Making a shop background has been difficult for me. First of all, I lack the drawing skills. Given an hour or so, I can do a decent job at realistic sketches, but comic-style drawing is what matters for games. After many, many false starts, I got a mediocre shop sketch done. I put a (hopefully) greedy-looking pig merchant in the front, a bookcase with blocks in the back and various low-tech shop stuff in the background. After taking a picture of my drawing with a digital camera and uploading it to my computer I went to Aviary, a web-based art-suite. It's not as powerful as Photoshop, but it's no slouch and it doesn't cost hundreds of dollars, either. I used the vector app to create polygon-based shapes on top of my sketch. Here's what it looked like part way through:
After finishing, then I saved the file as a png, and opened it with Paint.net to do the coloring and the details that had to be drawn. This process took me forever. Part of the problem is that I was using a mouse instead of a tablet, but I think most of it was just various rookie errors. Never resize stuff before using the paintbucket tool. The shapes will leak! Also, There were some serious perspective errors. Erasing and re-drawing huge chunks of picture really sucked. Next time, I'll try a lot harder to get it right with the vector based shapes at the beginning. I'm not completely proud of the final project, but I think it's better for my learning to just finish it and then be able to work on the next project sooner.