Line-Art in Photoshop

  ●  Learn some basic techniques for cleaning up line drawings in Photoshop.


Learn About:

RGB vs. Grayscale Levels Crop Tool Eraser Tool

  •   This is the First Tutorial in a series designed to help students complete the Portrait Project:

1 - Line Art   2 - Face Color   3 - Face Shading   4 - Hair   5 - Highlights   6 - Eyes  

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.

More Examples

Step #1: Open your Line Drawing in PhotoShop ~

The layer MAY be locked .

If necessary, Double-Click the layer …

… rename the layer sketch - then hit OK to unlock.

renaming layers

Renaming the layer unlocks it!

Step #2: Crop the Image ~

Get the Crop Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (c) …

crop tool

… and crop the parts you need.

Step #3: Rotate the Image (if necessary) ~

IF NECESSARY, go to: Image > Image Rotation - Counter Clockwise or Clockwise - if necessary …

Step #4: Grayscale ~

Go to: Image > Mode > Grayscale.


Step #5: Levels ~

Hit the keyboard shortcut letters: Cmd(⌘)+L + or go to: Image > Adjustments > Levels

… clump the arrows together. Line drawings usually have a very narrow range.

Step #6: RGB ~

Then go back to RGB by going to: Image > Mode > RGB.


Step #7: Delete the White Background ~

Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool

Right-click and select Color Range.

Click somewhere in the background white area.

When you press OK, notice how it selects everything that matches the color you selected.

Hit Delete: (or Backspace on a Windows keyboard) and it should end up like this:

Hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+D to deselect.

Step #8: Zoom In ~

Get the Zoom Tool by hitting the keyboard shortcut letter (z) …

… select Zoom In on the menu bar …

… and click the image to zoom in or hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘) +

Step #9: Erase the Junk!

Select the Eraser Tool by hitting the keyboard shortcut letter (e) …

… and click on Brush Preset picker in the Menu Bar.

… select a Hard Round brush …

hard round brush

… and clean up the lines …

… erasing ALL the clutter, leaving only solid black lines.

When you're done, lock the sketch layer.

Last Step: Save & Attach ~

Go to: File > Save as … and save your work as - FIRST_NAME_LAST_NAME_PROJECT_NAME.psd

save as .psd

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects like this:


  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.


  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.