photoshop creative

How to turn a photo into a sketch in Photoshop, part 2

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
March 27, 2014

Continued… Create a pencil sketch effect from a photo, using a custom brush and several of Photoshop’s editing tools for making this effect

Follow part 1 of this tutorial


We’re going to gradually bring out the sketch by using by using various brush sizes and opacities for different areas of the photo, painting on the layer mask to reveal the image beneath. First, reduce the brush size to 100px and the brush’s Opacity to 75% to bring out the hair.


Use sweeping brush strokes over the main body of the hair, following the direction that the hair is flowing. Avoid continuing to the very edges and bottom of the hair, but try to stick to the central areas.


Now reduce the brush Size to 60px and use it to scribble over the edges and the bottom sections of hair, and where it frames the face using shorter, sketchy brushstrokes. Increase the brush Size to 100px again and use it to blend between where we have used the larger and smaller brush sizes.


For the skin areas, use a combination of brush sizes from 50px to 150px, and reduce the Opacity to 35%. Use sweeping, vertical brush strokes over the arm, face and neck, and then repeat using horizontal strokes to create a slight crosshatch effect.


Make the Screen layer visible, and press Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+U to desaturate it. Change the layer’s blending mode to Screen and the layer Opacity to 75%. Go back to the Sketch layer’s mask to continue developing the sketch.


For the facial details, use a smaller brush size of 30px and an Opacity of 80%. Zoom in to the image to get a closer look and use the brush with a variety of short horizontal and vertical strokes to bring out the eyes, eyebrows, the shadows around the nose and nostrils, and the lips.


To refine the sketch’s appearance, continue using the Brush tool with different sizes and opacities. Bring out the shadows under the chin, enhance darker section of the hair and so on. This is all down to your personal preference; you can spend as much time perfecting the image as you like.


Change the brush colour to black and use it on the cheeks, forehead and the bridge of the nose. If you think you have overdone a certain area you can use a black brush on that area to conceal it a bit.


As a finishing touch, add some Noise to the sketch. Click on the Sketch layer’s thumbnail so that you are no longer working on the mask. Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and enter a value of 8% with Distribution set to Gaussian and Monochromatic ticked, and click OK.