photoshop creative

How to create a pencil sketch from a photo, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 21, 2013

A tutorial on how to make a stylised coloured pencil sketch from a photo. Part 2 goes up tomorrow!

Download all the files you need for this tutorial here


Open your own image and on the Background layer, press Ctrl/Cmd+J to make a copy.  On the photo copy layer, go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation (or press Ctrl/Cmd+U) and slide the saturation bar to -100 to desaturate the layer.  Press Ctrl/Cmd+J while on the copy layer to create a new black and white copy.


Set this layer’s blend mode to Color Dodge in the Layers palette, then go to Image>Adjustments>Invert (or press Ctrl/Cmd+I) to invert it.  You won’t be able to see anything on the canvas now, but don’t panic!


Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, choose a Radius of 163.4px and click OK to apply.  You’ll notice that we now have some detail back that’s starting to look like a monochrome pencil sketch.


Now go to the first photo copy layer and lower the Opacity to 57%.  This will allow a small amount of colour from the photo layer to bleed through to the image.


Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+N), name it Pencil Colour and set the blend mode to Overlay.  Move this layer directly above the original photo layer.


Grab the ‘Pencil preset.tpl’ file and install it into your tool presets folder (it’ll be named something like Adobe Photoshop>Presets>Tools).  Find the Tool presets tab and click the small arrow to access the fly-out menu and click Load Tool Presets.


Press ‘B’ to select the Brush tool, and choose the Pencil Brush from the Tool Presets tab; because it’s a preset it will already have the correct settings.  Double-click on the Foreground colour palette.  Select a colour with the values Red:47, Green:76 and Blue:126.


Using this brush, scribble on the pencil colour layer on all coloured areas of the image.  You’ll notice that as you scribble onto the image it starts to reveal more of the underlying colours from the layers below.

Continue to part 2 of this tutorial…