In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to easily turn a portrait photo into a pencil sketch, both in black and white and in
color, using Photoshop. The image for this tutorial is in the photo drive.
Step 1: Add A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to Make Black and White
With the image opened in Photoshop, we see in the Layers panel that the photo is sitting all by itself on the
Background layer, currently the only layer in the document. To create the sketch effect, the first thing we need to
do is remove all the color from the image, and we can do that non-destructively using a Hue/Saturation
adjustment layer. In the Adjustments panel, click on the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer icon.
The controls and options for the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer appear in the Properties panel. To remove the
color from the image, simply drag the Saturation slider all the way to the left to a value of -100. Dragging the
Saturation slider to the far left removes all color from the photo, leaving it in black and white.
Step 2: Duplicate The Background Layer
We need to make a copy of the Background layer. To do that, click on the Background layer in the Layers panel to
select it and press Command+J on the keyboard.
Nothing will seem to have happened with the image, but if we look in the Layers panel, we see that a copy of the
Background layer has appeared between the original and the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
Step 3: Invert The Image & Change the Blend Mode
Next, we need to invert the duplicated layer. Go up to the Image menu at the top of the screen, choose
Adjustments, then choose Invert (or press Command+I on the keyboard for the shortcut). This inverts the image,
giving it a film negative appearance.
In the upper left of the Layers panel, change the blend mode of the Background copy layer from Normal (the
default blend mode) to Color Dodge. This will turn the image white. As with the image, you may still see a few
small areas of black remaining, but for the most part, it should now appear white.
Step 4: Apply A Gaussian Blur Filter
Go up to the Filter menu at the top of the screen, choose Blur, then choose Gaussian Blur. This opens the
Gaussian Blur dialog box. To create the main sketch effect, all we need to do is apply some blurring to this layer.
To do that, click on the Radius slider at the bottom of the dialog box and begin slowly dragging it towards the
right to apply a slight amount of blur. Keep an eye on the image as you drag and you'll see it beginning to look
more and more like a sketch. Don't drag too far, though, as too much blurring will make it look like a photo again.
A little blurring is all we need.
There's no specific Radius value to choose here since it will depend both on the size of your image and on what
you think looks best. Click OK when you're done to accept the settings and close out of the Gaussian Blur dialog
Step 5: Duplicate The Background Layer Again & Move Into Place
At this point, the basic sketch effect is complete, but if you want to bring back some of the photo's original color,
you'll want to continue on with these last few steps. First, click on the Background layer (the original one, not the
copy) to select it and make it active once again. Then duplicate the Background layer by pressing Command+J on
We need to move the newest layer to the top of the layer stack. To do that, click on it and, with the mouse button
held down, drag the layer upward until you see a white horizontal bar appear directly above the Hue/Saturation
Step 6: Change The Blend Mode Of The Top Layer To Color
To colorize the sketch with the colors from the original image, change the blend mode of the Color layer from
Normal to Color. The Color blend mode hides all the tonal information (the brightness values) on the layer and
allows only the colors to show through, creating our colorizing effect. If the color looks too intense, you can
reduce it by lowering the Opacity value of the Color layer.