You can actually achieve an authentic graphic novel style effect quite easily, by using a few simple photo-editing techniques. Give it a try now.
The stock image used for this tutorial can be downloaded here.
First, use the Quick Selection tool to select the whole body of the woman…
…and use the Refine Edge settings to tidy up the selection.
Create two new layers, and paste a copy of the woman in each one.
First select the top layer, which will be used to create the outlines for the woman.
Desaturate it, then bring up the Brightness and Contrast.
Next open the Filter Gallery, and choose the Poster Edges filter.
Set the Edge Thickness to maximum, the Edge Intensity to 6, and the Posterization to 6.
Click OK, then go to Image>Adjustments>Threshold, and set it to 1.
Now open the Filter Gallery again, and choose Cutout.
Set the Number of Levels to 2, Edge Simplicity to 6, and Edge Fidelity to 1.
Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and use the colour picker tools to choose the areas that you want to be completely white (eg. shirt), and completely black.
Change the outlines layer to Multiply, so the white areas become transparent.
Next select the second woman layer, and desaturate it.
We will use this layer to create the shadows inner of the woman.
Set it to Cutout in the filter gallery.
We want the shadows to be as simple as possible, without distorting the facial features, so find the right balance as shown above.
Once you’ve applied the Cutout filter, bring the contrast way up, so the shirt is completely white.
Now we want to get rid of any grey areas so that our image is made entirely of black or white shapes.
Use the paint bucket tool to fill all the grey shadows on the face and shirt with black.
Use an eraser to erase the hair in the shadow layer, leaving just the outlines layer visible above it.
And use the paint bucket tool to fill any grey areas of the boots with white.
Bring the contrast up to 100 to ensure there are no grey areas left.
And that completes the woman.
Next we will work on the background.
Select the fence, create a new layer, then with the new layer selected, fill the selection with white.
Below the fence layer, add a black Color Fill adjustment layer, or create a new layer and fill it with black.
For the cigarette end just create a red oval shape.
The stock for the cigarette smoke can be downloaded here.
Place it into your image, and resize it.
Go to Image>Adjustments>Threshold to reduce the smoke to a basic, but recognisable, shape.
Then change the layers blending mode to Screen.
The rain is made up of paint splatters that can be downloaded as a great brush set here.
Paint them in a new layer above the woman, and set it’s blending mode to Difference.
Back in the fence layer, use the Polygonal Lasso tool to select and delete areas of the fence to give the effect of shadows.
And use the Line Tool set to 4px to create white lines, illustrating the wooden planks that our character is standing on.
Add some more paint splatters to indicate where raindrops have fallen.
The stock photo for the revolver can be downloaded here.
As with the woman, desaturate the gun, and increase the Brightness and Contrast by about 25.
Use the Threshold slider to quickly boost the contrast to maximum…
…then apply a Cutout filter.
Place the gun into your image, then rotate and resize it.
Either use an eraser or create a layer mask to erase the area of the gun that should be overlapped by the woman’s hand.
Create a new layer above the gun layer, and give it a clipping mask.
In the new layer, use a small eraser to add an outline around the barrel of the gun so that it stands out against the woman’s black trousers.
And use a black paintbrush around the handle of the gun so it stands out from the white shirt.
And finally create a couple of white rectangles to contain some text.
The comic style font can be downloaded here.