How To Convert A Photo to Line Art Drawing in Photoshop 2022

Top 8 Easy Steps on How to Convert an Image to a Line Drawing or Sketch Image in Photoshop 2022 Basic to Advanced Learning

One of the coolest things about knowing how to work on Photoshop is that it allows you to explore your creative sides. And that also includes getting a bit more creative with photo  line art drawing, manipulation and turning any image.

This editing skill allows you to make any images look like a hand-drawn pencil sketch without anyone realizing it. Besides, it’s fun! But to do this, you must know how to turn an image into a line drawing in Photoshop.

If you know how to work with Photoshop software, you can turn a photo into a line drawing in no time. But even if you do not know much, the following tutorial will help you make realistic drawings.

What Is Line Drawing?

Simply put, line drawing is what we refer to as a pencil drawing. In Photoshop, a line drawing is pretty similar. You draw lines but with curves and create various shapes. The major difference between pencil and Photoshop line drawing is that one is done by hand, and the other simply involves manipulations.

You do not always have to draw by hand in Photoshop line drawing. You can convert photo to line drawing and still make them look as realistic as a pencil drawing. The subjects of such line drawings usually do not contain any color or shadow effect.

Line drawings can be of people’s faces or full-body images, products, animals, or other objects. While sometimes, people convert images to line drawings for fun, others do it professionally as commissioned work.

Convert A Photo to Line Art Drawing : Step By Step Guide

To turn a photo into a sketch, you need to have basic ideas about working in Photoshop. You have to know how to use various editing and masking tools to get a flawless and pro result. 

We will be following the steps below to get our final result.

  1. Adjust Photo Contrast
  2. Set Up The Layers
  3. Use Adjustment Layer To Turn The Image To Grayscale
  4. Convert The Image Into Line Drawing
  5. Set Image’s Foreground And Background Color
  6. Add Pencil Shading
  7. Add Cross Hatching Effect
  8. Final Touch-Ups And Modifications

Before I take you to the main steps, let me give you the primary idea of how we will start. you can learn to create the basic outlines for the subjects in the image. All images are not the same. And there may be required some more work than others. 

That is why it is essential to prepare the image before applying any effect or masking to turn it into a line drawing. And if you are doing it as commission-based work, preparing the photo correctly will help you achieve a satisfying result.

Now, let’s start the tutorial on how to sketch in Photoshop from images. When starting, ensure the image is ready on your Photoshop app or software.

Step 1: Adjust Photo Contrast

Adjust Photo Contrast

An image can have one more subject. The more subjects it has, the more complicated the editing or drawing process will be. But you have to start by fixing the contrast between the subjects and their background color.

Since most images, especially product images, come with a white background, it is natural for the subject color to go against it. However, some light color subjects often end up becoming closer to blending with the background color. And that is where you need to adjust the image contrast so that the subject stands out.

To change the contrast level, go to the Layers panel first and check if the photo you want to work on is selected. However, if you are working on a different type of photo, such as a JPG image, you will find it in the Background layer.


Then select Image from the panel and go to Adjustment. There, you will find options like Brightness, Contrast, Curves, etc. From there, select Curve, but don’t forget to check the Preview option.


Through  the graph of the dialog box, you will find a diagonal line.  Dragging the line down from the middle will change the image’s color, shadow, and contrast and its subjects. By doing this, the dark areas of the image will get darker while the lighter areas remain unchanged.

But if you are working a CMYK image the process will be different. With that type of image, you will have to drag the diagonal curve line upwards instead of down.


Once you achieve your expected contrast level on the image, move to the next step by clicking OK.

Related Article:- How to change sky color in Photoshop CC 2020

Step 2: Set Up The Layers

You will need a few copies of the contrast image to proceed to edit the image. That is why the next step involves making a few duplicate versions of the image after adding contrast.

Once again, go to the Layers panel and locate the Layer Menu in the panel’s upper right-hand corner. From there, you need to choose the Duplicate Layer option.

Duplicate Layers

Make three duplicated versions of the image, so you get four copies of the same image. They will come in handy later in the line-drawing process.

Step 3: Use Adjustment Layer To Turn The Image To Grayscale

Grayscale images usually contain three colors: black, white, and gray. Adjusting the grayscale level, you turn the black into the darkest black shade while the white becomes the brightest white. And there are several shades of gray that change various aspects of the image and its subjects.

To sketch in Photoshop, you must convert the image to grayscale mode. For doing that, you must go back to the Layers panel. Then you need to select the duplicate image from the top of the Layers panel. 

Layer Copy

Now, to convert the duplicate image, you need to select the Adjustment option from the bottom of the panel. It is a round icon with half black and half white color. When you have selected it for once, you will get a dropdown menu. Choose the Hue/Saturation option from there.

