July 2, 2016

"Hand-Drawn" Images in PowerPoint

Everybody loves hand-drawn assets, but not everyone can draw that well, right? Nope. In fact, with PowerPoint you can easily start making hand-drawn images like a pro. You don't even need to have mad mouse skills or any special skills other than a little bit of patience.

The trick is to use standard shapes and then edit points to make them slightly uneven and imperfect. Like this:

Hand-edited from a standard speech bubble. 

The image above was created by using an "oval callout" and a "curve" shapes. Take a look at the whole process (it doesn't take long) below:

Some of the points I'd highlight as keys to your success:

  • Increase line thickness. In this case I used 6 to 7 points line thickness. This way the lines look bulkier and feel like they've been drawn with a marker. 
  • In Line properties, set "Cap type" (the way the end of the line looks) "Join type" (the way the outside corners of your shape look like) to "round". This will add some smoothness to your shape.
  • Since it's practically impossible to make a long straight line by hand, make sure to make any straight lines uneven - even a little bit helps (at the end of the post I've added an image of a "hand-drawn" iPhone for your inspiration).
  • Be creative when you "mess up" the shape. Don't hesitate to create copies in different stages of editing and then choose the one that you feel is best. For instance, you'll notice that in the images my speech bubble is even more rounded and uneven than in the video. After recording the video, I didn't particularly like the sharpness of the tail and softened/curved it a bit more.
  • Quite obvious, but don't forget to use a font that looks like handwriting and matches the style of your drawing. In the image below I've provided two examples of well-matched and not so well-matched fonts:
Good and bad.

The font examples on the rights are too calligraphic, even and elegant, particularly the top-right example, therefore, they do not match the hand-drawn style of the speech bubble. The fonts on the left are a better match in this case.

In the video I'm using the font created from my own handwriting, which I made using http://www.myscriptfont.com/ It was suprisingly easy and took me only two attempts. The end results isn't perfect as kerning can be rather weird sometimes, but for informal projects it works great.

Overall, it's remarkably easy to create "hand-drawn" shapes in PowerPoint - you are limited only by your imagination. In addition, you can try working with white outlines of dark background as in the example below:

If you try this out and feel that you're not very good at it - don't despair, as the quiality comes with practice. You can study existing hand-drawn drawings, create your own sketches and experiment in PowerPoint to become better.