Emo and Goth Art: Expressing Yourself With Photoshop

Art is one of the best methods of self expression. It is a means by which individuals and groups can communicate their feelings to others. Subcultures like Goths and Emos perhaps need to express themselves more than the average person due to misconceptions and criticisms leveled at them. Photoshop is a useful tool for showcasing the Emo or Goth image and for creating artwork that speaks to the creativity of these groups.

Many resources online look at Emo and Goth art and offer useful tips on capturing Goth and Emo effects. Interesting artistic designs reflecting these subcultures can also be achieved through the use of Photoshop. Some common features that can be easily done in Photoshop include the following.

Emo and Goth Eye Effects

The most recognized feature of these groups is the use of makeup, especially around the eyes. Want to see how you would look as an Emo or Goth? Open one of your pictures in Photoshop, and get to work. The first step is to duplicate the background layer. Right-click the background in the Layers panel and select “duplicate layer.” Then, in the Tools palette, choose the Burn tool. It is beside the Blur tool. (If you are not familiar with Photoshop, moving your cursor over the various tools will show you the names.)

In the Tool options, choose a small brush. Around 30 to 40 will do. Set the range to midtones and the exposure to anywhere between 30 to 50. Apply the Burn tool around the edge of the iris. Then increase the brush size and use the Burn tool on the pupil. Try to get it as dark as possible.

Next use the Burn tool on the edges of the eyelids, and you can keep going until you are happy with the end result. The Dodge tool should be used to lighten the area just outside the pupil if you want to create an eerie look.

The unsharp mask filter in Photoshop can also be used to create interesting effects. Just select Filter from the menu bar, go down to Sharpen, and from there select Unsharp Mask.

It is clear why a program like Photoshop would be popular with Emos and Goths. This software program has a lot of features that can bring to life themes of importance to Emo and Goth teens.


Photoshop can also be used to create drawings reflecting Goth and Emo concepts in jewelry designs. Goth jewelry relies heavily on imagery such as pentagrams, crucifixes, daggers and other symbols. You can either start with your own drawing scanned into Photoshop or download an image from the Internet. Many websites offer a wide array of Goth-inspired jewelry.

Whether you consider yourself a Goth or Emo, or just find the image appealing, you are sure to find something you like. If you have only basic Photoshop skills, download a non-copyrighted image, and use the program to modify the image to make it more into your own style. With Photoshop this is easy to achieve, and the result could be converted into a unique pendant or even earrings.


Great line drawings can be used in producing eye-catching screen printed t-shirts. If screen printing is your thing, take advantage of Photoshop’s drawing features to produce unique designs symbolic of Emo and Goth cultures.

You can take also create Goth or Emo-style artwork for heat transfer to t-shirts if you don’t want to be limited to just basic lines. Heat transfer is perfect for elaborate designs, especially if you are not into screen printing. You can find great samples and tutorials online with a quick search.

Mike Kay is a website designer located in Liverpool, UK. Find out more about emo and goth photoshop tutorials at designertuts.com.
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