SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer will transform your photos into stunning line drawings, keep the process simple and user-friendly, and function as a dedicated tool rather than an all-encompassing art studio

  1. 1️⃣ Add Your Photo.
  2. 2️⃣ Customize the Drawing Effect.
  3. 3️⃣ Save Your Artwork.
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️Posted by:
Eugene UstinenkovEugene editor-in-chief of the SoftOrbits, candidate of sciences in computer science, CTO of the SoftOrbits / 📅 Last updated on:  2024-05-09

Being a photographer has its perks. You always have amazing photos that you can gift to your family and friends, and create photo albums and printed coffee mugs too.
But sometimes you need to add a special touch!
You can change a normal portrait into a beautiful pencil sketch by learning how to create line art and drawings from photos.

Girl photo..
Girl photo converted into line drawing..

Knowing how to use a photo to line drawing app is the key, and we will talk about such programs and the steps you need to know. We'll also discuss a few examples and smartphone apps to turn a photo into a line drawing.
Let's go!

📙Quick summary

  1. Sketch Drawer   
  2. Online Tools   Read More
  3. Adobe Photoshop   Read More
  4. Mobile Apps   Read More

Way #1: Sketch Drawer: The Best software to turn photo into line drawing

Sketch Drawer software

SoftOrbits Photo to Line Art App program is a one-stop Photo to Sketch Converter solution.
Photo to line drawing app converter free software..

With loads of conversion styles, presets, and effects available, the Sketch Drawer software will turn photos into drawings with color shading if you want!
The program automatically detects light, shadows, colors, and outlines. So, you don't need to worry about making any selections or adjustments.
You will have an accurate drawing ready for use in only a few clicks!
Along with photo to line drawing conversion, the Sketch Drawer can turn an image into a stencil or an anime drawing.
Various options exist to get the desired look, but the steps are similar.

How To use Convert Photo to Line Drawing App - Step-by-step tutorial

So, we'll be covering the list of things you need to do to use the line art converter software and the different styles and dozens of presets inside it. Don't worry; we'll learn more details about the conversion styles in the next section, with examples!

Add File

On opening the program, you will see an option Add File . Use this to upload your photo by browsing through your files or simply dragging and dropping.

Add files..

Sketch Style

Sketch Drawer has a toolbox on the top right side, where you can select one of the three options under Style - Realistic, Classic or Detailed Sketch.

Line drawing styles..

Each of the three styles has a distinct look, and you should try them out to see which works best. To make things easier, Sketch Drawer line art maker app shows a preview of your final beautiful image, so you can try every option in a second and get a sample of the final result!

Realistic style captures the overall details and adds pencil shading to the final result. It works well for close-up portrait shots and still-life images.

Detailed Sketch, on the other hand, works well when you want to emphasize a wide range of detail and create a carbon copy of the image. While good for landscape images, it might not be suitable for portrait shots, which look better when subtle.

The Classic option has a minimalist appearance, with soft pencil strokes and less shading. You should use this if you want a simple natural-looking result and not something a perfect computer creates!

Select Preset

The style decides the overall look of the converted image – whether it will be detailed or realistic, or classic minimal.

On the other hand, the Preset decides the appearance itself – whether there will be any color, the amount of shading involved, whether the look will be like watercolors or pencil drawing, etc.

The Preset option can be found on the right side, below the Style option. It gives multiple presets like Felt tip pen, color drawing, pop art, low contrast sketch, high contrast sketch, etc. You will get a preview of each one as you hover with your mouse pointer over it and move around the list!

Sketch presets..

We'll discuss the various presets and what they do once we go through all the steps.

Adjust Sketch settings

You are half done! After selecting the overall style and the preset to be applied, you can fine-tune all the settings using three options – Contour, Hatching and Colourization.

A box below the Preset option allows you to enable the above three options.

Take a look on them:

Contour Settings

On enabling the Contour settings, you can control edge strength, smudging, and even the thickness and intensity of the pencil strokes used. By increasing the edge strength, photo to line art app will emphasize the outlines of the photo, giving you the best line drawing possible.

It would help if you tried adjusting the stroke thickness, too, so that you can get bold lines that highlight the outlines of your subject.

Line drawing contour settings..

