Many of you probably already asked Google if knowing how to draw is a must for becoming a graphic designer. The answer is NO! What if one day you have to make a hand-drawn style design? The answer is still NO!
That’s right, you don’t have to sketch! You can turn a photo into a drawing in Photoshop and trust me, it looks real!
I’ve been working as a graphic designer for nine years, and I’ve clients that asked for chalkboard drawing, or simple illustration style designs. And my solution was, Photoshop! Honestly, I could draw, but Photoshop “draws” faster and better. If I could save myself some time, why not?
In this article, you will learn how to turn a photo into a realistic pencil drawing easily along with some useful tips.
Table of Contents
8 Steps to Turn a Photo into a Pencil Drawing in Photoshop
Whether you are making chalkboard art or a simple sketch from a photo, following the steps below will turn your photo into a realistic sketch.
Note: Screenshots are taken from Adobe Photoshop CC 2021 Mac version. Windows and other versions might look slightly different.
Step 1: Open the image you wish to change into a drawing in Photoshop. File > Open. For example, I’m going to make this Coca-Cola image a pencil sketch.
Step 2: Right-click on the image layer in the Layers panel, and select Duplicate Layer to make a copy of the image. Or use select the layer and use the keyboard shortcut Command (Ctrl for Windows) + J to duplicate the layer.
Step 3: With the new layer selected, go to the overhead menu Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or use the keyboard shortcuts Shift + Command (Ctrl for Windows) + U to desaturate the photo (Layer 1).
Step 4: Make a copy of the desaturated image. Use any methods you prefer to duplicate the layer.
Step 5: Select the top duplicated layer and go to the overhead menu Image > Adjustments > Invert or hit Command / Ctrl + I to invert the image.
Step 6: On the same layer (the inverted layer) choose the blend mode Color Dodge from the Layers panel drop-down menu. You’ll see most of the image turn white.
Step 7: With the top layer selected, go to the overhead menu Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
You will see this window pop up.
Step 8: Move the Radius slider to find the pencil effect that you want to create and click OK.
Tips: Check the Preview box to see how the effect looks as you adjust.
Missing something? Or too much noise in the background? You can clean up the image using the Dodge and Burn tools. The Dodge tool lightens the pencil marks, and the burn tool darkens them.
You can also add an adjustment layer to create a more sophisticated and realistic pencil mark effect. For example, you can adjust the Levels. Click on the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon and choose Levels.
Now you can move the slider to get the result that suits your photo (pencil drawing).
Select Multiply blend mode. You can see the pencil mark is heavier than before.
If you want to make other adjustments, simply find the Adjustments panel and make any adjustments you need.
For example, you want to make the pencil drawing look more like a sketch style, you can adjust the curves to achieve this result.
The good news is, you don’t have to know how to draw to make a sketch! You can simply manipulate the image to make a realistic pencil drawing in Photoshop following the eight steps above. Hope you find my tutorials tips helpful 🙂About hannah