Tutorial: Horizon Background Image

This is the first of many tutorials to come both quick and in-depth. Figured I’d start with a more in-depth one to get folks Deco Sketch skills kick-started. There’s a ton of power with the erase tool. You just need to do a little tweaking with the brush options.

This is the finished product. Any background scenery should work fine just make sure the foreground you’re erasing to isn’t too detailed unless of course you’re up for a challenge!.

You can work with your own image or download mine to follow along.

And just a side note, I've started up a Facebook page if you'd like to link up. I'll be featuring user work, giveaways as well as news and updates.

1. Select the Arcs Brush and then the 2nd to last preset that creates a 180 degree solid half circle.
2. Bring the Brush Opacity down to around 15 give or take. This keeps our arcs from being too opaque. We want to see some of the sky through them.
3. Assuming you’re making a rainbow, setup a red, orange, yellow, green and blue color palette. The default that Deco Sketch loads with is a good start.
4. Using red, start from the horizon line and drag up to the top of the image.
5. Change to orange and starting from the same point, drag up to about 80% of the size of the first arc so you can still see some of the red. If it doesn’t look lined up, just tap undo and try again.
6. Change to yellow and repeat dragging to about 60% of the red arc.
7. Continue the same process with green and blue. Don’t forget, the Undo button is your friend :)
8. Keeping the same brush selected, set the Erase Mode to on by tapping the eraser icon.
9. Set the Brush Opacity to about 50.
QUICK TIP - if you long press a hash line, it’ll send the dragger to that point.
10. Drag up again from the same center point on the horizon to erase the bottom of our rainbow. Voila! You’ve got yourself a rainbow!
11. Now we need to erase the overlapping sections from our foreground. Select the Circle Brush and the 2nd preset.
12. Open the options panel and uncheck the “Draw speed affects opacity”, “Draw speed affects brush size” and the “Draw speed affects stroke size” options.
13. Bring your Brush Opacity down to about 25 and your Brush Size to about 90. Bring up your Brush Spacing to about 12 or so.
14. If you’re using a high resolution image, turn on the Zoom & Pan tool and pinch to zoom in for detail work.
15. If it’s not already on, make sure Erase Mode is on and turn off the Zoom & Pan tool.
16. Taking your time and moving slowly, erase the overlapping rainbow parts from your foreground. I chose a simple image. If yours is more complex, adjust your brush size as needed. Undo is your friend! If you’re using a city as your foreground, a square brush may be more useful for sharp edges and corners.
17. Using the Zoom & Pan tool, drag your image to the other side of the rainbow and erase the rest of it from your foreground.
18. My rainbow was a bit too bright and I wanted to see more of the sky through it. If you want to tone it down a bit you can you use the same arcs brush to erase about 50% of its opacity.
19. Using the same arcs brush with the 2nd to last preset, make sure erase mode is on and turn your brush opacity to about 7 or so.
20. Dragging from the same center point where your created the rainbow, drag up to the top. You should now be able to see more of the sky through the rainbow.
21. Let’s add some texture to the rainbow to give it a little style. With the Erase mode still on, select the Circle Brush and the 3rd to last preset.
22. Quickly sketch back and forth over the rainbow to create the randomly sized circle holes.
23. You can use the same brush and preset to create the larger holes. Open the options panel and uncheck the “Draw speed affects opacity”, “Draw speed affects brush size” and the “Draw speed affects stroke size” options.
24. Set the Brush Spacing to about 75, the Brush Opacity to about 60, the Brush Size to about 50 and the stroke width to 15 or so.
25. Tap once on the rainbow to create a large circle of negative space. Adjust the Brush Size and Stroke Width settings and add further circles with single taps. Increasing the Brush Spacing allows you to draw one shape rather than a stroke trail of shapes.
26. Making the arc radials in the foreground is a similar process to making the rainbow though a bit easier.
QUICK TIP - If you’re happy with the look of the rainbow and don’t intend to change it, save out the image and then load it back into Deco Sketch. This way you can work on the foreground without accidentally erasing or drawing over the background.
27. Select the Arcs Brush and last preset.
28. Set your color to white or another that might match your composition better.
29. Increase the stroke width to about 25.
30. From the horizon point drag down to the almost the bottom edge of your photo. If the stroke seems light, drag up and down a few times to fatten it up a bit.
31. To erase the first few arcs, open the options menu and check the “Enable brush fill” setting.
31. Turn the erase mode on.
34. Drag down from the same center point to erase the first few arcs.
34. To erase the portions of the arc overlapping the background we want removed, repeat steps 12-17 adjust brush properties as needed.
35. The bird is pretty easy to make. Set your color to black or dark brown. Whatever fits your composition best.
36. Select the Circle Brush and the 4th preset.
37. Once again uncheck the “Draw speed affects opacity”, “Draw speed affects brush size” and the “Draw speed affects stroke size” options.
38. Using the Zoom and Pan tool, pinch to zoom in to make your bird.
39. Set your Brush Size to about 11, Stroke Width to about 3 and your Brush Spacing to 60 or more.
40. Tap to draw two circles next to each other with the strokes overlapping and their vertical position offset a little. It might take a couple trys so use undo as needed.
41. Now to make it look like a bird instead of glasses, check “Enable Brush Fill” in the options panel and turn Erase Mode on.
42. Erase the bottom portion of the two circles to create a bird like shape.
43. Zoom out and and there you have it! Your completed composition!

You can add additional borders and filters in your preferred photo editing app. I use Photo Toaster on iOS and Pixlr Express on Android.

The erase button is sometimes overlooked but a very powerful tool. Essentially the eraser takes on the properties of whatever brush and settings are currently in the options menu. You can create some very interesting elements with negative space in your designs. If you’re looking to do more detailed erase functions, just follow steps 12-17 to make a basic round erase brush. In a future update I will add a quick option for this so as not to go through all these steps each time.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. I’ll put new ones together as time permits. Send me your final designs and I’ll post them up on the Facebook page and Instagram so everyone can see the various outcomes!

If you run into any problems, email me at feedback@decosketch.com