Pop Art Inspired by Lichtenstein

By Melissa Evans

PART 2. Adding Colour

Having achieved a great looking half tone effect, it’s time to add the colour.
I’m going to use Fill Layers to colour this picture. Fill Layers are great if you are indecisive about your colour palette and fantastic for colour experimentation for pop art.

At the bottom of this page I will briefly show how intermediate level photoshop users can really take their images one step further. Combining this tutorial with my “Turn Photos of People into Line Art” tutorial you can really achieve stunning results.

a) Creating Fill Layers

Duplicate the “dots” layer. Rename this layer “white” and drag it below the “dots” layer in your layer palette.

Adjust the Levels on the “white” layer.
Image >> Adjustments >> Levels…
In the output levels, click and drag the black marker all the way to the right so it is behind the white marker (see image below)
Now the “white” layer is white! Your layers palette should look like the one shown below.

Adjust Output Levels in PS

Note: Turn off the visibility of the “dots” layer (click the eye icon) first to see the adjustments on your canvas.

Pop Art Inspired by Lichtenstein 14a

Change the blend mode on the “dots” layer to Multiply.

Photoshop Layer Palette

Click on this icon Photoshop New Fill Layer at the bottom of your Layer Palette and select Solid Colour…

Photoshop Fill Layers

Select a colour in the Colour Picker dialogue box. Click OK. I’ve gone for a red shade to colour her lips. You don’t need to be too picky here because we can change the colour easily later on.

Colour Picker

The new fill layer created will appear in your layer window. Right-click and rename the layer e.g “lips” to colour the lips.

Drag the new fill layer below the “dots” layer in your layer palette. See below. Your image is now totally filled with the colour of the fill layer…but don’t worry we are about to fix that.

Pop Art Inspired by Lichtenstein 16

Create a Clipping Path between the “lip” and “white” layer. This will ensure that you don’t colour over the lines ^_^

Photoshop Clipping Path

Change the foreground colour to black. Working on this new layer, take your Paint Bucket Tool (Photoshop Bucket Tool) and fill the “lips” layer black. The colour disappears…this is because the colour will only show up where there is white on this fill layer.

Note for Photoshop CS5 UsersFill Layer Photoshop CS5
To change the colour of this layer you will double click on the “layer thumbnail” marked with a 1 in the image above. To change where this colour appears on your canvas, click on the “layer mask thumbnail” marked with a 2 in the image above, then using white with your paint brush tool, paint on your canvas where the colour is to appear and paint with black to erase the colour.

Error message: “The fill for this layer must be rasterized before proceeding. It will no longer be editable as a fill. Rasterize the fill?” If this message appears, you’ve made a mistake. Select “No” and click on the “layer mask thumbnail” in your active layer before editing this layer.

Now for the colouring. Change the foreground colour to white. Get your Paint Brush Tool (Photoshop Brush Tool) and start painting where you want to the colour to appear. Use a hard brush with the opacity set to 100%. Make sure that you zoom in when colouring, so that it is nice and tidy!

Pop Art Lips

**Fill layers can be confusing if you haven’t used them before.
If you are stuck try reading THIS PAGE, it’s from another of my tutorials where I explain fill layers a little more indepth.

b) More Fill Layers

Repeat the above step creating a new fill layer for each colour/item in your picture. Below is my layers palette.

Layer Palette

Note how I have used clipping paths on all the new fill layers.

Photoshop Layers

At any time if you are unhappy with a colour that you have chosen, simply double click on the Layer Thumbnail (as shown above) and re-select a colour. Now you have the ability to change the colour of the hair for example, to a whole new colour in a second flat!!

Halftone Pattern with Photoshop

You’re pretty much finished.

You will need to add a caption, or a speech or thought bubble to make this a Lichtenstein inspired piece. Custom shapes have a few speech and thought bubbles to choose from.

The font I used in my finished picture is ANIME ACE.

Try experimenting with the colours too for something really bold.


I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I create half tone shading on my line art pictures. CLICK HERE to see my finished Scarlett Johansson pop art piece.

I’ve written two tutorials on creating the line art.

Turn Photos of People into Line Art
Create Basic Line Art form Your Photos

Pop Art Inspired by Lichtenstein Scarlett Johansson

The picture of my layer palette below pretty much explains it all.
Obviously the line art is the top layer.
Duplicate the half tone layer and place it over each colour layer with a clipping path.
Set the mode of the half tone layer to Soft Light (or something similar).
Adjust the opacity of the half tone layer until it looks good.

Photoshop Layer Palette

If you are interested in creating the pattern I used for the background of my final Scarlett picture, the pattern is made with a custom shape.

Photoshops Custom Shapes

If you are using Photoshop 7, CS or later then you will have it already in your custom shapes (the arrow, marked 2, is pointing to it in the above image). You will need to select Show All to see it (see the image above, click on the area, marked with the 1 arrow to reveal custom shape options -Show All). If you are using an earlier version of Photoshop then you need to make it. Check out my Digital Candy Tutorial (just do the first part).

That’s it!

I hope you found this Photoshop tutorial helpful. Feel free to contact me via my contact page if you have any questions.

Check out the following page to see some fantastic art that others have created by following this tutorial >>