIS gradient and set to 'soft light' at 100%. Erase anything that covers her face.

Color Balance – Midtones: -2, -25, +34

Shadows: -33, -45, -40

Hightlights: +11, +13, +10

And this should be your final result:

You can finish off however you like, sharpening, topaz, whatever.

Like I said, this was probably the really, really, REALLY hard way of doing this, but it was the only way I could figure out how to create the look I was going for. If anyone has an easier way to do this, please show me so that I can point these nice people in the right direction, lol.

I hope I've explained this clearly, if not, you know where to find me.

Peace out
I always thought you did it by hand not using something as a mask!!
  • Like
Reactions: sk


AKA Apology Girl
Aug 26, 2008
Black Thorn
Thank you! Your tutorials are always great. Very easy to follow, amazing results.


That's right, I'm watching you...
Staff member
Jan 1, 2010
Stockholm, Swe
Black Thorn
Even though I don't use the same program, I will try this out! Thank you :D
would love to see the result of it
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