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How To Turn Color Clip Art into Line Art with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements


Turn Color Clip Art into Line Art

Turn Color Clip Art into Line Art

Have you ever wanted to take a color illustration and only print the black lines in it? This is a technique that works great for turning color clip art into coloring pages for kids, or for saving your color ink when you need to print something. It's so simple too!
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 1 minute

Here's How:

  1. For a sample image to use with this technique, grab one of my free painted flower images.

  2. Open the image in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. 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.

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

  4. Go to the layers palette and click the second button (black & white circle), then choose Threshold.

  5. 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.

  6. When you like the results, click OK.

  7. Print the results.


  1. The Threshold adjustment is on an adjustment layer. You can edit it later by clicking its thumbnail in the layers palette. You can temporarily remove the effect by clicking the eye next to the layer in the layers palette, or permanently remove it by dragging the threshold layer to the trash icon.

  2. To get the gradual fade to line art that you see in my example image on this page, fill the threshold layer mask with a black to white gradient.

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