This post was originally published in December 2015. The tutorial is original to Karen of SnickerdoodleDesigns. She has many more amazing  Photoshop and Photoshop Elements tutorials on her site: SnickerdoodleDesigns.


Are you looking for a creative gift idea?  One you can make yourself; one that is easy, fast, and says.. “I care enough to create this just for you!”…. How about a coloring book, created from your own photographs?  Coloring is very popular right now! Whether you want to create a coloring book for a child or an adult, it’s easy to do.

Start with a  photograph and turn it into a sketch.  Create as many or as few sketches as you like.  Print your sketches, then bind them, to create a personalized coloring book.

Here’s how to create a sketch:


As a reminder, it’s always best to work on a duplicate photo, keeping your original safe.

I am working in CC2015 today; however, this technique works in Adobe Photoshop Elements also. (Be sure you are working in Expert Mode in PSE).  Instruction paths will be provided based upon CC2015 and PSE14.

1. Duplicate your photo.  (Image > Duplicate  OR Keyboard Shortcut: Control + J)

(PSE Users: File > Duplicate OR Control + J )


2. Desaturate the duplicate. (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate).

(PSE Users: Enhance > Adjust Color > Remove Color)


3. Duplicate the Desaturated layer. Now you have 2 desaturated photo layers and the original color photo layer.)

4. Invert the top desaturated layer:  Image> Adjustments > Invert

(PSE Users: Filter > Adjustments > Invert)


5. Change the Blend Mode of the Inverted layer to Color Dodge.  (This will turn your document white, and that’s okay!).  (Using Blend Modes in Photoshop, if you need help with this step.)

6. Next we will apply the Minimum Filter:  Filter > Other > Minimum.  Set the Radius to your liking; 1-3 pixels usually works best. Experiment with the Squareness or Roundness (not available in PSE). I usually leave it at Squareness. Be sure the Preview box is ticked so you can see adjustments as you make them.


7. If you would like darker lines, you can add a Levels adjustment, dragging the left slider to the right. (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels).


And that’s it!

I sent my final sketch to a color enthusiast, and she used colored pencils to hand-color the image at the beginning of this post.

I also was curious to see how a 3-year-old would color a sketch, so enlisted the help of a friend’s grandson. I created a sketch from a photograph of him and his sister, and he had a great time with it!


Once you have compiled your sketches, you can have them spiral bound at your local office supply store for a nominal charge. Alternatively, if you have a binding machine, you can do it yourself!

Please note:  If you are going to use water-based colors or markers, your sketches need to be printed with a laser printer. Crayons, colored pencils and non-water-based products are fine to use with sketches printed with an inkjet printer.

If you don’t want to create a coloring book, you can still experiment with this technique to add interesting effects to your layouts! Here’s one way:

Click on the color photo that is in your layers panel, and drag it up to the top layer position.  Change the blend mode of the color photo to “Color.”  Adjust the opacity to your liking. (Screen shot from PSE 14.)


Experiment and have fun!

If you are a visual learner, you can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns YouTube Channel  and on theStudio’s YouTube Channel.

Please head over to YouTube and take a minute to Follow both channels.  Each Channel will have some exclusive videos, so by following both channels, you will be sure not to miss a thing!