How To Convert a Photo into a Realistic Drawing in Photoshop
If you already have Photoshop on your laptop, you can follow the following steps to turn an image into a pencil drawing!
How to Convert Picture to Drawing in Photoshop
Open the photo and duplicate layer
When you open the image in Photoshop, it’ll be loaded as the Background layer in the Layer panel of the toolbar.
Drag and drop this onto the folded paper icon, which is for creating a new layer. Once the original photo is duplicated, you’ll see 2 layers – Background and Background copy.
Desaturate and duplicate again
Here, you have to remove all the colours from the duplicate layer and make it black and white. Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.
Now, this Background copy layer has to be copied again. Use the same drag and drop method to create a 3rd layer, which will be called Background copy 2.
We have to invert the 3rd layer, which will give a film negative look, turning dark areas light and light areas to black patches. You can do this by Image > Adjustments > Invert.
Change blend mode to Colour dodge
When you open the Layers panel, on the top-left corner you will see the blend mode as Normal, which is by default. Change this to colour dodge.
You should now see the Background copy 2 photo become almost completely white!
Convert this 3rd layer into a smart object
Before we apply the main sketch effect using Gaussian blur, we have to change this layer into a smart object. This will keep the layer fully editable, and the changes won’t become permanent.
So, when we apply the Gaussian blur filter, we will still have the option of going back and adjusting the settings as we require.
To change the layer into a smart layer, go to the Layers Panel, and click on the menu icon in the top-right corner. From that menu, you can select Convert to Smart Object.
Apply Gaussian filter
Gaussian blur filter will give the final pencil effect we are looking for! Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Once the filter is applied, your photo will start looking like a pencil drawing. You should also adjust the radius of the filter and see what look you like best! By increasing the radius, you’ll be able to create a drawing with thicker pencil strokes.
Some optional adjustments
If you feel that the sketch is looking too bright, you can change the blend mode to Multiply to darken the image. Also, to fine-tune the overall brightness of the image, you can change the opacity. Bringing it down will brighten up your sketch again.
You can also consider playing around a bit with the Levels adjustments! By changing the sharpness, brightness, contrast and using tools like dodge and burn, you can add your own customizations and modify the shading as you wish.
If you want to add colour to your sketch, you will have to duplicate the first layer, bring it to the top and change the blend mode to Colour.
This will mix the converted layer with the colours from the original image!
You can find more information on the colourization process in blog posts online or YouTube videos.
You’re done! Once you are happy with the final effects, you can save your image. You can also try options like Torn Edges or colour filters and experiment!