How to Create an Old Drawings Imitation

on May 04 in Drawing, Game Art by Paul

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a primeval concept drawings imitation inside an old book using Photoshop. You’ve certainly seen some drawings created by people like Leonardo Da Vinci or some old documents. They usually look like they are going to fall to pieces soon but still they are readable. We’re going to imitate such document in Photoshop. Let’s start!

Final Product

Below you can see the final image. We’re going to use several different textures, fonts and photos to recreate this piece.

Step 1

Open up the Photoshop and create a new document with dimensions set to 1680px by 1050px. You can use other settings if you’d like to create larger or smaller version of your drawings.

Step 2

You’ll need some textures and photos before you start. You may look for them on stock websites, free stock websites or you may pick some from your collection of textures. I used textures from I found them in Paper caterogry and Manmade category. I can’t make them available for download here due to their licence restrictions but you may download them free of charge from cgtextures’ website. You don’t have to choose exactly these textures I picked but if you choose them it’ll be easier to follow my tutorial. I’m leaving the choice up to you. Below you’ll find five textures that I used (a paper texture and four machines).

Step 3

Paste the paper texture into the Photoshop and scale it down by hitting Ctrl/CMD + T to fit the canvas.

Step 4

Open any of the machine photos. Use Pen Tool (P) to draw a path along its outline. Once you have it right-click on the canvas and select Make Selection… Then delete everything but the machine (remove its background).

Step 5

Paste the machine to the main document (if you haven’t been editing it in the main document). Scale it down (Ctrl/CMD + T) a bit to fit one page of the book like on the image below.

Step 6

Go to Filter > Blur > Surface Blur… and use it. Use 5 pixels for radius and 15 pixels for threshold. This way you’ll get rid of some redundant details. Go to Filter > Stylize > Find Edges. After that desaturate this layer by hitting Shift + Ctrl/CMD + U. Use surface blur several more times but beware of loss of some key elements. If they are starting to disappear simply stop blurring it or isolate the area which should stay untouched.

Step 7

Change its blending mode to Multiply. Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation… Select Colorize. You have to change the color of your first sketch to some shade of brown (lighter or darker – as you wish). To do it drag the last slider to something like +30 and first two sliders somewhere to the beginning of their bars.

Step 8

Hold Ctrl/CMD and click on a thumbnail of the layer you’ve just been modifying. Make sure it’s selected. Create a new layer (Ctrl/CMD + Shift + N). Fill it with any color. Go to this layer’s style and apply it the following style.

Step 9

Go to Image > Adjustments > Auto Contrast. Desaturate it (Ctrl/CMD + Shift + U). Your image should instantly become visible and grey. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast… and drag the first slider a bit to the left and the second to the right side.

Step 10

Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and use 44 pixels for distance and 0 degrees for an angle. Duplicate this layer. Move the original layer a bit to the right. Then move the duplicated layer to the left. Both layers should be moved only a few pixels (no more than ten to fifteen pixels). Make a selection of the original layer again (see the beginning of the eighth step for the instructions). Click on two layers from this step and apply a mask for both of them. Just hold Alt/Option key and click on a mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Finally change their blending modes to Color Burn and lower their opacity if necessary. You should get something like that:

Step 11

Once you enable the outline it should look like a sketch with light horizontal lines at the edges. Follow steps 4-10 to create other drawings and place them on both pages of the book. Their placement is up to you. I found some inspiration by looking at Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings and just placed my ones haphazardly like he did in most cases.

Step 12

Finally you can add in some text. I used a few different fonts with different setting here. Just browse some stock font websites and find something nice. Each font I found is free for personal and commercial use and they still look really nice. I generated some meaningless text and put it around the drawings.


That’s it. You may now adjust your image (especially the drawings) by hand as they are certainly not perfect. You may draw some other details and make your image look even more realistic. Thank you for reading my tutorial. I hope you enjoyed it and learnt something new! If so, please support my work and share it with your friends. Thanks!
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