Friday, November 8, 2013

How to Add Your Own Doodles to Digital Photos

I'm in love with adding hand-drawn borders, doodles, and accents to my photos using the Beautiful Mess App. If you've ever seen my Instagram account, you already knew that, though, didn't you?

So I was thinking about that app the other day and I started wondering if I could make my own doodles and borders to add to my photos instead of always using Elsie and Emma's drawings. I did some playing around in photoshop, and it turns out to be relatively easy! I'll walk you through the process.

Start by drawing your picture by hand on white paper.

I prefer to draw in pencil, but that doesn't work as well as pen does for this process, so I drew my doodle in pencil first (step 1) then drew over it in pen (step 2) then erased the pencil (step 3).

Take a photo of your hand-drawn picture, or you can scan it if you have a scanner.

Load the photo into photoshop.

Click on “Image” then “Adjustments” then “Levels.”

Select the white eyedropper and use it to click on the white paper in the photo.  Everything except your pen marks should suddenly turn perfectly white.  If there are some spots that aren’t 100% white, click on them again with the white eyedropper until everything in the background of your drawing is white.

Then click on the little arrow below the graph on the left hand side and drag it to the right.  This will make your pen marks darker and easier to select in the next step.

Now go to “Select” then “Color Range.” 

Choose “Shadows” in the drop-down menu.  All of the pen marks in your drawing should now be selected.  If they aren’t, go back to the “Levels” menu and drag the little arrow to the right again, thus making your lines even darker and easier to select.

With your drawing selected, click Control C to copy the drawing then Control V to paste it into a new layer.

Now you can make the background invisible by clicking on the little eyes next to every layer except the newest one.

Save your project as a photoshop document (.psd) so that you will always have it on hand to open it up, select your hand-drawn artwork, and drag it on top of any other photo you’d like.  

Check it out:

Happy doodling!


  1. This is a wonderful idea!! I'm definitely going to try this!

  2. that is sooooo cool !!! I'm so excited to try it, thank you Laura, you're opening up a world of endless possibilities !

  3. That is such a wonderful idea and so personalized! I love it!


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