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How to Draw on a Photo Tutorial

PicMonkey's Draw Tool lets you draw on a photo, doodle on images, scribble on pics, and write on your designs. You can create how you wanna with the Draw Tool — choose from Pencil, Paint Brush, or Spray Paint to give your designs a fun, sketchy, custom look.

Pro subscribers get an extra dose of drawing delight with extra-cool pro-only brush options. Choose from Glitter & Foil, Watercolor, Highlighter, Sketchbook, and so much more! Plus, you can change the shape of your brush tip for an even groovier look.

Plus, every drawing that you make saves as its own layer and that means you can apply textures or effects to it! And, save a drawing on a transparent background as a PNG for a cool custom sticker or logo you can use again and again. 

Let's learn how to use the Draw Tool!


Quick steps: How to draw on a photo

  1. Click Create new to open an image in PicMonkey. Either your own or a stock photo. 

  2. If desired, make adjustments (crop, colors, effects) to the image. 

  3. Open the Draw tool from the tool tabs menu on the left (the pencil icon).

  4. Select the drawing tool you wish to use: Pencil, Paint Brush, or Spray Paint.

  5. Use the Size, Hardness, and Strength sliders to adjust your stroke appearance. 

  6. Choose colors from the color picker. 

  7. Draw away! When finished, click Apply.

The drawing is now its own layer which you can further customize like you would with any graphic overlay in PicMonkey.


Detailed steps: How to draw on a photo

Now, let's dive into the details and learn step-by-step how to create a design using the draw tool. Plus, a little bonus tip at the end for how to create your own graphics using draw.

1. Open your photo in PicMonkey

To get started, first click Create new from the PicMonkey homepage and choose where your image is stored. No image? No problem! Browse our enormous stock photo library to find an image to draw on. Think about the photo having enough space to accommodate your drawing or handwriting. Also consider the contrast—if the photo is too dark drawing in color on it may not work out so well, for instance. 

Now is a great time to make any adjustments to your photo, so go ahead and crop or remove the background, apply a filter effect or adjust the colors before you begin drawing.


2. Select the draw tool

Onto the Draw Tool! Select the pencil icon from the left tool tabs menu to open the Draw tool. You'll see three different drawing tips to choose from—Pencil, Paint Brush, or Spray Paint—select the drawing tool you wish to use.


3. Adjust the draw stroke & colors

After selecting your drawing tip, the adjustments panel will show all the options available to you for customizing the look of your drawing. Use the Size, Hardness, and Strength sliders to adjust your stroke appearance, and choose the color you wish to use—we've started you off with six popular colors but you can choose any hue you like from the spectrum tab.


4. Draw and apply 

Draw away! Place your cursor on the canvas and click and drag to draw. You can change the size and color of each stroke if you want. You cannot switch between tips, however, until after you click Apply.

Draw straight lines by holding down SHIFT while you draw.

Note that if you click Cancel that the whole drawing you've created so far will be gone, so if you just want to undo your last stroke only, use the undo arrow on the bottom tool bar.

Once you've clicked Apply, your drawing now becomes its own layer. You can create as many drawing layers as you like and rearrange them from the Layers Panel.


5. Customize the drawing layer

Now that your drawing is its own layer you can customize it like you would with other graphics. Apply a textures to your drawing, use effects, crop, rotate, add a drop shadow, or adjust the opacity with the Fade slider. From the Layers Panel, you can move your drawing graphic so it's behind or in front of other layers.


Bonus! Create your own graphic with the draw tool

Make your own custom graphics with the Draw Tool by drawing on a transparent background and saving it for later in Hub. If you plan to export it to share or use elsewhere, be sure to download it as a PNG to preserve the background transparency. When you want to add it to a design in PicMonkey later, go to Graphics (on the left tool tabs) > choose Add your own graphic > select it from Hub.

Learn more photo editing tips: Blur Backgrounds, Mirror Image Effect, Film Grain Look, Make Photo Art, Blur Whole Images, Cartoon Look, Vintage Effects

Bring all your creative visions to life with a PicMonkey subscription.

Sarah Gonzales is the content marketing manager at PicMonkey. Before this she worked at Intiut, and before that started a non-profit, and before that had a radio show, and before that worked at Ms. magazine, and before that went to UC Berkeley, and before ALL of that grew up in Alaska.