photoshop creative

Create colourful line art from photos

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
February 11, 2015

Add a touch of comic-esque colour to pictures with this tutorial by David Cousens!

Check out more of David’s work here!

1. Stamp on it

With your photo open, select Filter>Sketch>Stamp. We’ve changed the Light/Dark Balance to 20 and the Smoothness to 3, buy experiment with the sliders until you have enough detail to work with buy not too much that it looks crowded. Hit OK to apply.

2. Poster Edges

Now choose Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges and work with the sliders until you get a thick black outline and larger details like the hair are solid black. Now hit OK.

3. Tidy with the Eraser

Now it’s up to you how much work you want to put in. Use the Eraser tool (E) to delete some of the unsightly black dots. Choose a hard, black brush at varying sizes to paint in some final details.

4. The Lasso tool

With the lines isolated, we can paint under them on a new layer named Flat Colours. Select the Lasso (L), uncheck Anti-alias and set to Add to Selection.

5. Colour Fill

Use the Lasso to trace out areas for filling with flat colour. When you’ve finished selecting an area, press G to use the Paint Bucket tool to quickly colour this on the Flat Colours layer. Repeat until everything on the layer is filled with colour.

6. Add highlights

Create a layer (highlights) and set to Overlay. Select the Pencil tool (B) and use a pale yellow to paint in highlights. Move this layer above the lines.

7. Colour tints

Create a new layer called Colour Tints above Flat Colours. Use the Magic Wand (W) to select each area individually and then add colour on the Colour Tints layer with the Gradient tool (G) set to linear with the Foreground to Transparent preset and 25% Opacity.

8. Add linear gradients

For each area you’ve selected with the Magic Wand (such as the skin), add linear gradients that are darker than the base colour, and use them to add subtle shading and depth above each flat colour.

9. Select the luminosity

Press Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+2/~ to select the luminosity (this is just the lighter areas of the image) then press Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste in the results onto the Highlights layer at the top of the stack.

10. Final lighting effects

Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 8.8. As a finishing touch, add a Photo Filter adjustment layer and set the filter to Warming Filter (85) and Density to 65% in the dialog.

  • I remember making this tutorial for Photoshop Creative a few years back; I’d forgotten all about it. That’s my wife Sarah, and my daughter Freya, back before her hair had grown.