Improving pencil drawings in Photoshop

Often, when the drawing is not finished, we notice a mistake that was made at the beginning. It is very, very unpleasant to look at how she destroys all the work. If only there was a way to fix it at this stage …

To many this lesson may seem controversial – this is a lesson about deception. In the end, art is based on effort, a person must be jealous of certain skills. That is why digital art is often despised, because the computer does everything for you!

I am not going to argue about the purpose of art – I have told enough about this in many of my articles. If you have a promising drawing, made in the traditional style and in need of some correction, but you do not think that you will make your work less valuable, I will show how to use Photoshop for such purposes.

Author’s Note: This is a lesson about improving traditional patterns. If you want the scanned image to look as good as the original, the lesson on cleaning up traditional drawings in Photoshop will be the best choice for you.

To start, scan / take a picture of your drawing, and also clean it if necessary. You can use the lesson from the link above, just ignore the last steps.

1. Move the parts

Sometimes a certain part of the picture ends where it should never be. You can erase it and then draw it again, but the traces of this “correction” will remain. Let’s try another method.

Step 1

Select the zone you want to move using the tool. Lasso (Lasso Tool).

Step 2

Use the tool Move (Move Tool) to drag the highlighted area to the right place. Deselect by clicking Ctrl + D.

2. We hide the error

We moved the site, but the change is too noticeable. You need to use another tool that will help remove the error.

Step 1

Select the zone you want to improve with the tool Patch (Patch Tool) (The patch is in the same menu as Dotregenerating brush (Spot Healing Brush)).

Step 2

Drag the selection to the zone whose area you want to lend.

Step 3

Use Patch (Patch Tool) wherever it is needed, thereby making the “scars” less noticeable.

3. We erase the error

This item seems simple, but using the wrong eraser, we can get a fake effect like in the image below:

Step 1

To avoid this, go to the menu Window> Tool Parameter Sets (Window> Tool Presets). Choose a tool Eraser (Eraser Tool) and then item Pencil with eraser (Pencil Eraser).

Step 2

Use it as usual. If you want to make the eraser softer without resorting to the help of a graphic tablet, change it Opacity (Opacity).

The difference is not too noticeable, but it plays a big role for the overall effect:

4. Resize plots

Changing a part of a picture can be a difficult process, since often a large part of the image is corrected.

Step 1

Duplicate (Duplicate) layer by clicking Ctrl + J, then hide it (to do this, click on the eye icon to the left of the thumbnail). Select a site with the tool Lasso (Lasso Tool).

Step 2

Go to menu Editing> Free Transform (Edit> Free Transform) or click Ctrl + T. Switch to Deformation mode (Warp Mode).

Step 3

Drag the markers closer to the middle to reduce the area or pull them to the edges to increase. If something went wrong, click Esc and try again.

Step 4

At this stage, we also need to hide the traces of interference. We can patch the seam between the modified zone and the original, but there is a simpler way. Turn on the visibility of the duplicate layer, add to it Vector mask (Layer Mask). Fill in (Fill) with its black color, and then paint only the part to the right of the seam with white.

If you do not understand what this is about, try this quick tutorial on using Vector masks.

The difference is amazing!

5. Change the shape of the plot.

The same tool can be used to reshape a plot:

If you need more control, try another, much more powerful tool:

Step 1

Go to menu Filter> Plastic (Filter> Liquify) or use a keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + X.

Step 2

Use the tool Deformation (Forward Warp Tool) by changing the shape of some sections. The larger the brush, the more natural the effect. Be careful: in this mode you can cancel only one action!

Translator’s Note – in fact, the same keyboard shortcuts work in the Plastic filter as in the main Adobe Photoshop window. Use Ctrl + Alt + Z to cancel the action, and Ctrl + Shift + Z for the return of changes.

This tool allows you to achieve a stunning effect!

6. Add Shadows

In the previous steps we corrected the shape of our character. Now we will try to make some more complex edits – add something to the picture. However, the more you use such corrections, the more obvious computer interference becomes, but sometimes the effect is worth it.

Step 1

Duplicate layer (Ctrl + J) and work with a copy, leaving the original under it. Go to Quick mask mode (Quick Mask Mode) (Q). Choose a soft brush and mark the zones you want to darken.

Step 2

Log out Quick mask mode (Quick Mask Mode). Invert (Invert) selection by clicking Ctrl + Shift + I. Go to menu Image> Correction> Hue / saturation (Image> Adjustment> Hue / Saturation). Reduce the value of the parameter Brightness (Lightness).

Step 3

Use the same eraser to erase the shadow around the body.

Step 4

Now use this eraser to blend the shadow. It should not be so uniform; make it a bit “ragged”.

As you can see, this is a very radical correction, so do not overdo it. The smaller the final drawing, the harder it will be to notice the interference with Photoshop.

7. Add highlights

This effect will only work if the object has been painted in dark colors. In my case, I need to darken the whole drawing. Create Newlayer (New Layer) by clicking Ctr + Alt + Shift + N and fill it with black with the tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool). Cut down Opacity (Opacity) of this layer.

Step 2

Go to Quick mask mode (Quick Mask Mode) (Q) and using a soft brush mark the areas that should shine.

Step 3

Log out Quick mask mode (Quick Mask Mode). Invert (Invert) selection by clicking Ctrl + Shift + I. Click on the main layer and Duplicate (Duplicate) selected area using keyboard shortcut Ctrl + J. Drag the copy layer by placing it above the dimming layer.

Step 4

Use the same techniques used to work with shadows to “mix” the highlights.

Step 5

Cut down Opacity (Opacity) for a softer effect.

8. Add Blur

Attention: this effect looks very “digital”. After its application, computer interference with the work will be immediately visible!

Step 1

Go to Quick mask mode (Quick Mask Mode) (Q) and using a soft brush, draw a stroke around the object.

Step 2

Exit mode (Q), invert the selection (Ctrl + Shift + I). Go to menu Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur).

Be careful – at this stage it is easy to overdo it!

9. Making the picture sharper

To make the lines cleaner, even if they were very blurred in the original image, we will go to the menu Filter> Sharpen> Smart Sharpen (Filter> Sharpen> Smart Sharpen).

10. Add a paper effect.

Step 1

This is the most popular and most “innocent” trick to improve the drawings. Place the paper texture over the image. Change Blend mode (Blend Mode) layer with paper on Multiplication (Multiply).

Step 2

Right-click on the layers and select Merge layers (Flatten Image). Then go to menu Filter> Filter Gallery (Filter> Filter Gallery). Select filter Texturizer (Texturizer) in the folder Textures (Textures). Adjust the settings as you like.

Step 3

Last but important point – you can use Levels (Levels) (Ctrl + L), adjusting the brightness of the entire image.

That’s all!

As you can see, there are many ways to remove the shortcomings of your work and even improve them. You don’t have to use all the ways — choose only those steps that make your work look amazing.

To summarize, I want to warn you. Even if you see this as “patching flaws” and not a hoax, make sure that you use all these techniques as a final touch, but not another stage of the work. The stronger the final effect differs from the initial one, the farther you go from traditional painting. This is not bad, of course, but only as long as you are honest with yourself and those around you!

Like this post? Please share to your friends: