Photoshop tutorial: Transform your doodles into art

Turn your idle sketches into gold with this amazing tutorial from Craig Shields.

Doodling is an everyday part of life for most creatives – it’s as natural as holding a pen. Whether you’re etching out little characters on the back of an envelope while you’re on the telephone, or creating a complex masterpiece in the back of a notebook, bus trip by bus trip, it’s an essential part of developing your own style and honing your imagination and artistic skills.

Many creatives, then, will have a bag full of doodle-filled notebooks, and a desk covered in messed-up envelopes and Post-It notes. But what do you do with them afterwards?

Much of the time they end up in the bin – we don’t see them as an important part of our creative work. This is a shame, as when you’re freed from commercial constraints and drawing for fun, your true style can shine through.

In this masterclass, Craig Shields shows you how to turn these little outbursts of creativity into artworks. You’ll learn how to spirit your doodles off the Post-It note and into a digital illustration, using them to add a very personal touch to an image. The masterclass makes use of several images that can be downloaded for a small fee or for free.

Step 1
Find yourself a decent high-res stock image, or use an image of your own. For this illustration I’ve chosen a quirky futuristic image of a model, which you can download for a small cost from iStockphoto at this link: You can use any portrait that has a fairly clear background.

Step 2
We’re going to insert some layers behind the figure later on, so we need to create a layer mask. First, select the Pen tool, and create a path around the edge of her face, hair and arms. Then right-click (Ctrl + click) your path, and pick Make Selection. Then go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection to create your layer mask. Name this layer ‘Woman’.

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