When you select the Hue/Saturation option from a single layer, it will make changes in all other layers as well. After that, go to the Properties section, where you will find three sliders: Hue, Saturation, and Lightness.


But what if you don’t find the properties panel at the top? In that case, you can go to the Windows panel at the top of the Photoshop window. You can locate it easily in the dropdown menu. You can find the Properties option after selecting the Window.

As you see three new sliders, drag the Saturation slider to its highest level until it says -100. Once it is done, you will see that the entire image has been converted to a Grayscale image.

Hue Saturation

Alternative Way To Convert Image To Grayscale:

Other than the method mentioned above, there is another way to achieve a Grayscale effect on the image. While changing the Hue/Saturation scale turns the image into black and white color, using the alternative will help eliminate all colors from the image.

Select Image from the dropdown menu and click on Mode. And select Grayscale to turn the image into grayscale. Remember that if any adjustments were made before this option, they would all be removed automatically.

Related Article:- How to Make Background Transparent in Photoshop?

Step 4: Convert The Image Into Line Drawing

In this step, we will move a step closer to turn the photo into line drawing. But to do that, you need to learn creating an outline around the subjects. This skill can help you work with any type of image and get an outstanding outcome. However, if you want to create outlines only, you can skip all steps after this one.

We do not need all the duplicated images visible here. So what you need to do is make the top two duplicated photos invisible and keep the second image from the bottom visible. But how do you do that?

visible layer

Click on the eye icon next to the pictures on each layer on the Layer panel. If the icons do not show, those layers are no longer visible. Then select the layer you have kept visible and click on the dropdown menu. You will find the menu next to Normal. You can select the option called Color Dodge from there. 

Color Dodge

Now, it is time to invert every change you have made so far. To do that, you can choose two different command methods. 

  • You can simply press CTRL + I on the keyboard. If you are using a MAC, you can press COMMAND+I to get the image inverted.

invert photoshop

  • You can do this by selecting an image from the dropdown menu then going to Adjustment and selecting Invert.

Then go to the Filter option, select Blur and choose the Gaussian Blur option from the dropdown menu. You will get a dialog box after selecting the Gaussian Blur, where you will get a slider with a Radius bar to adjust the image’s appearance.

Gaussian Blur Photoshop

If you move the slider to the right, the blurring will appear thicker and darken the image, which will add shades to the picture. On the other hand, if you move the slider to the left, you will get thinner lines. 

Make sure you have enabled the Preview option so that you can see the change in the image. Now, drag the slider left or right depending on how you want the line drawing to appear.

Related Article:- Photoshop Image Editing & It’s Type 

How Do You Make Strokes Of Line Drawing Thicker In Photoshop?

Don’t be surprised to see a few extra tips and hacks throughout this tutorial article. My aim is to ensure you get the best result, especially if you want to use line drawing for business or professional purposes. So here is how you can make the strokes of the line drawing thicker to turn a photo into a sketch.

You need to duplicate the original layer once more to thicken the lines. Then place the new layer over the image you just adjusted using Color Dodge options. 

Once again, go to the dropdown menu on the application window and click on Filter. From there, you need to click on the Filter Gallery. Then go to Glowing Edge, which you will find under Stylize. This is the option where you can adapt to the Edge Width. You can find the option on the right-hand side of the app window.

Reduce the Edge Brightness, and you will get a sharper and neater edge. Clicking OK will complete the stroke thickening process. 

line drawing Photoshop

Then go back to your image layer and press CTRL+I to invert the image. You need to use COMMAND+I if you are on MAC. This will blend the layers and make the subject outline appear darker and thicker. 

Related:-  Best Photo Drawing & Clipping Path Services

Step 5: Set Image’s Foreground And Background Color

In this step, I will discuss how you can change the background and foreground of the image and move a step ahead to convert photo to line drawing. And here, we will find the tools on the left-hand sidebars highly useful. 

You will notice that the background color has an icon on the toolbar. Turning the  background color into white is your job. And you can do that by double-clicking on the Background Color icon. You will get a dialogue box that says Color Picker. Then click on the upper left hand of the box. 

Once the background color is set, you need to set up the foreground color. Double-click on the Foreground Color icon, and you will get a dialogue box again. The Foreground Color should be medium gray. So you have to click on the mid area of the left-hand side of the color box.

Foreground And Background Color

I suggest you should not get confused by seeing other colors in the big box. You will not need them because you can select the required colors from the left side area.

Step 6: Add Pencil Shading

Adding pencil shading in any drawing does two things:

  1. It creates a more authentic sense in the image
  2. It adds value to your work

Remember how you chose the second last layer to work before and made others invisible? Well, it is time to make them visible by adding pencil shadow.