Hatching Settings

Hatching is the zig-zag, crossed lines that fill the white space in the sketch. It creates a pencil shading effect, with dark areas having more hatching to create shadows.

You can adjust the look of the hatching to your liking! By increasing the edge strength, you will again emphasize shading at the borders, leaving space in your photo.

You can also adjust mid-tone intensity here, deciding whether areas with moderate light – not too dark nor too bright – are also given the shading effect.

Hatching settings..

Colourization settings

This is the most fun option to use!

On enabling the colorization setting, you can decide whether you want the line drawing to be a black-and-white sketch or have some color. Line Art software even lets you decide which color is used for converting photos into sketches and beautiful masterpieces.!

Line drawing colorize settings..

Save image

Click on the Run option at the bottom right to convert the full image into a sketch.

Once you are satisfied with how the strokes and shading appear, click Save File at the toolbar on top to save the finished image. Your drawing is ready in five simple steps!

Photo to drawing result..

Sketch Drawer Sketch Drawer

Sketch Drawer: a Handy Photo to Sketch Converter

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Video Tutorials

How to turn photo into line drawing?

With the help of modern technology [1] and a few techniques [2], you will see that many free online programs allow you to create a realistic sketch within a few minutes! No need to worry about hours of practice, torn pages, and spending money on professionals.

Why create line art from photos?

This is a simple!
Photos say a thousand words, no doubt. But there are so many photos that you need something to make yours stand out. By converting photos into sketches, you can add that pinch of magic that turns a good photo into an amazing piece of art.
There are a few other uses of line art too. You can use it as a gift or for practicing your own hand drawing skills [3], or to create an art diary, photo frame, t-shirts or even for illustrating a book.
T-shirt with line drawing sketch of budha..

And the best thing is that changing photos to line art is simpler than you would think, and you get many options.

Best Line Drawing Effect Presets to Use

Now that you know the steps you have to follow, we can discuss a few preset options quickly! These will help you get the best jpg to line art converter software.

Schematic Drawing Preset

Schematic line drawing preset for girl photo..

As the name suggests, the schematic preset gives you a simple black-and-white look. It is perfect for creating a pencil drawing appearance and works well for portraits!
While you will see less hatching and shading in this, the schematic preset renders soft, natural borders. So, you can use this as a reference to practice your sketching skills or take a print for your scrapbook.

Simple Drawing Preset

Simple line drawing preset for girl photo..

The simple preset also gives a black-and-white sketch, but unlike Light, the final result looks like a sketch width a white background made from a paintbrush rather than a pencil. This preset is great for creating a line drawing with mild shading and smudging, as usually happens when using watercolors.

Felt Pen Drawing Preset

Felt pen preset for girl photo line art..

This one is very straightforward. The Felt Pen preset converts the photo into a drawing with felt pen strokes instead of just penciled lines. This style highlights the borders, giving you a clean line drawing without much hatching or shading like in the Simple preset!

Photo into Line Art Examples

We'll discuss a few examples of changing a photo into a drawing to make things easier. You can use this as a reference to begin your editing!

Animal Line Drawing

While the final choice is yours, you can follow a few basic tips to convert your photo into a line drawing with an app.
Because you need to preserve the animal's outline and details like fur, eyes, and the surrounding grass and trees, you can use the Detailed Sketch conversion style.
For shading, you should be careful not to increase the hatching and stroke thickness so much that it becomes distracting from the animal's outline. With some trial and error, finding the perfect balance between lines and shading will become easy!

Dog photo..
Dog photo line drawing..

Bird Line Drawing

Bird photos are always special because of the unique shape of the wings and the brilliant colors of each feather.
That's why it is best to use the Classic or Realistic style along with the Colour Drawing preset.
This will help you create a natural-looking border without random shading and preserve the colors of the bird's feathers!
If you want to capture a wide range of detail in the feathers and emphasize the changing light, you can go with Realistic. With Classic, you'll get a minimalist sketch that looks more like an actual hand-drawn sketch without capturing all the light and shadows unless you enable hatching.
Bird photo line drawing..

Tree Line Drawing

Trees have the highest detail and texture, especially because of the small leaves, flowers, and branches. Creating a tree line drawing from a photo will require you to preserve all those details, which means using the Realistic style of Detailed Sketch style would be better.
Tree photo into line drawing..

