Inky Outlines

with 12 Comments


Inky Outlines
by Jenifer Juris

Do you need that extra something to make your background pop? Add some inky outlines for a fun and artsy effect.

For this tutorial you will need:

  • Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements


Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new 12×12 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (PS: Choose File > New.)
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black over white.

Step Two: Create a Selection

  • Get the Elliptical Marquee tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the New Selection icon and check Anti-aliasing. Set the Feather to 0 px and the Aspect to Normal. (PS: Set the Style to Normal.)
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create a New Layer icon.
  • On the document, click and drag out a circle. To create a perfect circle, hold down the Shift key while you click and drag.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Inverse.



Step Three: Create the Inky Outline

  • Get the Brush tool.

Photoshop Elements:

  • In the Tool Options, open the Brush Picker and choose the Rough Dry Brush from the Wet Media Brushes. If you don’t see the Rough Dry Brush, open the flyout menu and choose Large List.

Adobe Photoshop:

  • In the Tool Options, open the Brush Picker and choose the Rough Dry Brush from Legacy > Wet Media Brushes.
    • To see the Legacy Brushes, open the flyout menu and choose Legacy Brushes. Click OK.
    • To see the name of the brushes, open the flyout menu and check Brush Name.


  • In the Tool Options, set the Size to 60 px, the Mode to Normal, and the Opacity to 100%. (PS:  Also set the Flow to 100% and the Smoothing to 100%.)
  • On the document, click and drag the brush around the selection outline.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.



Step Four: Repeat Steps 2 and 3

  • Repeat Step Two and Step Three until you have as many inky outlines as you’d like.



Try these tips and variations:

  • Vary the size and shape of the circle selections.
  • Recolor the Inky Outlines to match your project.
  • Save your Inky Outlines in their own document so you can reuse them again and again.
  • Try making Inky Outlines using the rectangular marquee tool.

Here’s how I used my Inky Outlines on a page:



Here’s how I used the outlines on a card:

NOTE: Because my card document size was smaller than my scrapbook page, I had to decrease the size of the brush to 35 px.



Page & Photo: Jenifer Juris
Tutorial: Inky Outlines by Jenifer Juris
Kit: All About A Boy by Shawna Clingerman
Fonts: The StayClean, Oh Wonder Sans

Card: Jenifer Juris
Tutorial: Inky Outlines by Jenifer Juris
Kit: Simple Joys by Anita Designs
Fonts: Atifa, Aurellia Script



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12 Responses

  1. donnal
    | Reply

    Jenifer, you always come up with something new and unique. I love this tutorial and am going to spend some time using it today. Thanks, always, for your fresh ideas!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Aw, thank you SO much! I can’t wait to see how you use it! 🙂

  2. pjscraps
    | Reply

    This is a very, very cool technique, Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re very welcome!! 🙂

  3. Donna
    | Reply

    Thanks, Jenifer. I love the inky look and am off to try this!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      I’m so glad you like it! Can’t wait to see how you use it. 🙂

  4. Leslie Ann Sartor
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for the fun tutorial. Question. Why did you draw the circle and what was the purpose of inverting it? Can’t we just draw a circle with a brush? I love learning and need to know why I’m doing something.
    Leslie Ann

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      I’m so glad you liked it! The purpose of using a selection and inverting it is two-fold. One, it gives me something to “trace”. Without that, my circles would be horrible looking. The reason I inverted it is because I wanted to trace around the outside of the selection, not the inside. I wanted the inside of the brush stroke to be smooth but the outside to show all the inky goodness. I hope that makes sense. Let me know if you need more clarification. 🙂

  5. Deborah Wagner
    | Reply

    What a fun tip! I love the texture of the circles made with the dry brush, and your page is delightful!!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thx so much!! 🙂

  6. Julie Singco
    | Reply

    Your page and your card are so inspiring! I love the pops of color on your page and the font combinations on both the page and the card look great.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thank you SO much! 🙂

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