This is going to be one of those lots of different ways of doing it, but I'll give you an idea of how I would approach it.
You'll absolutely need to get to grips with layers and layer workflow, as in remembering to name them (as you'll be using a lot of them) and grouping layers to keep it tidy. But start by drawing your outline on a new layer, and then making a copy of it. This is on an object by object basis.
On the lower outline layer, fill with colour and lock its transparent pixels. This means you can safely paint on the lower layer without spilling outside it, and the copy of the outline will still be visible above it.
This is one of the places where you have near infinite options. To do it with a brush, we now have some excellent new presets from Kyle Webster like the one below.
So click on the foreground colour, and select something a wee bit darker
Set the brush opacity to something really low like 10% or 20% and paint in the shading on the locked layer. The copied outline layer still shows because it is above the red layer.
Because the red layer is locked, you can do things like run a gradient up it
Set the foreground colour to the light red, and background to the darker. Either just go with that, or click on the gradient in the Options bar and fine tune to suite.
If you make another copy of the red layer, you could use a filter like Texture, or my favourite which is Camera RAW > fx > Grain
OK that and add a layer mask.
And use black to hide the new grain texture and show the previous layer underneath
In this example I have run a gradient up the mask so we can no longer see the texture at the top of the cab. This pure guidance, and you'll be deciding what goes where.
Lets make a tree.
Use the Custom Shape tool and select the dream or thought bubble as below
Set fill to dark green, and stroke to black with size to suite. I have used 3 pixels here.
Note I selected the pen tool, and hovered over the pointy bit at the bottom and clicked to remove that point.
Copy the layer a few times, and use Free Transform to change each one and move into position.
There is _so_ much more we can show you, but have a play with this, and you can keep this thread running as long as you like, and keep asking new questions.
Good luck, and have fun.
What an amazing and helpful post. Thanks so much for all of your time. We will have a go at the weekend and report back. Wow I love this forum.
We can keep the tips and ideas coming, and all are welcome to add to the thread.
Continuing the tree, the initial dream bubble shape was copied and resized and rotated to mix it up.
We could use Layer Styles to add the shadow, but we want to restrict it to the 'leaves' layer beneath it in the layer stack, and drop shadow would spill beyond that. So what we do is
- add a shadow layer beneath a leaves layer
- Ctrl click the leaves layer to load it as a selection
- Fill the selection in the shadow layer
- offset it with the move tool
- and blur it with Gaussian blur
- To prevent the spill we 'clip' the shadow layer to the layer it is casting the shadow on
- This is done by hovering the cursor over the two layer's intersection, (Green highlight) and Alt clicking.
The trunk just uses a hard brush, but as soon as we make the trunk layer, double click to open Layer Styles, and add a black stroke.
Now everything we paint will have the black outline.
It's actually harder to find some of those old favourite brushes since CC2018, but they are there under Legacy