Create Your Own Digital Ink Stamp Brush in Photoshop

I thought it would be fun to share a simple little technique that I use when I want to create an Ink Stamp effect in a digital way.    I thought it would be a really cute idea if I were  to create my own planner sticker pack from selfies I had taken in various expressions and poses.  This way  I could use them in decorating my planner pages (or scrapbooking or art journal pages) as a way to express my mood of the day.  I find it is very helpful to my emotional and psychological health to document my states of consciousness or moods and note the patterns of energy over a period of time.

If you have ever suffered at all from depression then you will know that when you are in a dark place it can sometimes feel as though you have always been there and/or will never get out of the darkness again.  Having records of our  moods or our states of being can provide  a real light at the end of the tunnel for those trapped in the darkness.   We can see through the patterns that we do eventually come out the other side.  Our memories can’t really be trusted to be accurate with this information because it is so easy to distort the memory, especially when there are a lot of bad feelings that go with the mood.  Having a mood tracker can help us to see that “this too shall pass” which can give us the faith and strength to hang in there with a more positive mind set, instead of being dragged more deeply into the abyss by a false belief that we are doomed to feel like this forever.

Plus, tracking moods along with other data can help us to gain better control over our mood fluctuations.  For instance, I have learned recently how much I am affected by sugar in my diet and so tracking my food along side of my moods, or my health records can be very enlightening.   When you see the facts out there like that, it makes it much harder to make that excuse that one little cupcake is not going to hurt me.  Tracking moods along side of physical fitness or work activities can give us clear insight as well.

So for this project the first thing I needed to do was to take some wacky selfies.  I suggest when doing this that you consider a few things.  Make sure to have a calm and light background with no objects behind you.  We don’t want to have to extract that messy business after the fact, so stand up against a plain wall that has been painted in a light color.  The second tip is try to get your entire head in the picture.  You can see from a couple of images in my sample that I missed the sweet spot and chopped off a bit noggin’ giving me a block head.  Don’t do that! 🙂 Last of all, make as many different faces as you can imagine.  Try expressing as many moods as you can think and pretty much any pose you want.  Make your facial expressions very extreme for this purpose. The more extreme, the more obvious the mood stamp will be.  Ignore whether or not you look pretty, have lines on your brow, an ugly pimple or bags on your face.  None of that is going to matter for this purpose.  You really won’t see that stuff. In fact, the photo can sometimes even be blurry and work out well.

Once you have the photos taken, open one of them in Photoshop.  I always drag it into a new document to work on so to avoid accidentally overwriting my photo after making changes if I forget to rename.  Once your image has been placed in your document, with the image selected go to menu->Image->Adjustments->Threshold  and then using the slider, drag it into a position that will reveal your extreme black and whites in a way that gives the best definition to your image without having a lot of noise in the background.  Once you have that setting done, then go back to Menu->Select->Color Range where a dialog box opens up and you can adjust the fuzziness (I usually push mine right up to 200).  Then using your cursor (which auto-switched to a color picker when this dialog box opened) you click on the black and select it and click OK.  Once that is selected you can then go to Edit -> Define Brush Present and then create and name a new Photoshop brush out of it.  Once you have done all of your faces you can select them all and save as a new set of brushes.

You can then use these brushes over and over again in your own art.  Besides using them as mood stamps you could make a whole page of them as I have done here in this blog post.  It will make such a cute dashboard!

I have walked you through this process in a Live Broadcast demonstration, offered here in a replay format below. I hope to improve this tutorial with a proper screen-casted video in the near future.  Please follow me on Periscope @_JaniceDye for more tips and tricks, and chit chat for creatives.

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