Tutorial for Turning a Photo into a Pencil Sketch in Photoshop

The allure of pencil sketches lies in their raw and simplistic beauty. In a world dominated by vibrant photos, turning an image into a hand-drawn sketch captures a nostalgic essence, showcasing lines, shades, and textures. By using Photoshop, the intricate details of pencil strokes can be emulated digitally, providing a fresh perspective to an ordinary photo. This tutorial outlines the steps to transform any photo into a convincing pencil sketch. Now, let's dive into the process:


  1. Adobe Photoshop.
  2. A high-resolution image, preferably a portrait.


1. Open the Image

  • Launch Photoshop.
  • Navigate to File -> Open and select the chosen image.

2. Desaturate the Image

  • Create a duplicate of the background layer by right-clicking and selecting Duplicate Layer.
  • With the duplicated layer selected, choose Image -> Adjustments -> Desaturate.

3. Duplicate the Desaturated Layer

  • Right-click on the desaturated layer and select Duplicate Layer.

4. Invert the Colors

  • With the newly duplicated layer active, select Image -> Adjustments -> Invert.

5. Set Blending Mode to Color Dodge

  • In the Layers panel, change the blending mode of the inverted layer to Color Dodge. This will make the image appear almost completely white.

6. Apply Gaussian Blur

  • Select Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur.
  • Adjust the radius to reveal the sketch details. Typically, a radius between 1-5 pixels reveals the lines of a sketch.

7. Adjust Levels for Depth

  • Create a Levels adjustment layer by selecting Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Levels.
  • Adjust the sliders to enhance the depth and contrast of the sketch.

8. Final Touches

  • For a more authentic look, consider adding a paper texture. Place the texture over the sketch, and set its blending mode to Multiply or Overlay.
  • Adjust the opacity to achieve the desired effect.

9. Save the Artwork

  • Navigate to File -> Save As and choose a suitable format, typically JPEG or TIFF for high-quality outputs.


Transforming a photo into a pencil sketch in Photoshop offers an artistic way to reinterpret images. Experimenting with different adjustments and textures can yield a variety of unique results.

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