Tutorial: Handwritten text on Images

Hey there! Today's post is about layering handwritten text onto an image.
So if you have an adorable little note from your man or your kid or just want to write your name in a fun font, let's get that out and get started.


1. Scan the handwriting in as a jpg file and pick your image.
When I write mine out, I like to use black Sharpie super fine point pens because they're dark and give you a lot of control and you always want to write on white paper if possible. Once your handwriting is ready, scan it in. I have an all-in-one HP scanner/copier/printer that works perfectly for me. But if you don't have access to one, take your note into a well lit area (preferably natural sunlight) and take a photo of it. Now, pick out your image that you want to layer the text on top of!

2. Open both files in Photoshop.
If your program cascades your files when you open them (like tabs on your internet browser), then just grab one and pull it off so that the two are separate you you've got both files visible in your working space.

3. Grab your handwriting.
In your handwriting file, use the magic wand tool and hold down shift to select all of the white (don't forget to select the space in your P's, R's, A's, O's, etc). Then, on the top menu bar, Select --> Inverse. Your handwriting should be the only thing selected now.

4. Drag the handwriting over to the image.
Using the Move Tool (V) drag just the selected handwriting over to the image. This should create two separate layers within that image.

5. Transform, resize, color your font. 

Most likely, your font isn't exactly how you want it on your image so now is when you get to play with it. If the size of the font isn't what you want, that's easy to change.

My font was too small for the image so I wanted to enlarge it. To do this, make sure that your handwriting layer is selected and then, on the top menu bar click Edit --> Free Transform. A six point adjustment box will pop up around your handwriting layer and you will be able to adjust the size of the font by scaling the corner points (make sure to hold down shift while you resize the text so that you retain the original proportions). It may look distorted (see below) but once you press enter, the adjustments are applied to the layer and it clears up. You can play with this to make the font wrap around your subject, like I did in the image to the right by using the other "Transform" options in the menu bar such as Skew, Scale and Warp.

Also, you may want to change the color of the font. So just double click the handwriting layer in your layers menu, and a box should pop up called Layer Style. If you click "Color Overlay" you can make your font any color you want. For a lot of my photos, I use white. In this box you can add 3D effects to it and much more. You can also change the opacity of the handwriting layer in your layer menu if you want to make the writing somewhat see through like I did with the photo at the beginning of this post with the Bob Dylan lyrics layered over the photo of Caitlin and Tom.

Ta-da! Save the image (you'll have to compress it and save it as jpg which will flatten the image if you want to upload it but you can also save a psd version which will preserve your layers so that you can come back to the image and play around with it).
You're all done! I hope you make some beautiful artwork! Share it with me in the comments if you do and feel free to ask questions.

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