You can also choose the Pen preset, as the fine lines of a pen stroke will ensure that all the leaves look distinct from each other, and there's no blurriness or smudging!

‍🔬 My experience and expertise in Converting Photo to Line Drawing

Here's the analysis of using SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer:
👍 Strengths of SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer for photo to line drawing conversion:
  • Dedicated and specialized tool: As someone who values focused solutions, I appreciate that SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer is designed specifically for converting photos into line drawings, making it an efficient tool for this task.
  • User-friendly interface: One of the key strengths for me is the straightforward and intuitive interface. Despite my limited digital art or photo editing experience, I find the software accessible and easy to navigate.
  • Customizable settings: What I really like is the ability to adjust various settings, such as line thickness, style, and intensity. This allows me to achieve the desired look for my line drawings, tailoring them to my preferences.
  • Batch processing capabilities: As someone who often works with multiple photos at once, I find the batch processing capabilities of SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer to be incredibly useful. Being able to convert multiple photos into line drawings simultaneously saves me a significant amount of time and effort.

🤔 Cons or Trade-offs of SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer:

  • Limited advanced editing features: While SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer excels at photo-to-line-drawing conversion, it lacks advanced editing capabilities found in more comprehensive photo editing software. I cannot make detailed adjustments or selectively edit specific areas of the line drawing.
  • Limited file format support: While the software supports common image formats like JPEG, PNG, and BMP, it may not handle less common or proprietary file formats. This could be a limitation for those working with a wider range of image file types like RAW images or iPhone HEIC format.

🌟 When SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer might be the best choice for me:

  • I need a dedicated and user-friendly tool specifically designed for photo-to-line-drawing conversion.
  • I require customizable settings and batch processing capabilities for an efficient workflow.
  • I prefer a standalone software solution over online tools or mobile apps.
  • I don't require advanced editing features or non-destructive editing for my line drawing needs.
When I might consider alternate methods:

  • I prefer the convenience of online tools for occasional or one-off conversions.
  • I already have Adobe Photoshop and am comfortable with its advanced photo editing capabilities.
  • I need a portable solution for converting photos to line drawings on-the-go using mobile apps.
For my specific needs, I find SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer to be the best choice as a dedicated and user-friendly tool designed specifically for photo-to-line-drawing conversion. Its customizable settings and batch processing capabilities align well with my workflow and preferences. However, I understand that others might prefer alternate methods based on their unique requirements or existing software ecosystem, especially if they require advanced editing features or non-destructive editing.

Way #2: Using photo into line drawing online tools

No worries if you cannot download the converted photo to the line drawing app!
Many online photo to sketch converters are available, too, for free. Here are the best ones you can use easily!

At SoftOrbits, our goal is to deliver accurate and trustworthy information.

  • We pick products for reviews based on what people like and what is popular.

  • Our testing phase focuses on spotlighting the prime features of a product and identifying its most suitable software.

  • User reviews from top sites guide us in crafting our product reviews.

  • We gather feedback from our users, understanding their thoughts on SoftOrbits software and other products.


Pencil Sketch Your Photo.. is the first of the list because you don't have to make any adjustments or selections. This free online program to turn a photo into a pencil drawing is very user-friendly, and all you have to do is upload your photo and click on Pencil Sketch!
The program automatically detects the outlines of your subjects and converts them into penciled lines while also turning shadows into dark shaded areas.



LunaPic is a full-featured line art app with many options like photo blending, collage-making, color drawing filters, etc. One of these options is Photo to Illustration, which also has a color version.
After turning on this online program, upload your image using the option in the toolbar. Once the upload is finished, you can click on the Effects button and choose the type of sketch with a white background. Apart from B&W Pencil Effect, you can select Colour Pencil Generator or Surreal Painting or Charcoal Sketch!
The photo in the sketch program will directly start the conversion and have your sketch ready in a few seconds.



Snapstouch is another free app to convert photo to line drawing, where all you have to do is upload your image and select the pencil color. It does not offer many adjustments, but you can select a red, blue, or green pencil or a combination of any two of these colors.
The converter software will automatically analyze the original image and create the drawing for you.

