How Do You Create Hand-Drawn Images for Your E-Learning?

To create some hand-drawn images for this week's e-learning challenge I messed around until I figured out how to make some little sketches I could save down and use, seen below. I guessed my way into it by trying out an iPad app and creating some PNGs, then wrote up a little detail about it here.

But I now realize I could have just asked the community how they do it! I'm sure there must be people here who do this all the time and who would have some great recommendations or ideas about how to best accomplish this - whether for software, hardware, tools, the process of creating finished images, or just general advice.

How do you create your own hand-drawn images for e-learning?

53 Replies
Daniel Sweigert

Thanks for sharing this Jackie and great job on this week's challenge. I'd also like to mention a book you turned me onto called "Back of the Napkin" by Dan Roam where he explains how you can actually draw compelling images without being an "artist" and use them to enhance your training materials (or in this case e-learning modules).

Jackie Van Nice

@Rachel: Never thought of doing that! Nice and simple and the camera in your phone is always with you and available.

@Michelle: That's what I thought, too, but decided it wasn't a thought worth keeping. So now I just draw.

@Joshua: I've got a Wacom too, but have never used it much. I finally realized what the problem was while watching a Dan Roam video the other day. He mentioned that if you're a relative beginner to drawing, that it's a heck of a lot easier to control the whole process if you're in direct physical/visual contact with your result - like sketching on paper or on an iPad - and that the more disconnected setup of a Wacom tablet (or equivalent) can be more challenging and disorienting. I felt a lot better after hearing him say that, and that's what made me first try sketching on the iPad for this challenge. It was true - for me - that it was much easier on the iPad.

@Laura: That would be great!

@Dan: Thanks! It was a fun challenge. Yes, Dan Roam's books are very helpful, and he's got a site called the Napkin Academy where you can see a few free how-to videos. (You pay a fee to see the rest.) In fact, in the free "The Tools We'll Need" video on his site, he explains the pros and cons of the different digital ways to draw.  

Tim Slade

Hi Jackie!

I typically use Adobe Illustrator to create hand-drawn graphics. The thing I like about Illustrator, is the fact that it comes with many different "brushes," which help with the hand-drawn effect. 

Also, if you recall from my LSCon presentation, I used several hand-drawn effects. All of these were created in Illustrator. 

Lastly, I recently invested in a graphics tablet (which I asked about in the Community here). Using the tablet has allowed me to truly draw my own hand-drawn graphics. I'm still learning how to use it properly, but it's been a fun tool thus far. One thing that I really like about the graphics tablet, is that it opens up a new set of tools in PPT. These tools allow you to draw vector graphics directly into PPT. This is nice for anyone working with Studio!


Jackie Van Nice

Jerson: So once you've scanned your hand-drawn sketch (to what file format?) you open it in Illustrator or Photoshop (on a PC?) and then use your tablet? Do you mean the equivalent of a Wacom tablet to continue to manipulate the image?

If you could explain your steps that would be very helpful!

Jerson  Campos

Sorry Jackie, I'll explain myself a little better

I start of with a paper sketch of what I want to draw. I clean up just a little bit. I scan it to my PC as a JPG file. This way I can import it in either illustrator or photoshop. I then use my wacom tablet to draw it out and finish it up. My images usually ended up a little more polished I guess. I don't usually go for the "hand drawn" sketchy look. It's just a preference of mine. 

Eva Han

I like this post so much, this is just what I am looking for, making hand-wrote to png. using ipad as a tablet! This is good for a beginner, who is on a budget for tablet : ). Thanks Jackie, I appreciate that on your website there is detailed description of how you did it(the challenge), you are a hero.

Bret Deardorff

Hey Jerson,

I love your drawings! They remind me of a bunch of characters that I have purchased at They work well with Storyline and there are a bunch of character, superhero, kids, robot, etc. options that look very similar to what you are creating.


Great question about how to create these hand drawn images, etc. I found an ipad app called Paper by Fifty-Three (  I created a bunch of back grounds and forground pages that added a fresh feel to my storyline modules. I am absolutely no artist by any means but I was able to draw a couple of office looking back grounds with funky windows, pictures hanging on the wall, and doors that just worked well with my content. Give the app a look as it is super fun to just sit around and doodle!!