Convert Clipart to Line Art

Whether you are creating a coloring sheet to print out or making a clipart image unique for the web, this tutorial is one you will find beneficial. For a sample image to use with this technique, I went to Microsoft Office and copied and pasted a clipart image. I am using the butterfly below:


Open the image in Photoshop. If it is vector clip art, you will need to convert it to TIFF, PNG, or BMP first. Avoid converting to JPEG because it will distort the crisp lines in the image. To achieve this, click on File > Save As, and then select one of the formats listed above.

File Formats

Make sure the image is in RGB color mode (Image > Mode > RGB color).

Image Mode

Go to the layers palette and click the second button (adjustment layer), then choose Threshold.


When the Threshold dialog comes up, your image will be converted to line art. If you move the slider to the left you will get less black, and if you slide it to the right you get more black. When you like the results, click OK.


Next you need to merge all the layers. Select Image > Flatten Image:

Flatten Image

Now if you are going to use this as a coloring sheet we will need to print the results. Click File > Print:

File Print

This opens the Print Preview dialog box. Notice how small the butterfly appears. To make it larger, simply grab one of the size handle boxes and pull it out while holding down the left mouse button.

Print Preview

Click OK to print your photo if you are creating a coloring sheet. You will not print because you are creating a graphic for the web.

Now you will color the graphic. Select the magic wand tool Magic Wand and click inside the area you will fill with the previously saved pattern. To select more than one area, simply hold down the Shift key. Then select Edit > Fill Selection and choose the polka dot pattern your previously created. To select another area you must deselect the region. To deselect select Ctrl + D. Use a solid color for the antennas and the body section. Here is what I came out with.

Colored Butterfly

Photoshop CS5 Tutorials