Happy Fourth of July to those of the American persuasion. Hope you are enjoying a lovely holiday! Here was my take on the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I illustrated a little book about Ben Franklin at Imagine Learning a few years ago. I am crap at caricatures and likenesses, so this is the style I came up with to help me fake it. :) And since it's a holiday, a brief step-by-step for your perusing pleasure.
Here's the finished sketch. Already you can see I keep the background separate from the foreground elements.
Finished line drawing. I have a brush that makes a more pencilly line I made from the default spatter brushes. Background and foreground lines on separate layers. I grabbed a copy of the Declaration of Independence form online and used the Transform/Warp tool to make it fit into my drawing. I set that layer to Mulitply so whatever color underneath will show through.
Color fills and some simple shading. I use lots of layers at this point. There's a layer for hair, a layer for skin, layer for coats, layer for vests, etc etc. I fill in a flat color for the area and then can set the layer to Preserve Transparency. Then the shading is super fast, and it's easy to select areas or adjust individual colors.
And here's the final with text. I added a few old paper textures over the top set to Overlay and Soft Light, and there you go!