I often doodle over photos on my computer while I am watching tv, just as something to do. I don’t really use a filter or an effect, I just have fun playing around with the brushes and pens in Photoshop and Illustrator. It’s my version of doodling. Here is one of the rabbit and me, which I often use as my desktop (if you would like to use it, you are welcome to download the full size desktop wallpaper of it here)

free desktop wallpaper of line drawing art

Even though I don’t use filters, they often look that way, so it got me thinking; what would be the minimum number of steps I could set out to create an easy how-to and mimic the illustrative look? This is what I came up with and the 7 steps it took to create it….

livetrace art work tutorial diy

1# Open image in Illustrator and copy the layer three times so you have more than one copy to work from. I started with a photo of this gal from an amazing camp wedding we were at this summer.

open file in illustrator in art diy

2# Use live trace on each layer with different preset options. In this case I used ‘Low Fidelity Photo’, ’16 Colour’, and ‘6 Colour’. Have fun and just play around with these settings. It’s an effect (which is why I normally try to stay away from it…. since it looks like effects) but could be just what you need if you are looking for a quick edit to a photo or don’t have much Illustrator experience. Expand each Live Trace once you are happy with the way it looks.

livetrace art work tutorial diy

use live trace in different ways

3# I used the Blob Brush Tool to soften any harsh lines. You can also use the Path > Simplify in this case.

livetrace art work tutorial diy4# Then you edit the paths. I just clicked on the paths in the background (using the direct selection tool) and hit delete. The goal here is to create a soft outline to the frame.

use live trace and expand

play with layers in art diy

4# I did this on each of the three layers depending on the detail of the layer. For example, the layer with the highest detail I only left a few key detail areas (like the eyes) Whereas, the more colour blocked (less detailed) layer I left more elements of the background. Arrange the order of the layers with the most detailed on top, followed by the second detailed, and the least detailed on bottom. When all three layers are visible the illustrative look starts to take shape.

play with layers in art diy

5# Then it is Photoshop time. Once you are happy with the look copy all three layers and paste into a Photoshop document of appropriate size and resolution.

place file in photoshop in art diy

6# Adjust the hue (images > adjustments > hue/saturation) to change up the colour pallet and make it appear more hand rendered.

changing hue in art diy

7# And the last step is adding in a few hand drawn lines with the pen tool and use the eraser to take a little away. I like to make each pencil line on new layers so I can change the opacity or easy delete a group of lines.

using pen tool in art diy

And there you have it. Nothing too hard at all. Enjoy.