Deke’s Techniques 107: Drawing a Ninja Turtle Nose in Photoshop

107 Drawing a Ninja Turtle nose

This week, I visit an Internet meme. One that started in 2010, so I’m not exactly the Fast Acting Formula. Plus, the meme ended three months ago, which makes me altogether behind the time. But it’s funny so who cares?

A coupla years ago, a guy named Simon Fletcher created one of the world’s great visual-imaging memes called Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses, in which he invited visitors to share their drawings of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tattooed on the noses of celebrities and regular dopes like you and me. Simon likes Ninja Turtles, but he loves noses. God makes noses; our faces are merely the absurd frames that hold The Designer’s artwork.

As if to prove Simon’s point, I offer a Ninja Turtle rendered on my own absurdly framed but ultimately beautiful (if supremely pores) nose. As captured by friend and photographer Jacob Cunningham.

Here’s the official description from

At first glance, it seems like this week’s free Deke’s Technique is just about chasing down an Internet meme, the Ninja Turtle nose. For a while, way back at the end of 2011, this fun little trick of turning celebrity noses into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle characters was quite the rage. So Deke decided, rather than risk offending any of his friends, he’d set out apply this technique to his own proboscis in Photoshop. (Turns out Deke’s nose is perfect for this effect. Destiny!)

A classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle nose rendered on my own face

But this technique isn’t just about learning how to create a specific effect that’s undoubtedly soon to be supplanted by something to do with cats. You’ll find that this particular technique will take you way beyond the next great online amusement. By picking a color from his portrait to colorize the turtle outline, using some layer effects to “bleed” the outline into his skin, and then applying the appropriate adjustments and blend modes to the color fills, Deke actually reveals some key concepts that you can use for any digital tattoo. He also walks you through the simple but vitally useful step of adding to your polygonal lasso selections on-the-fly. And, of course, you get to learn all of this while listening to Deke—with all his gravity, expertise, and sincerity—draw a cartoon turtle on his own nose. Which, let’s face it, is ridiculous.

For meme-loving members of, Deke’s got a couple of exclusive videos that play with another effect that you’ll never be able to un-see once someone points it out to you—the fact that all ducks wear dog masks:

All ducks wear dog masks in Photoshop

So meme your creative memes this week. And don’t forget (even if you have to tattoo it on your virtual skin) that Deke will be back next week with another free technique.

I mean, c’mon! Don’t you sometimes get sick of learning useful skills?

Next entry:Deke’s Miniaturization Technique Takes over the World: Ireland Edition

Previous entry:Happy Birthday, Adobe Illustrator!

  • Lighting Effects

    How about a workout for the Lighting Effects filter

  • Turtle nose

    LOL. Wait, what do you mean on the last line? This is BY FAR, the most USEFUL skill in PS history!


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