I’ve got a special Freebie Friday for ya! This time it’s accompanied with a tutorial!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret of mine. Sometimes I really do doodle with my Wacom in Illustrator… but sometimes… I… fake it. YES! My life is a LIE! *sigh* Okay, not really a lie. This is just an easy way to make doodley circles in Photoshop because the result looks great, I don’t have to walk across the room to get out my Wacom, and I can just do it faster in PS. There are times when doodling for REAL is better, but sometimes I’m just too dang lazy to get my tablet out. I used to use my Wacom the entire time I was on the computer, but I have a 1 year old who is an excellent climber and he LOVES to climb up on my desktop and stab my Wacom with the Wacom pen. Yikes. It’s not safe for my poor tablet to just sit on my desk all the time. sad story.

My Wacom is feeling betrayed. And lonely. shhhhhh… don’t tell him I like fake doodles! K? You’ll just shatter him. He’s fragile. And emotional.

So, we’re going to make some wonky doodley circles today. We’re using the Warp Tool, Brushes, and Paths. Sorry, Elements users… this is a tutorial for the PSCS crowd. BUT if you have Photoshop Elements, there is still some goodness for you at the end of this post – a FREEBIE! 😀

1. Create a circle with the shape tool. Easy peasy. Leave it as a vector. Don’t rasterize the circle. We want that vector mask for the warping part so the edges stay nice and clean!

2. Put it in warp mode. Hit CTRL+T (COMMAND+T on Mac) and then select the Warp Tool along the upper bar. The bounding box will now be split into nine sections.

3. Warp it! Pull at the corners and points to make the edges irregular and wonky. I like the word wonky. It’s fun to say. We don’t want perfect circles here! We need a handcut look and it will help the doodles look more like real doodles. When you’re done playing with the circle, hit ENTER to commit.

4. Create a new layer for the doodle. Create a new layer above the circle. Then hold down CTRL (Command) and click on the thumbnail of the circle’s vector mask in the layers palette. Then you’ll get the marching ants. We want this selection on a different layer because then we can clip papers to the circle below and make FUN elements.

5. Contract the selection. SELECT > MODIFY > CONTRACT. Then put in a value based upon how much you’d like to contract the selection. I put in 22 pixels this time.


Your “marching ants” will contract like this…

6. Make yourself a doodley brush. Open up the brushes palette and select a hard, round brush. I’ve found that a brush size of 9-12 pixels is usually perfect, but play with the size based upon how thick you want the doodle. Set the spacing to 1% and then play with the roundness and angle of the brush. This time I set it to an angle of -31 degrees and a roundness of 72%. Make sure the hardness is set to 100% so you get a clean doodle.

7. Make a path and stroke the path with the brush. Switch over to your PATHS palette. Make a work path and then stroke that path with the brush. You should see your doodle there now! Once you’ve done that, you can delete the work path.

8. Play with the doodle to add more funkiness. I like to rotate the doodle layer so that the doodle doesn’t line up exactly with the edges of the circle below it. It gives it more of a handmade look!


Now you have a template that you can add your papers to! Simply put your paper above the circle shape (but below the doodle layer) and clip the paper to the circle. Have fun stacking up multiple circles and adding embellishments!

Don’t feel like doing the work yourself? I made you a freebie! This pack contains 9 different funky circle templates – provided in PSD, TIF, and PNG formats. Happy Freebie Friday!

Download here!

Make sure you never miss another freebie! You can grab the RSS link, subscribe to email updates (blog posts sent straight to your inbox), or LIKE me on Facebook! Thanks for dropping by!

Pin It


  1. Super fabulous and funky Megan! Thanks so much for sharing !!

  2. Gosh I hate Elements…So many cool tutorials all over the internet and I can’t use them. I need CS…
    Thanks for the freebie though! :)

  3. I love this tuturial!!! Thank you so much. It is fantastic – and thank you for the wonderful freebie too.

  4. Awesome…..thanks, Megan!

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies (please, notice the new url for my blog), under the Page 3 post on Jun. 08, 2012. Thanks again.

  6. Nikki Epperson

    Thanks so much Megan! I’m going to have to try this for sure!

  7. Thank you so much!! Wonderful tutorial!!

  8. What a fun tutorial! Thank you so much for the info and the freebie!

  9. Awesome tutorial! Love the ideas! Thanks for the freebie (grabbing later!)

  10. thanks, a great tutoial made even better by letting me off the “honework”! :O)

  11. These wonky circle doodles are so cute! Can’t wait to try them on my next layout. Thanks for sharing this Megan!

  12. Love your tutorials!

  13. Great tutorial! Thanks for it(tutorial) and the download!

  14. Thanks for the great tutorial! I love that I don’t have to have Illustrator to create the doodled effect. And thanks for the great download, too!

  15. thank you for the tutorial and for the freebie too!

  16. Great tutorial! Thanks for it and the freebie!

  17. Thank you for this fantastic tutorial and freebie!

  18. Thank you so much!Great tutorial.I do appreciate! 😉
    Have a great weekend!

  19. Thanks so much for posting this tutorial! I’m very new to Photoshop but followed your instructions to the point. I ended up getting stuck at the end. I was able to follow step 6 correctly but after I finished the final step and delete the work path, there’s no white circle inside the colored circle. There’s only the colored circle. Am I missing something? I’ve gone through all 8 steps at least 3 times and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. :(

  20. What a fun tutorial!
    I did
    Thank you so much for the info and the freebie 😉

  21. thanks so much lovely tutorial and love your site

  22. Thank you for the tutorial. I was wondering if you could tell me what font you use for “designs by” and Freebie Friday” ? I LOVE it and have been looking for something so feminine for a while with no luck. 😀 Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *