Want to be in a comic book?

You can turn a picture into vector art that mimics comic book inking! All you need is Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

lauren 3 photos

Here is a picture of my sister-in-law before and after I added effects.

STEP 1 – Select the picture you want to use.

I chose a family tree illustration I made. If you look closely, you can see the hair and fingers intertwine in a form of Celtic knot. The reason I want to turn this into vector art is because the only picture I have of the drawing is very low quality. In order to make it bigger, I need to change it to vector art to avoid it becoming blurry.

family tree 6











STEP 2 – Open the picture in Photoshop, select “Adjustments” and then “Brightness/Contrast.” 

The goal is to create a stark contrast in your picture. Play around with the extremes to see how your picture changes. Make sure to click “preview.” The settings will change based on your picture.



STEP 3 – Go back to “Adjustments,” and select “Curves.”

  • You’ll notice the three little eye droppers at the bottom of the pop up window.
  • Use the darkest dropper to select the darkest part of your picture. You may want to try selecting lighter areas to see how you want your picture to change.
  • The right most dropper is for selecting the lightest shade of your picture. Again, play around.
  • You’ll also see lines pop up in the box above the droppers. Click and drag on these to watch your picture lighten or darken.



STEP 4 – Save your picture as a Photoshop PSD file. Do this by changing the format under the field where you name your file.

STEP 5 – Open up the PSD file in Illustrator.

STEP 6 – Click on the tiny arrow next to “Image Trace,” and you’ll see a drop down menu.

There are many tracing options. You can click on each and then undo to see the different effects. I chose “Low Fidelity Photo” for my example.


family tree 3 JPG

My picture after using the trace option “Low Fidelity”

STEP 7 – After finding the trace option you like, hit the “Expand” button.

This changes the shapes in your photo into vectored shapes, so you can manipulate them.



STEP 8 – Ungroup vectored shapes by right clicking and selecting “Ungroup.”

The expand button automatically groups your vectored shapes together. In order to manipulate your shapes, you need to ungroup them.



STEP 9 – If you want to recolor your image, it will be easier to regroup groups based solely upon like coloring.

  • You can do this manually, but it takes forever! Thankfully, there is an easier way!
  • Click on a shape of whose color you want to change.
  • Click on “Select” and then “Fill Color” or “Fill & Stroke”.
  • Once your shapes are selected, right click and select “Group”.
  • Change the color of your shape grouping.


Here are some pictures of a different tracing effect “Black and White Logo.” I changed the coloring using the steps above.

family 9 JPGfamily tree 9 JPG


STEP 10 – Want to save your image to upload on your blog? You need to export it as a JPEG file.

  • Before exporting, I would recommend saving your picture as a PSD file, so you can change it later.
  • To export, select “File,” then “Export,” and select JPEG under the “Save as type” option.910


Thanks for reading! To see another example of this effect, check out another of my posts “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane! It’s…”


3 thoughts on “Want to be in a comic book?

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