It was created for a bi-color icon contest, using that ever popular picture of Edward Elric without his shirt on;)
I use a huge range of methods on all my icons depending on what effect I'm going for, so this is just one of many things. If anyone would like to know how I did a specific icon or effect on my website, feel free to ask. Most of the time, I might even remember how I did it;)
I use Photoshop 7.0 with a few extra brushes from various places installed. Full list here. My earlier tutorial may be found here. I'm not going to bother repeating myself about things I said there, so this tutorial will be shorter and focus specifically on this icon.
This is the original base.
The original base after being placed in grayscale. The easiest way to do this is to go under the image menu -- adjustments -- desaturate. This is actually the base for this icon.
I took the original base and sloppily erased everything but the eyes and hair. Sloppily because in the end, the combination of layers masked my lack of accuracy, ie it doesn't show up except when you're looking at the lower layers here. (This step shows the hair/eyes layer on top of the grayscale layer.)
I like to make up my own original borders using whatever "messy" brushes I have at hand. In this case, I believe these are all from misprinted type. Basically, I just find any part of a brush that has a messy edge and use it to block out the four sides. I erased anything that obscured the main part of the face and left the rest. (Shown against a black background for contrast.) You can get a lot of variety in borders using this method.
This was actually two layers ("Turning lead" and "into gold") but I'm combining them here for expediency. The font is Modern NO. 20 at 10pt in caps. I tilted the text at an angle so I could frame the face. Both texts are overlaid with black (under the layer style menu), though I could have achieved the same effect by making the text black in the first place. Both texts have outer glow turned on (also under the layer style menu) with the spread at 17% (everything else can be left on default). They are slightly different colours because of the different backgrounds they were against. I played around with the glow colour until both were easily readable.
A simple peach coloured layer at 100% on Linear Burn.
The icon now looks like this:
Now a light blue layer at 70% on Overlay. It's purpose was to lighten the darker tone of the icon after the peach layer.
The icon now looks like this:
Since the icon is supposed to only have two colours, I had to get rid of the blue, so I layered another peach layer (it's a slightly darker colour than the one before) on it at 100% on Hue. I remember I tried a few different shades of peach before I found one that gave me the particular colour of gold I was looking for.
The finished icon:) You'll note it's almost impossible to tell what a sloppy job I did erasing the colour *grin*
Note: The colors used are very specific to this icon so you'll have to play around a lot to get a similar effect with other colors of hair etc.