1. Design & Illustration
  2. Add-Ons
  3. Layer Styles

How to Create a Quick Sketch Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Scroll to top
Read Time: 8 min
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

This tutorial will show you how to use smart objects, layer styles, and some filters to create a simple sketch text effect in Photoshop. I'll also give you a cool tip for changing the coloring of the final result pretty easily using a Photo Filter adjustment layer.

If you want to save some time, head to Envato Elements and come back to this Photoshop text effect tutorial later. There you'll find some awesome layer styles that are professionally made and deliver high-quality results. You can use them without needing to know how to add effects to text from scratch in Photoshop.

Letter Ink Press Vintage Text Effects 4Letter Ink Press Vintage Text Effects 4Letter Ink Press Vintage Text Effects 4
These Photoshop text effects do a great job of recreating the letterpress aesthetic.

What You'll Learn

  • How to create the pattern with a custom brush
  • How to make the layers for the background, text, and photo filters
  • How to style the text and apply the filters
  • How to move the text and change the color

What You'll Need

The following assets were used during the production of this Photoshop text effect tutorial:

1. How to Create the Pattern

Step 1

Create a new 80 x 80px document, set the Foreground color to #e0e0e0, pick the Brush Tool, and open the Brush panel (Window > Brush).

Choose a soft round 1 px tip, check the Noise and Wet Edges boxes, and modify the rest of the settings as shown below:

Brush Tip ShapeBrush Tip ShapeBrush Tip Shape

Shape Dynamics:

Shape DynamicsShape DynamicsShape Dynamics

Step 2

Create a new layer, and start drawing some diagonal lines to get a pattern fill for your sketch text effect in Photoshop.

Create Pattern FillCreate Pattern FillCreate Pattern Fill

Step 3

When done, make the Background layer invisible (by clicking the eye icon next to it), and then go to Edit > Define Pattern, and type in a name for the pattern. Then click OK.

Define PatternDefine PatternDefine Pattern

2. How to Make the Background, Text, and Photo Filter Layers

Step 1

Create another new 1000 x 750px document, pick the Paint Bucket Tool, choose the Pattern option in the Options bar, and fill the Background with any pattern you like from the 9 Tileable Notepad Patterns pack.

Fill Background with PatternFill Background with PatternFill Background with Pattern

Step 2

Create the sketch text in Black using the font Gunterz Bold Sans Serif Font and the font Size 150 pt.

Create the TextCreate the TextCreate the Text

Step 3

Right-click the text layer, choose Convert to Smart Object, and change the smart object layer's Fill value to 0.

Then duplicate the smart object layer three more times, so that you end up with a total of four smart object layers.

Group all the smart object layers you have, name the group Text, and change its Blend Mode to Normal. This is the part that will enable you to change the text color easily later on.

Creating the Smart Object Layers and their GroupCreating the Smart Object Layers and their GroupCreating the Smart Object Layers and their Group

Step 4

Click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Photo Filter. Place the Photo Filter adjustment layer inside the Text group on top of all the smart object layers.

Choose the Color option, and then change the color to #3f3f3f and the Density to 100%, and uncheck the Preserve Luminosity box.

Photo Filter SettingsPhoto Filter SettingsPhoto Filter Settings

3. How to Style the Text

Now it's time to start adding the sketch text effect in Photoshop. It's easier than you'd think.

Step 1

Double-click the first smart object layer to apply a Pattern Overlay effect using the following settings:

  • Opacity: 70%
  • Pattern: Use the pattern you created at the beginning of this tutorial.
Pattern OverlayPattern OverlayPattern Overlay

This will style the inner part.

Styled Pattern Filled TextStyled Pattern Filled TextStyled Pattern Filled Text

Step 2

Double-click the first copy smart object layer to apply the following layer style:

Add a Stroke with these settings:

  • Size: 1
  • Position: Center
  • Color: #c9c9c9

Step 3

Add an Inner Shadow with these settings:

  • Color: #bfbfbf
  • Distance: 0
  • Spread: 100
  • Size: 1
Inner ShadowInner ShadowInner Shadow

Step 4

This will style the first stroke layer. Right-click the styled layer, and choose Copy Layer Style. Then select the remaining copy layers, right-click one of them, and choose Paste Layer Style.

First Stroke Layer First Stroke Layer First Stroke Layer

Step 5

Double-click the second copy smart object layer to modify some of the values used for the layer style:

For the Stroke effect, change the Color to #bfbfbf.


Step 6

For the Inner Shadow effect, change the Size to 2.

Inner ShadowInner ShadowInner Shadow

This will style the second stroke layer.

