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How to Photoshop Like a Pro: Hand-Drawn Graphics Tutorial

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By Fausto Mendez

There’s more than one way to produce hand-drawn-style graphics with a computer, and you may know one or two techniques yourself. But it’s not always as simple as it seems, as you probably know. Here’s a breakdown of a really useful and versatile technique, perfected by a humble artist turned turned web celeb.

    Lauren Nicole Hom - the passionate graphic designer behind the famous Tumblr Daily Dishonesty - is known for the utilization of a Photoshop technique that starts with a traditional on-paper sketch. Hom received several requests for tips on creating hand-drawn-style graphics, and she happily answered their requests with a helpful tutorial. We break down the basics below:

Step 1 - Draw It

+ Start with a pencil sketch on paper. Hom prefers grid paper.

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+ Fill in the sketch with a fine pen.

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Step 2 - Scan It into Photoshop

+ Scan the drawing into Photoshop. Use a 600 DPI resolution. Higher resolutions should work just as well.

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Step 3 - Lift It off the Paper

+ Adjust the levels to quickly erase any background patterns on the paper. This is pretty easy with line paper and grid paper. The effect should also darken the blacks to produce solid, dark letters against a solid, white background.

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 Make sure layering isn’t locked down. Next, select the whites with the Color Select tool. Delete the whites. This should produce isolated letters

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Step 4 - Finalize Digitization

+ Add a new solid-white layer behind the type layer. Pixel lock the type layer.

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    Since you now have solid letters on top of a solid-white background, you’re done importing your hand sketch into the digital realm. It’s now ready for some good-ol’-fashioned Photoshopping. If you want to learn how Hom refined her “Self Medicate with Chocolate” piece using color and additional enhancements, we suggest you check out the rest of the tutorial at Daily Dishonesty. Here’s the finished piece:

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