Go to the Layers panel and click on the box next to the top layers to make them visible again. The images will now appear in black and white mode. Now, select the Filter menu and select Filter Gallery from the dropdown menu.

Filter Gallery Photoshop

You will find several folders there, but you need to select the one that says Charcoal. And selecting it will give you three sliders: Thickness, Detail, and Light/Dark Balance.

Adjust the sliders until you get sufficient details in this image. Remember that the lower layer already has the line drawing ready. This adjustment is necessary to add some shadow effect. So once you know the adjustment is made, click OK.

Step 7: Add Cross-Hatching Effect

Adding cross-hatching will add a filter effect vibe to the line drawing. When you go to the Layers panel, make the top layer visible, and none of the layers is not invisible anymore. After that, go to the Filter panel and select the second Filter Gallery from the dropdown menu instead of the first one.

Filter Gallery

Select the Sketch folder from there and click on the Torn Edge filter. On the right-hand side of the screen, you will find some adjustment sliders. Drag them back and forth until the details are visible in the image.

Torn Edges photoshop

When Torn Edge is selected, click on the Graphic Pen icon at the bottom right of the screen. And then change the Stroke Direction option to Left Diagonal.

graphic pen photoshop

Then adjust the sliders under the Graphic Pen option until you are satisfied with the outcome and click OK.

Go back to the Layers panel and change the Layer Blend Mode into Multiply. You need to add a bit of Motion Blur as the other applied effects make the image crisper.

motion blur photoshop

Go to Filter and select Blur and then Motion Blur

if you get the Motion Blur dialog box, put the angle option to -45°.You can change the Distance slider slightly to the left to create a blur effect and click OK.

Related Article :- Images Masking with Photo Sketch Services

Step 8: Final Touch-Ups And Modifications

Well, you are only this step away from getting the final result. But before you close everything and save the edited image, it is essential to do some retouching and corrections. You need to check the following things.

background copy layers

  • Opacity Layer Adjustment: If you want to reduce the pencil shading’s intensity, it is essential to adjust the opacity of the top two layers. The opacity percentage for each layer may vary depending on the image type and the shading it has. You should not adjust the opacity of the bottom two layers as it can ruin the line drawing.
  • Cleaning Up Artifacts: It is not uncommon for the line drawing to have smudges and dark spots here and there. You can eliminate these spots, select all layers and stamp them. How do you stamp the layers?

You can do that by pressing CTRL+A+E or COMMAND+OPTION+E if you are using a MAC. Make sure to set the Foreground to white on the Toolbar. Then choose the Brush to remove the spots and smudges carefully. 

photoshop- line drawing

Finally, you have your image ready, which is now converted to a line drawing. This is just a tutorial to help you turn a photo into a sketch using Photoshop.

photoshop line drawing

You will get a more satisfying result and can do better with more practice.

What Is The Purpose Of Making Line Drawings From Images?

Every type of work comes with some purpose, right? So why do you think people want to learn how to draw in Photoshop? What is the reason to convert photo to line drawing? Well, here are a few reasons why I find it necessary.

  • An Artistic Vibe: Not all of us are Picasso or have artistic skills to draw sketches. But when you have Photoshop editing skills, it is no less than having an artistic vibe.
  • Cost-Saving: Getting photos sketched by professionals can be pretty expensive. So if you know how to turn photo into line drawing, you can get realistic sketches without paying any pro artist a large sum of money.
  •  For Retailers And Photographers: Line drawings have a great value for online businesses. It is one of the effective ways to draw an audience toward your business and boost sales.

Related Article:- What is Photography – A Step by Step Guide


Frequently Asked Questions

You can use the Photoshop app to turn any photo into a line drawing in the following way.

  • Open the image in your Lightroom app.
  • Then click on the black and white tab to increase highlights, shadow, and white lights.
  • Then use Tone Curve to increase highlight and decrease lights and darks.
  • Again, open the black and white setting, reduce contrast, and increase other options to get the final look.

Yes, If you want you can learn our this tutorial and make your own photo into a sketch.

Yes, you can turn a JPG image into line art. But you will need Inkscape software installed on your computer. The software will make converting any JPG image to line art easier.

Prizma has been a popular app for phones and computers to instantly turn any image into a line drawing. Not only that, the app offers other options to turn photos to look like paintings and illustrations.

Final Words

Photoshop is one of the best tools for exploring creative ideas and improving skills. And knowing how to turn a picture into a line drawing in Photoshop is fun and beneficial at the same time.

I gave you the idea for a single image today, but feel free to explore with various images, such as scenery, face shot, and other product images. Face outline drawing in Photoshop can be a challenge for newbies. But you cannot achieve perfection without making mistakes and learning from them.

Leave a Comment