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How to make a photo into Pop Art

Pop art is an art movement that became popular in the mid 1950s in the UK. It is an artists’ masterpiece usually created by isolating and manipulating specific parts of a picture. In the digital world, it is easier to show your art and create intriguing images using the digital tools available. You can give your photograph a comic-style look and also put a script on it. It really is a fun experience and a display of creativity.

Today we’ll learn how to create a type of pop art easily using Photoshop. We will work on a photograph and achieve results in this step-by-step tutorial.

orig final1

First we will de-saturate the colors on the image as we would like to color it ourselves. You can do this by pressing a shortcut - Ctrl+Shift+U.


Now you need to remove the background by masking the selection and deleting the background. Do leave some edge around the face as we will need it ahead.


Make a duplicate of the layer as backup in case you get in a mess and want to redo (Press Ctrl+J to duplicate the layer). Now, we’ll make a black and white image using ‘Threshold’. Adjust it according to the contrast of your image to achieve a suitable result.

step3a step3b

Now we’ll paint the skin of the face with colors. Create a new layer and use ‘multiply’ as blending mode. Choose a skin color and paint it. Let the eyes remain white.


Using the same technique, paint the eyeballs and hair with a different color.


Now, let’s color the lips. In our sketch we hardly have any outlines. So we will use the original image as a reference. Hide all layers except your original picture for guidance. When you’ve hidden all the layers, paint the lips on a new layer with reddish tint.


Draw a black border around the lips and give the layer a Brush Strokes > Spatter Filter to achieve a sketchy finish. You can now make the other layers visible again.


Let’s jazz up the background. We’ll give a round radial effect by using Filter > Sketch > Halftone pattern. Use ‘circle’ in pattern type and contrast colors for foreground and background. Here’s the result!


We can put some text and shapes to show a message. Draw white circles with black border and place a text inside. Here is our final pop-art.


There is much scope to play with when it comes to settings and tools in Photoshop. By using them you can achieve dramatic results real easy. You can impress your friends with your art by creating cool pop-art of their pictures!

You might find these related posts useful too:

  • Create Pop Art (#1) – Video tutorial
  • How to make a photo into a Caricature – Video tutorial
  • Creating a dispersion effect on a photo – Video tutorial

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