Note: The author used paid images in his work. An alternative source can be found in archive.
According to Wikipedia, the Yin and Yang symbol describes how opposing and contradictory forces are interconnected and interdependent in nature, and how they grow each other. Everything in our world is made of both the bad and the good. This is Yin and Yang.
We will try to expand this idea in our illustration through different seasons, combining the beauty of the winter frost and the charming rose as a symbol of spring.
Create a new document in Photoshop 3000×2400 pixels with a resolution of 300 pixels / inch.
1. Stroke the Yin and Yang symbol
We will need to draw many repeating elements for our illustration. I suggest not to waste time and just circle a few basic elements. Outlining the finished objects also has a positive effect. It develops muscle memory and allows you to create perfect shapes.
Open the image of the symbol Yin and Yang in Photoshop. Circle it with the Ellipse tool. (Ellipse Tool) (U) and feather (Pen Tool) (P).
Ellipse tool (Ellipse Tool) (U) create two more identical circles. Use guides to line them up.
2. Stroke rose
Select the brush tool (Brush Tool) (B) 6 pixels. Open the brush panel (F5), Turn on Transmission (Transfer) and change the control of Fluctuation Opacity (Opacity Jitter) on pen pressure (Pen Pressure).
Hide the Yin and Yang layers. Insert a photo of roses and resize it in the Free Transform mode. (Ctrl + T). Scale tool (Zoom Tool) scale up to 400% and paint a rose.
The result should be:
3. Stroke snowflakes
Before we start putting things together, we need to draw a snowflake. Turn off the rose layer and insert a snowflake in our document.
Since the snowflake has a rather complex shape, you can reduce the time and circle only one branch. Then from it will need to make several copies, resize them in size and arrange in a circle. Use for this mode Free transform(Ctrl + T).
Merge all layers into one snowflake.
4. Creating a brush for drawing snowflakes
Select the Rectangular Area tool. (Rectangular Marquee Tool) (M) and create a selection around the snowflake. Go to Edit> Define Brush. (Edit> Define Brush Preset). Give the name of the brush and click OK.
5. Pattern of snowflakes on the symbol
Turn on the Yin and Yang symbol layer. Select a brush to draw snowflakes and draw several patterns as shown below. Use the eraser tool (Eraser Tool) (E), to erase the part of the snowflakes that goes beyond the character.
In place of a small circle, place a snowflake, and the circle itself must be erased.
Add more snowflakes and small circles to the left side.
6. The right side of the symbol
Turn on the rose layer and position it as shown below.
Create several copies of the rose and fill the right side of the symbol with them. Eraser erase everything that goes beyond it. I got 19 layers with roses. Make them different sizes and overlap each other.
Create another copy of the rose and position it in the place of the second circle of the symbol.
7. Reflection of the picture
Initially, we incorrectly drew the symbol Yin and Yang. The top line should be bent to the right. So we just turn the canvas in the other direction. Go to Image> Image Rotation> Flip Canvas Horizontally (Image> Image Rotation> Flip Canvas Horizontal). After that, merge all the layers of the picture and name the resulting “Sketch”.
8. Basis Grayscale
Before adding color, I advise you to create a base of shades of gray. It will allow to better determine the lighting. Create a new layer under the pattern layer. Oval area tool (Elliptical Marquee Tool) (M) select the character and fill the selection with light gray. For this layer, turn on the Preserve Pixel Transparency option. (Lock Transparency Pixels).
Create a copy of the gray circle. (Ctrl + J) and change its blending mode to Multiply (Blending Mode – Multiply). Set the default colors (D) and eraser erase part of the dark gray fill.
Polygonal Lasso tool (Polygonal Lasso Tool) (L) select the left side of the symbol. Select the Gradient tool. (Gradient Tool) (G): From basic to transparent (Foreground to Transparent) with 50% opacity. Draw a gradient from the bottom, as shown in the screenshot.
Repeat the process for the right side of the symbol, just drag the gradient from top to bottom.
9. Shadow from rose petals
Polygonal Lasso tool (Polygonal Lasso Tool) (L) highlight rose petal. Choose a soft black brush with 20% opacity and add a shadow to it.
In the same way, keep adding shadow to the inner edges of the petals. Use a large soft brush and touch the desired area with just the edge.
The shadows of the petals should be all 19 roses. The process will take a lot of time, but thanks to this stage in the end you will get a really beautiful image.
The result should be:
10. White snowflakes
We will make the snowflakes white so that they stand out from the background. Select the “Sketch” layer and the Magic Wand tool (Magic Wand Tool) (W) highlight snowflake. Create a new layer and fill the selection with white.
Continue to highlight the snowflakes and fill them with white. After that, use a hard brush to draw white circles.
11. Creating the background
Let’s first get rid of the boring white background, and then move on to adding color. All the layers of the character I collected in the group. I advise you to put them all in one group. Then create a copy of the group and merge it into one layer. Activate the Free Transform mode (Ctrl + T) and enlarge the layer with the symbol. It should completely cover the white background.
Rotate the layer with the large symbol in the other direction (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontally) (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal).
Reduce the background opacity to 38% and apply a Gaussian Blur filter (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) with a value of 3 pixels. After that, reduce the opacity of the “Sketch” layer to 25%.
12. Correction of form and location
To make the curve inside the symbol more steep, I decided to rotate the base of the symbol. But it also means that you need to move the snowflakes and roses.
Since we have separate elements on the same layer, select the parts of the symbol with the Polygonal Lasso tool (Polygonal Lasso Tool) (L), copy them and paste them to new places.
Duplicate objects and fill in the empty spaces inside the symbol. After that, select the character and go to Image> Crop (Image> Crop).
13. Adding color
Create a new layer and use a hard brush to paint the left side of the symbol brown. Set the blending mode to Fade Base (Color Burn). Create a copy of the color layer and change the blending mode to Brighten. (Screen), reduce the opacity to 60%.
Create another copy of the color layer and return the Fade to Base mode. (Color Burn).
Create a Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer. (Brightness /Contrast):
On the new layer, paint the left side in pink and set the blending mode. Soft light (Soft Light).
On the new layer, fill the right side in blue. Set the blending mode to soft light. (Soft Light) and eraser wipe the bottom.
Create a channel mix adjustment layer. (Channel Mixer) and tune the red and blue channels.
14. Small fixes
When you draw something yourself, it is not uncommon for small inaccuracies and blurry places. Where there is not enough color, you need to add paint with a hard brush.
15. Last adjustment layer
To increase the contrast, create an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels).
16. Glow at the edges
Add an orange glow to the edges of the petals. It should be only on those petals on which the light falls.