Online Tools VS Sketch Drawer

Now, let’s talk about those online photo-to-sketch tools. They’re like the overenthusiastic amateur artists at a neighborhood fair—eager but a tad clumsy. Their sketches? Well, they resemble abstract spaghetti more than anything else! 🍝

Sketch Drawer stands tall, its lines crisp and shadows just right. It’s the Mona Lisa of digital sketching, while the online tools? They’re more like Picasso’s early doodles—quirky, but not quite frame-worthy. So, my friend, if you seek artistry, choose Sketch Drawer. 🖌️📸

Way #3: Using Adobe Photoshop to convert photos into line

How to convert a photo into a line drawing in Photoshop?

In case you are already familiar with Photoshop, you can follow these steps and convert an image into sketch [4] on your own.

Change the image to grayscale

First, remove all colors from the image by reducing saturation or selecting Image > Mode > Grayscale from the Photoshop toolbar.

Photoshop make photo grayscale..

Duplicate layer

Create a copy of the layer by dragging it into the New Layer. You will now have the original photo background and a background copy layer.

Photoshop duplicate layer..

Invert layer

Go to Image > Adjustments > Invert. This will reverse the lighting in the image, making the bright areas dark and dark areas bright.

Photoshop invert photo..

Color Dodge

Click on the Layers panel. You should see the Blend Mode as Normal. Change this to Colour Dodge. This will turn your photo almost completely white!

Photoshop colour dodge..

Apply Gaussian Blur

From the dropdown menu in the toolbar, select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Keep adjusting the slider until you are happy with the effect. You should also adjust the radius size to change the thickness of the lines. A lower radius creates a more pencil-like effect!

Photoshop gaussian black and white line drawing from photo..

Photoshop gaussian color line drawing from photo..

Adjust thickness if needed

For a simple photo into sketch conversion, Step 5 is all you need! But if you want to create a sketch with thicker outlines, you must duplicate your original layer again and keep it on top as the 3rd layer.

Now, choose Filter > Filter Gallery'>Filter > Filter Gallery. Here, you will see a Stylize option, under which there is a Glowing Edge option. Adjust the edge thickness and edge brightness as you wish!

You will see bolder lines in your final image by slightly increasing the width and reducing the brightness.

Photoshop black line drawing from photo..

Save image

That's it! It would help to have a nice illustration of your photo ready.

There are many other options under the Filters tab, like Torn Edges, which you can try to add more effects and shades in your final photo.

How it is in compare to Sketch Drawer?

In Photoshop, it’s like manually sketching with a fine-tipped quill, painstakingly crafting every line and curve. But in Sketch Drawer, it’s more like having a magical sketching elf who does the job for you while you sip your coffee. ☕

Way #4: What is the Best Convert Photo to Line Drawing App?

Most of our family photos and selfies are on our smartphones. This is why it is great to have a few convert photo to line drawing apps handy for quickly converting images into sketches.

Photo Sketch Maker

Photo sketch maker turn photo into line drawing app..

Sketch Photo Maker is a free photo to sketch maker to turn any photo in your phone into a AI sketch. Apart from the usual black and white pencil, you can choose from effects like colored pencils, oil painting, and hard pencils.
Once the chosen effect is applied, you can add smooth drawing effects, crop the photo, or directly share it with your friends!

Optoreal Sketch Maker

Optoreal Sketch Maker app..

The Optoreal Sketch Maker is a free converting photo into line art drawing app available for Android smartphones. It gives options like pencil drawing effect, cartoon camera options, color effects, oil painting, and even cartoon-style effects. You can also shift colors in the sketch and turn it red, blue, or green like a hip-hop album cover!
All you have to do is choose a photo from your phone gallery and get started.

Pencil Photo Sketch Editor

Pencil Photo Sketch Editor app..

This convert photo to line drawing app is yet another user-friendly program that lets you convert any image into a creative sketch. The advantage of this app is that it offers 10+ more presets than the ones we discussed earlier!
Along with painting effects, you can convert your photo into a cartoon poster or use crayon, wax effects, and pop-art style presets.

Enlight Photofox

Enlight Photofox is a modern app that allows you to create cool digital art. This photo to line drawing app offers a wide range of artistic filters. Using AI to convert photos into drawings, adjusts color, tone, and saturation, and adds artistic filters and realistic effects. One of the cool features is its sketch effects. 

