photoshop creative

How to create a textured sketch effect in Photoshop

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
December 27, 2013

A tutorial on how to create illustrative digital art using textures and good old pens and paper!

Download all the files for this tutorial here


Create a line drawing of the image that you wish to create. We traced over a printout of the original image with a regular pen. Scan your drawing at a high resolution for the scan (300dpi). Now open ‘street_scene.jpg’.


Using the Pen tool (P), trace an outline of the buildings on the left of the image. Include the shaded areas and use the Zoom tool for greater accuracy. Ensure the final pen mark joins the first – a circle next to the cursor will indicate when this is about to happen.


Open the Paths panel. Using the Pen tool has created a work path – double-click on this and the Save Path dialog box appears. Rename the path ‘left_buildings’. Be sure to deselect the path by clicking below it in the Paths panel. Repeat this process to create a path named ‘right_buildings’ for those on the right-hand side of the street.


Open the image ‘sky_texture.jpg’. Using the Move tool (V), drag the road texture into your street scene and align it with the top of the picture. Rename the layer ‘sky_texture’ by double-clicking on the Layer 1 text in the Layers panel. Repeat the process with the ‘road_texture.jpg’ image, aligning at the bottom of the image.


Duplicate the sky_texture layer by going to Layer>Duplicate Layer (Cmd+J). Using the drop-down bar in the Layers panel, change the blending mode for the sky_texture copy layer to Color Dodge. Before the next step, make sure no layers are selected and that the foreground colour is set to white.


Create a new Fill/Adjustment layer by clicking the fourth button in from the left at the bottom of the Layers panel, then select Gradient. In the Gradient Fill options box, make sure the gradient goes from white to transparent, and change it from Linear to Radial using the drop- down menu.


Open the ‘left_buildings_texture.jpg’ image. Drag it into your main image using the Move tool (V) and rename the layer ‘left_buildings’. Go to the Paths panel and select the left_buildings path. To load a path as a selection, click the button third from left at the bottom of the Paths panel.


A moving dotted line indicates that the path is loaded as a selection. To remove the unwanted parts of the texture, go to Select>Inverse (Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+I) and hit the backspace/Delete button. Open the ‘right_buildings_texture.jpg’ image and repeat these steps, using the right_buildings path for your selection.


Open up ‘street_scene_trace.jpg’. Now, using the Move tool, drag this image into your main document and rename the layer ‘Trace’. Change the blending mode to Multiply. Use the Move tool to position the drawing; the cursor keys are useful for any small adjustments.


Select the ‘left_buildings’ layer and double-click on the blue bar to open the Layer Style options. Click the Gradient Overlay button on the left; a series of options appears. Click the Preview button on the right. Click inside the bar showing the type of gradient to open the Gradient Editor panel. Select the Black to White option in the top-left of the Presets window.


Double-click the left-hand colour stop beneath the Gradient bar. This enables you to select a new colour by clicking in the vertical rainbow bar and in the large square box to its left. Choose a strong yellow, click OK and return to the Layer Style Options panel.


In the Gradient Overlay Options panel change the blend mode to Color Burn using the drop-down bar and set the Angle to 180 degrees. Feel free to experiment with different blend modes and opacities to change the effect. Also, you can always return to make more changes by double-clicking the layer you wish to change.


Repeat by double-clicking the right_buildings layer and following steps 10 to 12 again. This time choose a bright red, and in the Gradient Overlay Options panel set Gradient Angle to zero degrees. Now use the Dodge tool (O) to create highlights and the Burn tool to add areas of shadow.