Art & design by
Matthew Laskowski


  • Whenever I start a new background or illustration in Photoshop, I open a file I made for myself containing different perspective grid setups for typical 1, 2, and 3 point armatures, and duplicate the one I need into my new artwork. This is an old-school method of constructing grids using 99-point star vector-objects and free-transforms to get them wherever you need them to be. Low-tech, easy, spontaneous, free!

    This method is like using dumb traditional tools, like a ruler, or a french curve. Using it effectively will depend on your fundamental skills with perspective as a prerequisite. There’s nothing wrong with using the assistive tools in apps like Clip Studio Paint, Procreate, or Lazy Nezumi! But, if you’ve ever wanted to build on your core fundamentals in perspective drawing, learning how to plan and draw perspective with dumb tools like these can help!

    Download at the button below and hope you find this file useful, or at the very least, a little time saving!

  • Back in mid 2010, I created a DeviantART community meme called the Influence Map, which encouraged artists to fill in the grid with a selection of things they find have a large inspirational influence on why they do what they do. Since art is never created in a vacuum, and we are bombarded with new things that can cause influential distractions or conflicts every day, I wanted to provide a kind of ‘road map’ that artists could create for themselves to help steer them back on track should they veer off into a rut. They can refer to it to remember the things they love that fuel their creativity, and stay true to themselves and origins.

    Thousands of artists have filled out this template across countless internet platforms, not just DeviantART. To this day, I still commonly get pinged with messages of people tagging me in their creation of new Influence Maps. In recognition of this, I wanted to update the original template to something a little better suited to today’s internet, (1:1 square ratio without the instructions baked-in,) and finally offer a PSD edition using masked layer groups to make filling in boxes as easy as dragging and dropping.

    Here is the new influence map, with a transparent PNG version below, complete with three different layouts and a dark and light color scheme. To maintain the transparency, make sure you right click and select “Save Image As” instead of Copy — Copy tends not to save transparency with it.
    And further below, you’ll also find download links to a dark or light version of the PSD.

    Instructions for Filling Out

    If using the PSD edition, an instructions layer will be visible when you open the file.

    If filling out manually using the transparent PNG version above, simply insert images you want to use on layers under the main template and crop each to fit its cell.

    You can put anything, really, in each cell. Images of things, places, people, pieces of media, books, words, ideas, concepts, philosophies, religions — you name it. Consider whether you’re just a fan of what you’re considering as an inspirational influence, or if it really has special meaning to your developing journey as an artist, and provides an energetic spark whenever you think about it. Things that truly influence you don’t happen overnight — they tend to stay influential for a long, long time as you continue to reflect on and consider its importance to you.

    Before saving out, don’t forget to add you name in the top left corner, and share wherever you like online!
    All I ask is to please keep the footer info to lead back to this page!

    Sample Influence Map

    Here’s my own influence map I filled out using this new template.
    This is my third time updating my map, and there are still some consistencies from when I first did one 12 years ago!

    I hope you have fun making one yourself, and if you already have before, maybe its time to make a new one!