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Creating The Full Deck Art

Now that you have the main artwork of your deck design done, it's time to begin creating the full deck dimensional artwork.  This means that you will create a new image in Photoshop at the dimensions of 9" wide by 33" high, with at least 200dpi.  This allows full bleed for the deck.

You should also start with the base color for your deck.  With the Joker 2.0, I chose black for sinister feel of the drawing (with a now black background).

Tip: If you are going for a wood grain background, then you will want transparency so that the natural wood grain of the deck (Canadian Maple) will show through.

Blank canvas with base color 9"x33" - 200dpi


With this we have a good start already.  Because I had already planned out a rough idea of how I wanted the deck to look in the end, there are some things that I knew up front.  One of the things I knew is that I wanted the entire thing to be simple and to allow the Joker's face to speak for itself and be the focal point of the whole deck.  The thing is, having a black deck with a face right in the middle, is a little too boring for DF13's style.  That means I had to add some elements to give it a little more diversity and depth.  It's okay, because I already had this in my plan.

So, before adding the focal point of the design (the face), I started with adding elements to the background.  Specifically for the Joker 2.0 deck, all I really wanted to add (remember I wanted to keep things simple for this one), was the signature Joker "Hahaha."  I chose one of the colors from the typical Joker palette (purple) and began creating the lettering for the background.

Adding elements o the background


Keep in mind that this is specifically or the Joker 2.0 deck.  Your designs may not require a background...or...your entire design may be just a background.  Let your imagination run wild.  For this deck, the next step is to add the focal artwork...the prince of crime himself.

Add the focal artwork


I created a new layer here and added my focal art (The Joker) to the deck.  Simply placing the artwork on the palette is not really all there is to it.  Once it's there, you begin to get a feel for where on the deck the focal art should be.  For the last Joker deck, the artwork was at the top, causing the deck colors to be a split of white at the top and black at the bottom.  This time around, I determined the best positioning for the focal art was dead center of the deck.

Since I also colored the entire background of the original drawing black, I also had to erase some areas here so that the background text (hahaha) would show through as though it was really behind the fella.  For this I essentially made sure it was a feathering effect to show what would appear to be a shadow on the background.

We have one more step and the artwork will be complete.

Since this is a DF13 Skateboards deck, it would not be complete without the DF13 Skateboards logo on the deck.

Adding the DF13 logo to the deck art


When adding the brand logo, you of course have to choose a variation that will either stand out on the background or one that blends in (if that's what you want).  All I'm saying here is that the brand logo should compliment your design.  Now I will say that when I first started this design, I was considering making the DF13 logo using Joker colors.  I even tested that concept at first and in all honesty while it would have kept with the theme of the deck itself, it just didn't look all that great.  So since the deck background was black, I went with the minimal approach and went with the all white logo.

The final design

As you can see, the entire artwork for the deck is now complete.  So far, it's been a long process and it would be great if we were done.  The thing is, we still need to know what this will look like on the deck.  That way we will know if anything needs to be adjusted.  For example, if I happened to have placed the brand logo too low on the design, I would know the moment I applied it to a deck template because the logo would get cut off on the tail.

DF13 software that generates a deck preview


This step can be done in any way you choose.  If you have a template for it feel free to use it.  Here at DF13 we have our own software that generates our previews, with or without trucks and wheels.  This is important because while a design may look awesome on the deck itself, when the trucks and wheels are on the deck, it may interfere with important elements of the deck design.

If everything looks great, we go ahead and save the deck, prep the artwork for application on the decks and move to getting the deck listed on the website for sale.

That really is the entire process in a nutshell.


Ultimately, as stated earlier in the article, this is a rundown of this particular deck.  Art has no rules.  The very idea of art is to be creative.  As long as you can get to the same end result and follow the very few requirements, you can literally do this any way you want, use any software you want, etc.

Let your imagination run wild.

If you create some deck artwork, we would absolutely love to see it!


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