Hi guys! Remember how I told you that we're teaming up with Adobe Photoshop Elements this summer? Well, this is the first post from that series! I'm super excited to share Photoshop techniques with you. For my first tutorial, I decided to tackle one of the biggest reader requests we get. In this article I'll share the easy steps for adding your own handwriting to photos using Photoshop Elements, plus my own personal tips!
I use a Wacom Bamboo Connect Pen Tablet to add handwriting to my photos. A few months back I posted about it (here, without instructions) and many of you asked for additional tips and tricks! There are many different tablets you can purchase to draw in photoshop. I chose this tablet because it's budget friendly and easy to travel with. I often travel and work outside of the home. I love that I can take this little tablet with me everywhere I go. I honestly use it every single day.
NOTE: If you do not have a tablet you can still use your mouse to add handwriting. It may not be as smooth, but for smaller things like a heart or an arrow it will still work using these instructions.
1. Choose your photo + open it in Adobe Photoshop Elements. When choosing photos to add handwriting to I like to choose photos with some white space. I even take photographs (especially DIY) with this white space in mind so that I can add handwriting in Photoshop.
2. Choose your brush. Next, select the size, opacity and color. I labeled these in the screen shot above… A. Brush tool- There is also a drop down menu at the top where you can choose different brushes (seen below). B. Size- I always try at least two or three sizes after choosing a brush. I try to make my photos look like they were drawn on by pencils or markers, so I keep the sizes very small. C. Opacity- By reducing the opacity of your brush you can make your lines appear darker or see through. I often reduce the opacity when I underline words. D. Color- Choose the color you want to draw with. I normally use black of white, but you can choose any color by clicking on the square.
*Here's what the brush menu looks like. When you first start using the tablet don't be afraid to spend a lot of time testing all the different brushes. This is a huge part of the learning process and developing your own taste!
3. Zoom in and try different brushes. Choose your favorites! You can zoom in by pressing Command and + at the same time. I usually zoom in when writing to get a better view of my handwriting. When you are zoomed in you can see the differences between each brush much more clearly.
4. Try different colors for your handwriting + drawings. I mentioned this in step two, but let's take a closer look. When you click on the color icon (the black/white squares on the sidebar above) you can choose colors for your drawings. Choice of color is super important. If you choose to branch out from black and white you will want to spend some time experimenting with how the colors look on your photo.
I have downloaded other brushes from the internet to use, but I still use the default ones daily. They are great. Above is an example of a bunch of different brushes from the default menu. Experiment with opacity, size and color to give them the look at feel you want!
Here are 3 quick tips for adding handwriting to your photos in Adobe Photoshop Elements:
The first time you use your tablet it will feel a little awkward, similar to trying to draw with your mouse. When I purchased my first Bamboo tablet I forced myself to practice drawing and writing for several nights in a row until my designs looked like real paper/ink designs. Don't get discouraged it if takes a little while. If you practice you will feel comfortable using it very quickly!
I save nearly all of my original photos without handwriting or drawings to them. This is an important habit to keep because often handwriting can be super specific. For example, the image above worked great in our Sister Style post, but if I hadn't saved the images before adding the handwriting they would be pretty much unusable for any other purpose. The biggest reason why I save all of my original photos is because I use many photos from my blog for my family photo albums (without handwriting, of course).
Don't be afraid to mix it up! I love the way handwriting looks when juxtaposed with a nice clean font. Try mixing and matching for an even more interesting and professional look.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you've learned something new that you can use. Please let me know in the comments if you have a request for a future Photoshop tutorial. XO. elsie