Are they good in compare to Sketch Drawer?

In the enchanted realm of mobile apps, these converters are like overeager art apprentices—they try their best, but alas, their strokes lack finesse. Their sketches resemble a doodle by a caffeinated squirrel rather than a masterpiece. 🐿️✏️
Now, enter Sketch Drawer! With a wave of its digital wand, it conjures realistic sketches that make your photos look like they’ve attended Hogwarts. 🧙‍♂️

Harry Potter Pencil Sketch..
Harry Potter source photo..

So, dear traveler, when faced with the choice, remember: Mobile apps are the training wheels; Sketch Drawer is the Nimbus 2000. Choose wisely, and may your sketches be ever enchanting! 🌟🔮

Ben Heine Photo to Sketche Gallery

Sketch 1

Ben Heine Photo to Sketch 1

Sketch 2

Ben Heine Photo to Sketch 2

Sketch 3

Ben Heine Photo to Sketch 3

Sketch 4

Ben Heine Photo to Sketch 4

Sketch 5

Ben Heine Photo to Sketch 5


  1. Wang L., Sindagi V., Patel V. High-quality facial photo-sketch synthesis using multi-adversarial networks //2018 13th IEEE international conference on automatic face & gesture recognition (FG 2018). – IEEE, 2018. – С. 83-90.
  2. Wang X., Tang X. Face photo-sketch synthesis and recognition //IEEE transactions on pattern analysis and machine intelligence. – 2008. – Т. 31. – №. 11. – С. 1955-1967.
  3. Leggitt J. Drawing shortcuts: Developing quick drawing skills using today's technology. – John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
  4. Werner O., Clark L. Short Take 26: Ethnographic Photographs Converted to Line Drawings //CAM Journal. – 1998. – Т. 10. – №. 3. – С. 54-56.
How can I turn a photo into a line drawing? Download line art converter app to convert photo to line drawing for offline use!
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🙋Frequently Asked Questions

There are many different methods to convert a photo into line art. You can check out a few videos on YouTube or go through a few blogs to understand the process.

Like Photoshop, GIMP allows you to use layers and Gaussian blur effects to create a sketches froml artist hand-drawn masterpie images. The GIMP organization has a tutorial for this!

PaintShop Pro is an excellent tool for converting images into drawings, especially because of its Artificial intelligence, which does the job for you. Try out the process shown in this YouTube lesson!

In some cases, Sketch Drawer produces a single-line drawing, but it does not have a dedicated preset.

This picture to line art app offers a wide variety of artistic styles and filters that can be used to create a classic sketch effect or a color sketch from any image, including photos of people with curly hair. Choosing the appropriate filter and adjusting the settings can transform a photo into a stunning sketch with delicate lines and texture.

Yes, the SoftOrbits photo-to-line art app can be used as a photo lab to create various painterly effects from your images. The software comes with various filters that can be used to create watercolor, oil painting, and pastel-like effects. These filters can be combined with other settings to create unique and artistic results.

Photos to Paintings converter includes a wide range of filters and popular painting styles that can be used to create various effects, including watercolor paintings, oil paintings, real artist hand-drawn masterpieces, and color pencils. Additionally, the software includes double exposure settings that can create stunning, layered images. Each filter can be customized to achieve the desired effect.

Yes, SoftOrbits Sketch Drawer can transform any picture into a sketch. The software uses advanced algorithms to analyze the image and create a sketch-like effect. Adjusting the settings and selecting the appropriate filters allows you to turn any picture into a sketch with beautiful textures and shading.

Yes, the convert photo to line drawing app can create stunning minimalist line drawings and realistic sketches from any photo. With the ability to adjust settings and select preferred sketch styles, the software can transform an ordinary image into a beautiful drawing that looks like it was created by hand.

Yes, it includes various preset sketch tools that can quickly transform a picture into a sketch. These tools allow you to choose from various sketch styles, including pencil sketching, crayon drawing, and colored pencil. You can also adjust the settings of these tools to achieve the desired effect when converting pictures into drawings.

Convert photo to line art in Illustrator

Convert photo to line drawing using Paint Shop Pro

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