From photo to pencil sketch

Written by Jamie Chambers

Photoshop offers a wide range of filters, including sketch filters, but to make an image resemble a hand-drawn piece of artwork takes a bit more creativity.

Regardless of your artistic level, you can create a faithful representation of hand-drawn art — digitally. Just follow these steps.

1. Open your image in Photoshop. The image can be color or grayscale. Just make sure your Photoshop document is RGB.

Step 1

2. Create a paper texture background layer. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Call this new layer paper texture. Click OK. Choose a neutral color for the background, like tan or gray. Add a slight texture by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Set amount to 4.8%, check Gaussian and Monochromatic.

Step 2

3. Create the image outlines. Go to the Background layer (your original photo) and duplicate. Move this copy of the Background layer to the top of the Layers palette. Next, apply the Glowing Edges filter to that layer. Go to Filter > Glowing Edges. Set Edge width as 2, Edge Brightness as 8 and Smoothness as 8. (Depending on your image, you may need to adjust these settings.) Still on that layer, go to Image > Adjustments > Invert to invert the colors, then Image > Adjustments > Desaturate to change it to black and white. Set the blending mode to Multiply and the Opacity at 20%.

Step 34. Prepare the image to become a drawing. Again, duplicate the original Background layer and move it to the top of the Layers palette. Change this layer (Background copy 2) to black and white. Increase the contrast of this image by going to Image > Adjustments > Brightness and Contrast. Set both the Brightness and Contrast at 30. (Depending on your image, you may need to adjust these settings.) Set the blending mode for this layer to Darken, with the Opacity at 100%. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise to add noise. Set amount to 10%, Distribution to Gaussian and check Monochromatic.

Step 4

5. With the top layer in the Layers palette still selected, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All. This will add a layer mask to this layer only, represented by a black box to the right of the individual layer icon. Now you are ready to create the actual drawing.

Step 5

6. Select a Dry Media Brush from the Brush Picker. In the Brush Options palette, click Other Dynamics and set the control boxes on the Opacity Jitter (40%) and Flow Jitter (40%) to Pen Pressure. Click on Shape Dynamics and set the size Jitter to Pen Pressure (40%) and the minimum diameter to 60%. This works best if you use a graphics tablet, otherwise, you will need to change the opacity and brush size as you use the brush tool.

Step 6b

7. Begin using the paint brush. Make sure you are on the layer mask on the Background copy 2 layer, with the foreground color swatch as white. Begin scribbling on the layer mask, slowly revealing sections of the photo image. Be sure to change the direction of your brush strokes, loosely, over the image. Start with a brush Opacity of 40%.

Step 78. Crosshatch (to shade with multiple crossing lines) over the image to simulate the hand-drawn look. Be sure to change the size of the brush while you are scribbling. The more you paint with the brush, the darker the image appears. Focus on the important features of the photo by building up the shading in those areas. To “erase” sections of the image, change the swatch color to black, but be sure to switch it back to white when you return to scribbling the image.

Step 8

2 Responses to “From photo to pencil sketch”

April 30, 2010 at 10:39 am, carley baker said:

this is so cool howard would love this as much as i do
jamie you are my hero as well as howards
i love you jamie as much as i love pie

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Jamie Chambers

Jamie Chambers faced two career path choices in college, and lucky for Walsworth he chose art over accounting. He has been a creative influence for Walsworth for 17 years, currently as Design & Creative Concepting Supervisor in the Marketing Department. For 10 years, as an artist and supervisor for the Creative Services Department, Jamie traveled to workshops to collaborate with yearbook staffs to develop their covers and theme packages.