Photoshop Tutorial – Photo to Pencil Sketch

This tutorial will show you how to easily transform a photograph to a pencil sketch using only Photoshop’s built in tools and filters.

Photo to Sketch


Man image from

Before and after:
Before and after

Step 1

You need to start off with a good quality image

I chose Beamish Folk 24 from =Tigg-stock on deviantART

Crop the image so you have not much more than the face

Image>Image Size – set the width to 1000, auto height

Cropped Image

Duplicate the layer

Rename this layer ‘base’

Duplicate the layer

Step 2


Duplicate the layer

Step 3

Image>Adjustments>Invert (Ctrl + I)

Set the layer mode to Color Dodge (you will see very little on the screen right now – don’t panic!)

Filter>Other>Minimum – apply the following settings:

Minimum Settings

Step 4

Set the opacity of base copy 2 layer to 85%

Set the opacity of base copy layer to 68%

With base copy 2 layer active

Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur – apply the following settings:

Gaussian Blur Settings

This setting is totally dependent on the image you are working with – set the blur to whatever looks good

Step 5

Make the base layer active

Filter>Brush Strokes>Sprayed Strokes – apply the following settings:

Sprayed Strokes Settings

Click on the new layer icon at the bottom of the filter gallery screen as indicated in the screenshot above

Select Angled Strokes and apply the following settings:

Angled Strokes Settings

Step 6

Duplicate the base layer


Lower the layer opacity to 40%

Add a layer mask by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the layers palette

Select a soft, round brush and mask out the eyes and the lips to make them brighter

Step 7

Make the base layer active

Select the Brush tool, set the opacity to around 35%, foreground colour black

Paint over the areas that are showing too much colour, ie the red speckles on the rim of the hat – you may have to go over this a few times until you are happy with the result

The image below shows before (in the frames) and after painting and masking:

Painting and Masking

The finished project:

Photo to Sketch

You don’t need to finish your project here, you can add further adjustment layers and tinker with the settings until you reach a better or preferable result for your requirements.

Please let us see your results by posting a link in the comments section below. If you have any questions or observations on this tutorial, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.


I love using and learning Photoshop, and I also enjoy creating resources to share with the world. I am at my happiest when I have free time to further explore all that Photoshop has to offer and learn more about its powerful built-in tools. I hope people enjoy either using or learning from my free resources, and welcome any hints and tips - and of course, if you would like to offer a free resource on this site, please don't hesitate to contact me (top right of the page).



about 7 years ago

Hola, Ya he visto algunos hay ... Gracias Bottomless


Preston Racette

about 7 years ago

This is a very good post! Keep them comming!


web designers uk

about 7 years ago

It’s simple as that but that is very impressive, we can do so many beautiful things using Photoshop and we can even make a simple thing special through it. Now I know why many people are engaging to this kind of work and some make this as their job, well I’m interested enough to learn more about Photoshop and edit my own design soon.


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