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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.


I do doodle. You too. You do doodle, too.
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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