I am in love with the Paper53 app on my iPad. I love to "draw" while laying in bed. It's not as satisfying as feeling the paint on my hands, but it is close second and it gives me unlimited possibilities to practice my art without wasting paper, paint or canvas. I really like the interface of Paper53 and the watercolored look and just recently they added a color mixer so the color possibilities are endless.

But one of my favorite things to do with Paper53 is to create lettering using the calligraphy tool in black. I use my stylus (or finger) to doodle words or graphic that I want to turn into brushes in Photoshop.

In the app, you create multiple "journals" to house your creations and when you are done you can email a .pdf file to yourself that you can in turn import into Photoshop….


After you email your journal.pdf, you go into Photoshop and import. >File > Open and find your .pdf file.

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Let's import each page from our journal as an Image… so select the button that says Images and then select all the images from your journal. Click OK.

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Once you have all these files opened in Photoshop, let's save them off as .jpgs for importing into Illustrator. If you don't have Illustrator, don't worry you can just create your brushes from the imported files.

However, I noticed that tracing them through Illustrator renders a crisper and larger image. If you want to use your imports, change the DPI (dots per inch) to 600 at the time you import.

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If you have Illustrator, let's open the jpg files that we saved off from Photoshop in that program and trace them.

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Bring up the Image Trace Window and select the Black and White Logo Preset and Black & White for the Mode. Click Trace.

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Then click Expand to convert our design to paths.

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Next select >Object >Ungroup and delete the white background…

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Finally, select an area of your artwork that has a white fill, then choose >Object >Select> Same Fill & Stroke and hit the Delete button. This gets rid of any white fills in your art.

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You can now save this off as an .ai file for later use or you can Select All and then Copy & Paste it back into Photoshop. From here you can use it as is, or create your brush set for later use, by selecting >Edit >Define Brushset.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I'd love to see your brushes that you created using this technique!


I also created this little freebie for you to use… it is in .png format. You can download it here. This is part of a larger set of brushes coming to the shoppe soon!

Have a great day!


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