Second Stroke LayerSecond Stroke LayerSecond Stroke Layer

Step 7

Double-click the third copy smart object layer to change some of the Stroke effect settings:

  • Opacity: 90%
  • Position: Inside
  • Color: #d6d4d4

This will style the last stroke layer.

Third Stroke LayerThird Stroke LayerThird Stroke Layer

4. How to Apply the Filters

Step 1

Select the first copy smart object layer, and go to Filter > Distort > Ripple. Change the Amount to 20 and the Size to Medium.

Ripple FilterRipple FilterRipple Filter

Step 2

Select the third copy smart object layer, and go to Filter > Distort > ZigZag. Change the Amount to 5, the Ridges to 10, and the Style to Out From Center.

ZigZag FilterZigZag FilterZigZag Filter

Step 3

Finally, go to Filter > Blur > Surface Blur. Change the Radius to 3 and the Threshold to 12.

Surface Blur FilterSurface Blur FilterSurface Blur Filter

5. How to Move the Text and Change the Color

Step 1

What you'll need to do next is pick the Move Tool, and then select each of the three copy smart object layers and move them slightly. You can move any or all of the layers depending on the effect you want to get.

Moving the Stroke LayersMoving the Stroke LayersMoving the Stroke Layers
Notice how the move creates an almost 3D sketch text effect with our letters.

Step 2

If you want to change the coloring of the text, all you need to do is select the Photo Filter layer, and in the Properties panel, click the color's box to choose a different one. The color used here is #3060ce.

Place the Photo Filter layer inside a group that contains the elements it's supposed to affect, and change that group's Blend Mode to Normal instead of Pass Through.

Change the ColorChange the ColorChange the Color

Congratulations! You're Done

In this Photoshop text effect tutorial, we created a simple pattern using a modified brush tip.

Then we filled a background with a lined paper pattern, created some text, converted it into a smart object, and then created a couple of copies of it. We then styled each copy to get the sketch effect, with the help of some filters that we applied after styling the layers.

Finally, we moved the layers around a bit and used a Photo Filter adjustment layer to change the color of the final result.

Download Premium Photoshop Text Effects From Envato Elements

There are so many cool Photoshop text effects out there, and you won't need tutorials to try them all. Envato Elements is home to premium layer styles you can apply to your text and use for your projects. Here's a small sample of what you can find from the creative asset service:

1. Street Graffiti Text Effect (PSD)

Street Graffiti Text EffectStreet Graffiti Text EffectStreet Graffiti Text Effect

We're jumping from a sketch text effect for Photoshop to street art. The graffiti on show in this download is realistic and works with all of your text. You can even use it for logos. If you're a fan of this art style, then you'll want to have this option on your side.

2. Super Luxury Glitter Editable Text Effect (PSD)

Super Luxury Glitter Editable Text EffectSuper Luxury Glitter Editable Text EffectSuper Luxury Glitter Editable Text Effect

Let's face it: glitter gets everywhere. Thankfully, this cool text effect for Photoshop is a nice compromise. It has all of the sparkly traits of the tiny particles, with none of the mess. Use this Photoshop text effect's aesthetic for invitations, posters, and more.

3. Shattered Glass Text Effect for Photoshop (PSD)

Shattered Glass Text EffectShattered Glass Text EffectShattered Glass Text Effect

You can almost feel the impact of the Shattered Glass Photoshop text effect. When you add your text to the Smart Object layer, you'll be greeted with shards of splintered letters so realistic that they'll pop off the screen. If you're after cool text effects for Photoshop, download this.

4. Mirror 3D Text Effect for Photoshop (PSD)

Mirror Text EffectMirror Text EffectMirror Text Effect

Looking at Mirror is almost like looking at an optical illusion. The well-placed folds and bends create a 3D text effect for Photoshop that's hard to pull yourself away from. It's high resolution and fully editable, so you can really try your hand at making something creative.

5. Burning Steel Text Effect (PSD)

Burning Steel Text EffectBurning Steel Text EffectBurning Steel Text Effect

Burning Steel is the final entry in our list of cool text effects for Photoshop. The texture and bold lettering on show here remind me of a high-octane action movie, so it's perfect for posters and fan projects. It's a departure from the sketch text effect in our Photoshop tutorial, but Burning Steel makes a great addition to your creative toolkit.

Try More Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials From Envato Tuts+

Learn how to create and add more effects to text in Photoshop with help from our instructors. They've crafted some of the best tutorials online that you can try your hand at. Here are a few you can get started on:

Did you find this post useful?
Want a weekly email summary?
Subscribe below and we’ll send you a weekly email summary of all new Design & Illustration tutorials. Never miss out on learning about the next big thing.
One subscription. Unlimited Downloads.
Get unlimited downloads