photoshop creative

How to create a pencil sketch from a photo, part 2

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 22, 2013

Continued… a tutorial on how to make a stylised coloured pencil sketch from a photo.

Download all the files you need for this tutorial here

Follow part 1 of this tutorial


Imagine that you are sketching with a pencil on paper, move your pencil quickly in a zig-zag motion across the image.  Because the brush is set to your graphic tablet’s sensitivity you can vary the pressure you apply as you would with a real pencil.


Occasionally, change the direction of your brush strokes,to create a cross hatch effect, but don’t over-do this or it will start to look messy.  Keep your pencil strokes following the curves of the woman’s face/figure.  Don’t worry if you go over the edge of her skin and onto the hair, as we will be scribbling over this later.


Once you have sketched over all of the areas of colour in the image with blue, choose a new purple colour of R:113 G:70 B:149 and sketch over parts of the image to help vary the colours, making them look richer.


Once the sketching is done, the pencil colour should look something like this when viewed on its own.  To check yours, Hold Opt/Alt and click the eyeball next to the pencil colour layer in the Layers palette to hide all other layers.  Click the eyeball again while still holding Opt/Alt to make them visible again.


Create a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd+N) and name it ‘Pencil Edits’, and move it to the top of the layer stack. Use this layer to add darker edges and definition by tracing lines along the borders of the jaw, shoulders and fingers using a dark blue colour picked from the image (hold Opt/Alt whilst using the Brush tool and sample the colour).


Add some definition to the eyes, eyebrows and mouth.  Don’t panic if your drawing skills aren’t the best; simply trace the details to make them darker or more pronounced. Now colour pick from the skin shadows and shade the left ear, because the layer effects have made it too white; it should be in the shadow of the face.


No matter how much you drew on the Overlay layer, the hair will still look like a photograph. Cover this effect by scribbling on the pencil edits layer using a mixture of pinks for midtones, purples for darks and white for highlights. Use the original hair as a guide, but feel free to add extra strands too.