How to make a movie poster with the XPPEN Artist Pro 16 (Gen 2) in Photoshop

Marketing and promotional material is one of the most vital elements for selling a movie. Film posters speak volumes – from setting the mood to establishing the theme, a poster is meant to pull you in and make you want to learn more from just a quick glance. So what better way to test your artistic skills than to try your hand at designing your very own?

Using the brand new XPPEN Artist Pro 16 (Gen 2) tablet, I challenged myself to take one of my favourite movies and design my own poster for it. This allowed me to test my graphic design skills and whilst trying something a bit different to my usual illustrative style. It also allowed me to fully utilise the hardware of the XPPEN Artist Pro 16 (Gen 2). I’ve been using this tablet for a few varying art projects recently (such as this rework of an older illustration) but graphic design was one avenue I hadn’t properly touched upon yet, and I wanted to see how it fared for work using the varying design tools in Photoshop. And it’s safe to say that, as expected from previous experience, the tablet didn’t disappoint. 

01. Introduction

For this project, I decided to base my poster on the Studio Ghibli classic “Howl’s Moving Castle”. This not only allowed me to create something based on a film I love, but also to work with an already beautiful and recognizable art style. The first step for this project was to gather references to get a rough idea of the direction I wanted to go for when designing. I wanted to keep this poster relatively simple in terms of detail, so the references were primarily to get an idea of color and theme. I gathered a bunch of official Ghibli posters as well as screenshots from the film I could easily glance at whilst working to keep my style and colours consistent – you can see the collective mood boards below. 

02. Planning

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