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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects

How to Create a Quick Sketch Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Read Time: 5 mins
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. I'll also give you a cool tip for changing the coloring of the final result pretty easily using a Photo Filter adjustment layer. Let's get started!

Tutorial Assets

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

1. Creating 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 text effect.

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. Creating 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 text in Black using the font Panton Black Caps 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. Styling the Text

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. Applying 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. Moving the Text and Changing 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 it 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

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.

Placing the Photo Filter layer inside a group the contains the elements it's supposed to affect, and changing that group's Blend Mode to Normal instead of Pass Through is the trick to make this work.

Change the ColorChange the ColorChange the Color

Congratulations! You're Done

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

Then we filled a background with a lined paper pattern, created some text and 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.

Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, and outcomes below.

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