Create a Pencil Drawing From a Photo In Photoshop

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create a realistic pencil drawing from a photo in Photoshop. You can also purchase products such as the best tablet for artists to easily create digital art.

This effect is very straightforward; you can apply it to almost any image, but keep in mind that it will look better when you have a subject with a white background or no background.

You can follow along with your own image, but keep in mind that you may have to enter different values so that they work on your image.

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Step 01 – Extract the Background from the Foreground

This effect works better when you extract the background from the foreground.

You can use the Quick selection tool to select your subject. Then you can click on the Layer Mask icon to create a mask out of the selection. Doing so will hide the background.

Step 02 – Convert the Photo into a Smart Object

It’s always a good idea to work non-destructively so that you can always come back and edit your adjustments later.

To convert a layer into a Smart Object right click on a layer and select “Convert to Smart Object.”

Step 03 – Create the Main Line Drawing Effect

To create the main line drawing effect first duplicate the Smart Object by pressing Ctrl J (Mac: Command J).

Then go to Image > Adjustment > Invert.

You can then change the layer Blending Mode to Color Dodge.

To make the lines visible and create the line drawing effect, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

Step 04 – Use the Charcoal Filter to Add Shading

Duplicate the Original Smart Object, the go to

Set the Blending Mode to Multiply to keep the dark pixels and hide the bright ones.

Step 05 – Use the Find Edges Filter to Add Lines

Duplicate the Original Smart Object.

Then desaturate the layer by going to Image > Adjustment > Black and White.

You can then go to Filter > Filter Gallery and select Stylize > Glowing Edges. Adjust accordingly.

Press Ctrl I (Mac: Command I) to Invert the pixels and make the white lines black.

To keep the black lines set the Blending Mode to Multiply.

Watch the original tutorial from 2015 here. Download assets for the original tutorial here:

Final Image

Drag The Slider To See Before & After

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Hi Jesús,

I enjoyed this tutorial and really wanted to make it work just like you did it. I tried it twice by following along with every step. My image looked just like the one in your video up until I applied the charcoal filter. When I did it, the image turned mostly green. Is there an obvious mistake that I might have made?


Donald Feltham

One thing it would be helpful to mention somewhere is that in Photoshop CC, the FILTER GALLERY is only available for 8 bit color depth photos. I spent a hour or more trying to figure out why it was greyed out for my target photo, which turned out to be 16 bit…..


I enjoyed the tutorials on color correction.

Roxanne Ray

Which Photoshop program should I download?


thak you so much. i like it, simple but amazing


I am interested in the banana icon but didn’t see in the description what it was.

Emmanuel Kobie Gyimah

It was ok. I had no problems. Thanks for the tip