Tutorial: How to create fabric from drawings

JUL 30, 2012

This week Anda Corrie from Etsy shares a tutorial for creating fabric designs out of drawings using Photoshop. 


Make cute and simple fabric from your drawings!

Get some ordinary printer paper and your favorite brand of black marker or art pen. For this project, a thicker-lined pen is best. Decide what you'd like to draw–here, I'm drawing a bunch of smiling little kids–and draw
your subject all over the paper, repeatedly.

Don't worry if some of the drawings look a little off, just keep drawing—you'll get better as you repeat the image. Try a few variations as you go. Once you have a ton of little images all over the page, take a pencil and circle the ones you like best. 

Take a second sheet of paper and lay it on top of the first paper. If you can't see the lines you drew through it, you may have to hold both sheets up and tape to a window. Grab your crayons and "color in" the drawings you like on the second paper. Color loosely, a bit lightly, and use blocky color. Let your coloring go a bit out beyond the lines if you like.


Scan both images at 300dpi and open in Photoshop.

First, make sure the background of the crayon image is pure white. We'll use Replace Color for this.

Click Image > Adjustments > Replace Color, make sure Preview is checked, and set Fuzziness to 25.

Click on the background of the image in the Preview window—this is the hue that appears next to the word "Color".

Now drag the Lightness slider all the way to the right—the "Result" box will turn white. You should see your image background turn bright white as well. (If you start to lose image detail in the crayoned parts, adjust Fuzziness to 15 or 10.) Click OK.

Now's a good time to crop your crayon image.  I like to leave around 1-2cm at the top and left sides, and crop closely on the bottom and right. This will usually make the repeat flow nicely once it's uploaded to Spoonflower

You can also open Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation if you want to quickly tweak your colorway. 


Now for the line art image. Open Image > Adjustments > Threshold, set it to 128 and click OK. This will make your image completely black and white without any gradient.

Zoom (+) way, way into the drawings you've decide to work with. Using the Magic Wand tool, hold down Shift and click all the black parts of the image until it's completely selected, then copy what you've selected to your clipboard. Just work with one little drawing at a time here. 

Head back over to your crayon image and Paste the drawing as a new layer. Move it so it's positioned on top of its colored-in background, and use Edit > Transform > Rotate if you need to line them up better. 

Repeat with the remaining drawings you've colored. Flatten all the Layers of your image and if you like, open Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast—bumping both up will give you a more vibrant fabric, lowering them a touch will give a more muted image, which can be nice for a vintage look.

Open Image > Image Size and set the print size for your design. I like to set my image dpi to Spoonflower's default of 150dpi here, too. 


Save and upload to Spoonflower! You can preview your pattern in different repeats—here I've decided half-brick is best. You're all done! 


About Our Guest Blogger




Anda Corrie is an American illustrator, Etsy designer, and émigré living in Berlin, Germany with her small family. In her spare time she obsesses over vintage children’s books, makes homemade schnapps, sews tiny dresses that her 4-year-old stubbornly refuses to wear, and draws. Visit her Spoonflower shop for some lovely hand drawn fabric designs and her Etsy shop, Boosterseat.

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