• How to Turn Patterned Paper into Pencil Sketched Paper

    One of the best things about digital scrapbooking is the versatility of the kit components. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can totally change the look of a digital paper, expanding your design options for each kit you own. One way to change a digital paper is to convert it to black and white, but you can take that idea a step further by transforming the design into pencil sketched art.

    Here's how:

    • Open a piece of patterned paper. The technique works for most digital papers but it is especially effective with "picture" patterns like the leaf paper in the Wanderer Paper Pack or the flower paper in the Vilkas Paper Pack at Designer Digitals.
    • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the paper.
    • Target (select) the top layer and convert it to black and white by pressing Ctrl Shift U (Mac: Cmd Shift U) on the keyboard. Press Ctrl Shift L (Mac: Cmd Shift L) to perform an auto levels adjustment.
    • At this point, you could save the black and white paper as a jpg file by selecting File > Save as from the menu bar. Rename the paper and choose jpg as the file format.
    • To turn the paper into a pencil sketch, continue by adjusting the levels. Press Ctrl L (Mac: Cmd L) on the keyboard. Drag the white point marker to the left to clean up the texture and make the image sharper. This is particularly important if the design has a heavy texture or background design. Experiment with the other sliders to get a crisp image this will be slightly different for each paper based on the paper art and original colors.
    • Next, duplicate the top (black and white layer) by clicking the layer and pressing Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) on the keyboard. Now you'll have two black and white papers on top of the original design.
    • Target the new top layer and change the blending mode to "Color Dodge." The blending mode drop-down is located at the top of the Layers panel and is set to "Normal" by default.
    • With the top paper still selected, press Ctrl I (Mac: Cmd I) on the keyboard to create the inverse. At this point, the pattern disappears and the top layer in the Layers Panel changes to the opposite (inverse) of the middle layer.
    • To bring the design back as a sketch, select the top layer and choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur from the menu bar. This opens the Gaussian Blur dialog box. Begin by moving the radius slider all the way to the left. Slowly drag it to the right, watching the paper in the editing window. Stop sliding when the sketch design appears, but not so far that the design looks simply black and white. When you are satisfied, click OK.
    • The next step is to merge the layers onto a new layer by pressing Alt Ctrl Shift E (Mac: Opt Cmd Shift E) on the keyboard. This creates a new merged layer at the top of the Layers panel. With this new layer selected, press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) on the keyboard to duplicate it.
    • Select the top layer and change the blending mode to Linear Burn. This helps accentuate the edges of the sketchy designs. If the effect is too strong, move the opacity slider at the top right of the Layers Panel to the left until you reach the desired effect.
    • Save the black and white paper as a jpg, changing the name as to avoid overwriting the original paper.


    Sketched papers make an interesting addition to your digital kits and can be used to match photos with difficult color schemes. This technique allows you to use and reuse your favorite patterned papers even if the paper colors are incompatible with your project. It's a great way to stretch your scrapbooking dollars and multiply your artistic choices.