A few weeks back, it was my friend’s birthday and I wanted to draw a pencil sketch of her for her birthday card. The only glitch was that I have two left hands when it comes to sketching. So, what did I do?

No, I didn’t bribe my next door, art school student neighbor. I just went back to my trusted friend: Photoshop. So, how would you like to learn how to draw a pencil sketch in Photoshop? If you’re interested, follow along with me!

First, open up your image.

Make a duplicate of your background layer. Name it Layer 1. Turn this layer to black and white by desaturating it. To desaturate, click on Image, Adjustments, Desaturate (or press Shift + Ctrl + U).

Now, make another copy of the Layer 1 and let’s call it Layer 2. Invert the Layer 2 by pressing Ctrl+I. Your image should look pretty weird now.

Now, change the layer mode of the Layer 2 to Color Dodge. Don’t worry too much if you can’t see anything in the image. This is how it’s supposed to be. The next step decides how your image (or sketch rather) will end up looking.

Here we need to Gaussian Blur the image (Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur). For our purpose here, I have used a radius value of 10.

We are almost done. As you may notice, our “sketch” is black and white. If you want to add some color to it, you can play around with the opacity settings of Layer 1. Keep tweaking it until you get the sketchy effect that you are looking for.

This is what I ended up with.

You can also always experiment with a lot of the other filters and come up with something that is entirely different. If you want to give the image a papery touch, you can use Filter, Artistic Underpainting with the texture type as Canvas. Now, go ahead people, do me proud. This is your chance to be a Photoshop Picasso!

~ Yogesh Bakshi