Photoshop Tutorial – Image to Line Drawing

Here’s an easy Photoshop tutorial on how to convert photos or color images into black and white line drawings.  If you have a MAC, change the word “control” to “command”.  Be sure that the Layers box is open (Menu Bar/Window/Layers checked).  I’ll be using a mug shot of my husband, Kevin ({:, on the plane to Hawaii.  Good luck!

Above is the original image.

(1) Hold down shift, ctrl, u buttons or, using the menu bar, Image/Adjust/Desaturate. It will look like this:

(2) Duplicate the layer.  Hold down CTRL /J or if using the menu bar select: Layer/duplicate layer. Insure that the duplicated layer is selected for the next step (it usually does it automatically).

It should look like this: 

(3) Hold down the CTRL button and I or using the menu bar: select Image/Adjust/Invert.

Hopefully, your image looks like this:  

(4) In the layer box select: Layer/Color Dodge like below. Don’t panic, the image will appear to disappear or have a few lines only.  Just hold on.

(5) From the menu bar select: Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur.  Wow, there it is! A pencil drawing.

compared to original.

(6) Select – Layer/Merge Visible. Save file.  Fini! You can also play with curves to darken the image:  From menu bar:  Image/Adjust/Curves. Drag the line up or down to find the desired result.  Here’s mine:

If you want to convert to only black and white – no gray.  Try this: Take saved file from above, select from menu: Image/Mode/Grayscale. Then select from the menu: Filter/Sketch/Stamp. You’ll get this result that looks like a woodcut to me:

If you are using the image for etching with the Puretch Photopolymer film, leave image as is.  The black lines will be the areas etched and the white will be raised.  If you want the opposite effect – white areas etched, etc. hit Control/I.


Here’s another sample, the only difference in techniques is that I used Filter/Sketch/Photocopy at the end instead of the Filter/Sketch/Stamp.

Original image (enhanced with Image/Adjust/Brightness Contrast)

Original Manipulated   


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