How to add realism to text and doodles

I have a really simple way for you to add realism to written journaling, doodle lines and stamps etc in Digital Scrapbook and Art Journaling pages!

This is especially useful for Black pieces that are harder to blend. Rather than try and blend them into the background, I do the opposite, and blend the texture FROM the background into these pieces!

Here is an example of some layers from a layout that I feel need some tweaking, and this is a super early sneak peek of a new Collection I have coming out this week that I scrapped with today!

I've captured an area of my layout as an example for this tutorial. I'm going to add some realism to some of the written journaling, doodle lines and the stamp design layers on my page as indicated by the red arrows. Whilst the pieces are very much a part of my design in the overall layout, they look far too clean for my artsy layout at 100% because they don't seem to blended into the rest of the background.

I may be picky, but I love to apply attention to detail, maybe it stems from art journaling in real life, every last morsel of paint would be rubbed into the texture of the paper by my fingertips and I love things to look realistic. Especially if I were to print this page or send it to a magazine for publication, so I have a simple fix for it!

We are simply going to use our background paper as a texture for these layers, and here's how to simply do it:

  1. Duplicate your background paper.

  2. Desaturate your duplicated layer.

  3. Optional Step (to give the texture a further 'pop') Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels.

  4. Position the duplicated paper above the layer you want to add texture to.

  5. Clip the paper to the layer you want to apply texture to and apply a blending mode. You'll need to experiment with which is the best setting depending on the colour of your layer. For black layers I find that a setting of Hard Light works best at around 35% opacity but it will be different for each layout depending on what you are working with.

  6. Optional Step that I find myself using almost all of the time (if the texture seems too light or too dark) is to adjust the levels of your texture paper layer - see last weeks tutorial.

Your layer should now be textured, repeat for other layers where necessary!

Here are before and after screen shots of  the area of my layout that I was working on:

Pure black can be hard to texture, a tip to keep in mind is that if creating title work or journaling, try using a dark charcoal black vs true black, you'll have much better luck getting it to look realistic on your layout when applying textures etc. :)

Let me know how you get on in the comments, and of course any other questions you might have!