In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create a realistic pencil drawing from a photo in Photoshop.
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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Table of contents
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.
Drag The Slider To See Before & After