How To Make Your Own Pop Art Photo Print

You don’t need to go to art school to create a masterpiece.

These days, a photo’s never just a photo. Thanks to our obsession with filters, editing tools, emoji and cartoon embellishments, turning our pics into GIFs, and all the other crazy and amazing things we do to images, the first picture you take is just the first step towards your final masterpiece.

Add a splash of colour to any wall, have a fun crafting session with the kids and give your favourite photos an artistic, pop-art inspired finish based on Warhol’s timeless silk screens with a little Photoshop magic (and this handy tutorial below from our creative pals at the HP Envy Tumblr site).

Using a high-quality printer, your pop-art prints can soon be decorating your mantlepiece and walls for a fun, art-gallery ambiance. Keyboard and mouse at the ready – time to unleash your inner photo editor with this fun project.

1
Choose the right photo
Pick a portrait shot: you, your little one, the family dog – or maybe a group shot with everyone looking smiley and glorious. Go to File, Open and select your photo of choice. If you need to crop it (ideally, you’ll want head and shoulders for this to work best), try setting the width to 500px and the resolution to 72dpi. After cropping you may need to press Ctrl + 0 (PC) or Cmd + 0 (Mac) to get the photo to fit the screen.
2
Get painting
Those two squares that say Colour on the left side of your Photoshop screen? Make sure they’re black and white (black on top, white on the bottom). Click on the small icon to the bottom left of the colour boxes to change the colour if necessary.

There are various tools in Photoshop that you can use to separate your backdrop from the people in the photo (e.g. lasso tool, pen) – we’ve created our image using the brush tool, but you can use whichever one you find easiest.

First, click on the vector mask icon – the light grey rectangle with dark grey circle inside that you’ll find in the Layers window – this is useful for hiding certain portions of the layer and revealing layers underneath.

Use your brushtool to trace around the shape/shapes you want to edit – draw around the face or faces to isolate them and colour out the background. A size of 10px is crisp and easy to draw with – even if you’re not Picasso. Remember: whatever you colour black becomes invisible; white will be visible. Your background should now be transparent.
3
Make it sharp
Sharpen up the features in the portrait using Selective Colour (black) to emphasise the hair, eyes, etc. Selective Colour lets you modify a certain colour without changing all the colours in the image. Make sure your Adjustments panel is open and click on the Selective Colour icon (four shaded triangles forming a rectangle) or go to Layer New Adjustment LayerSelective Colour. Choose Blacks as your colour and scroll to the right until you hit 100%.

Top tip: If your picture is looking like a Jackson Pollock rather than a Warhol and you’ve clearly made a mistake but can’t remember quite where you went wrong, you can check on the history of everything you’ve done with your picture and click back to a previous step without having to start all over again using the History panel (go to WindowHistory).
4
Turn it black and white
If your photo is in colour, you’ll need to desaturate it – either go to Colour and then Saturation/Hue and go for the black and white options or select Ctrl + Shift + U (on a PC) or Cmd + Shift + U (on a Mac) to turn your photo black and white. Want to sharpen up your pic? Ctrl + Shift + L will darken the darkest areas and lighten the lightest ones.
5
Go dotty
This is where your artistry starts to come into play: get some Lichtenstein-style dots into your photo with the Halftone filter (find it under Filter - Artistic - Cutout - Sketch - HalftonePattern or Filter - Filter Gallery - Halftone Pattern). Choose the dot pattern and play around with the sliders for size and contrast until you find the best fit – not too grainy or out of focus, but crisp and clear.

We used Dots, Size: 2 and Contrast: 22 for these images, but it is image-specific, so play around. If your background comes back, not to worry - it should disappear again when you start applying your filters.
6
Start layering
Add a new layer: go to Layer - New Layer, and under Mode, select Multiply from the dropdown menu. You can also select Multiply in your Layers panel and click on the paper icon. Start by choosing a brightly coloured background layer – we’ve gone with green – you can do this with the Paint Buckettool and any colour of your choice. Go bold! Go wild! Go vibrant! Just be sure you’ve clicked on the layer you want to colour before applying the paint.

Continue adding layers to isolate each element like hair, eyes, skin tone, lips, teeth, T-shirt, jewellery, etc. You can do as many or as few as you like – changing just the hair and lips is enough to make it a full-on Pop Art portrait.

Use the Paint Brush (or Pencil) tool to paint in each element a different colour (or use the Lasso plus Layer Mask to crop each element out and then add colour to each new one). The brighter, the better.
7
Colour your heart out
Playing around with colours is the best part of this project – and most definitely the part everyone in your family will want to get involved with. The Hue slider can help – go to AdjustmentsHue/Saturation to design a variety of different tones and colourways for your portrait. And then turn it into a Four Marilyns-style masterpiece fit for display in any room of the house.

If you’re looking for a more vintage/retro feel to your image, choose Filter - Noise - Dust and Scratches to soften the image.

Fun shortcut: If you have one of the newer versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements, you can cheat – and still have an amazing-looking end product. Click on Guided, then go to Fun Edits, and then select Transform your image into Pop Art. Just choose a style, convert your image to Bitmap, add a colour fill adjustment layer and then click Duplicate image. Warhol would be SO impressed.

Make the most of your family memories with an HP Envy Photo Printer, the best home printing that technology has to offer. Print professional-looking photos directly from your smartphone or wirelessly from your PC, and create stunning works of art you can display around the house… and use in family craft sessions with the kids.