In this tutorial, we’ll be looking at how to transform a photo of a person into a work of art – in this case, a highly illustrated sketch art piece.

Vector shapes and textures will also be added to our composition as this will give our sketch artwork more depth and character. Below are examples of what you could achieve even with the simplest of art forms (pop art etc) to create interesting and beautiful effects from a picture. The final images could used as e-cards, profile pictures/avatars, wallpapers and so on.


Step 1

I start with a new document with a white background layer. The dimensions of  your documents are of course entirely your choice depending on the size of the picture you’re working with. I’ll be using this picture from istockphoto.

Step 2

Remove the background of the image by creating a Layer Mask clicking the third button from the left. Its located at the base of the Layers Palette. Then press Ctrl+D to make sure that the foreground colour is set to black and with a Soft Round brush (B), (have its hardness increased to about 45
to 60 per cent) paint away to remove the background.

When done, Press Shift+Ctrl+Uto desaturate the ‘Man’ layer.

Step 3

Duplicate the ‘Man’ layer by pressing Ctrl+J and head on over to Image>Adjustment>Invert or just press Ctrl+Ito invert the layer. Also, change the layer’s Blend mode to Color Dodge. The image in the ‘Man inverted’ layer would apparently disappear at this point.

Step 4

The image in the layer will be given more visibility when we have it blur a little. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the Blur Radius to about 14.2 pixels and this as a matter of fact, all depends on the results that
suits your likings. The result you get eventually, is nicely rendered sketch effect.

Step 5

To further enhance the pencil-like effects of our simulated sketch, select the duplicate the ‘Man inverted’ layer and go to Filter>Sketch>Graphic Pen. Make the adjustments as shown below:

Step 6

Set the layer’s Blend mode to Lighten and reduce its Opacity to about 23%. Name the layer ‘Graphics’.

B.
Not to make the Graphic Pen effect to brash, go to Edit> Fade Graphic Pen or press Shift+Ctrl+F and reduce the opacity of the effect down to about 60% until you’re satisfied with the results.

Step 7

For a new layer, with a Hard brush selected, paint the eyes of the in the image. Use any colour of your fancy. Set the Blend mode of the ‘Eyes’ layer to Overlay.

Step 8

We’ll now create custom pen strokes to enhance our sketch. Please do use your creative license here to express yourself. Well, with the Pen Tool (P) selected, create Anchor Points over the edges of the head. To create curves, just click and drag in the direction you want the curves created. That done, we’ll now add a stroke to the path. But first, run these checks: make sure your brush’s opacity is appropriate, the brush size should be set to about 2px to 3px and the foreground colour is switched to your desired colour.

Step 9

Still with the Pen Tool, right-click the path and select Stroke Path.

Step 10

On the Stroke Path Dialog box, select Brush and check Simulate Pressure. This creates a nice fading effect to your brush strokes. Use the Marquee Tool (M), to clear the Pen path and then hit Ctrl+D to deselect.

Ive disable the ‘Man’ layers to show you the strokes Ive made with Four
colours, thickness and varying opacities.

The final results:

Step 11

Now, we’ll add vector elements to our image. Select the Rectangle Tool (U) and on its Options bar, set the shape type to “Paths.” Draw a flat rectangle.

Step 12

Select the ‘Add Anchor Point’ Pen Tool and then create points at points on the rectangle. 2. Select the Direct Select Tool (A), and use it to adjust the anchor points to form curves.

Step 13

Double-click the vector layer for a Layer style and set the parameters below:

Step 14

In a new layer, draw an ellipse with the Elliptical Marquee Tool. Paint on the base of the selection with a white Soft Round brush. Reduce the opacity of the layer to about 43%. Add some other shapes to the umbrella – handles etc.

Step 15

Duplicate the Umbrella shape layer and right-click this copy and select the Rasterize Layer option.

Step 16

The Paint Bucket (G), can be used to change the colour of the shape. Reduce the the opacities of the both ‘Umbrella’ layers to 63% and 49% respectively.

Step 17

With the Custom Shape Tool selected, pick the ‘Circle Frame’ shape.

Step 18

Create a couple of circles in separate layers and at reduced opacities.

Step 19

Draw a circle and add a Gradient Overlay Style to it with the settings
below:

Step 20

Reduce the opacity of the circle to43%.

Step 21

Download these great looking halftone brushes from Env1ro. 3D halftones they’re called.

Step 22

Set the foreground colour to #ccccccand add these dots to you image.

Step 23

Add some other vector shapes of your choice.
- Swirlsdownloaded from www.brusheezy.com
- Treesdownloaded from snap2objects.com

Step 24

Its also a good idea to add texture your image as this deepens the entire outlook the composition. This rock texture was downloaded from freetextures.org. Place the rock texture over all other layers and
desaturate it. Set texture layer’s Blend mode to Color Burn and reduce its opacity to 69%.

Step 25

Create a Layer Mask for the texture and clear any trace of the texture from the man image.

Step 26

More texturing. Download these set of Grunge Texture brushes
fromART-D. Apply the brush and add a Shadow Overlay style to the brush mark.

Step 27

Erase areas of brush mark via a Layer Mask and this time, use a Spatter brush instead.

And we have our final result!

You can even take your artwork a little further as Ive done below. Just
imagine the possibilities! I hope this post would be of use to you.


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  • Joshua

    links to halftone brushes and background textures don’t work. :(

  • Pingback: Fine Art Portrait | Photoshop-Weblog

  • Marc Chour

    Hi!
    I am blocked on the step 4. I do not know if i should apply the gaussian blur to the copy or the orignal layer ? If i do with the duplicate, i get a good result. If i do with the original, i don’t get the expected result.
    Also, when i apply the graphic pen to the duplicate, i don’t get the same result as you.
    Also, when i select Lighten mode for the original, the layer disappear.
    Finally, i am not able to make the duplicate layer’s thumbnails appear as yours (one single box instead of two boxes for the original layer).
    Thanks again for this great tutorial! I can’t wait to have it ready!
    Kind regards

  • http://www.novation.be Nicky

    Great tutorial! It proves again how powerfull photoshop is :-)

  • http://www.e11world.com e11world

    I love the step about the inverted blur layer. Very good tutorial but I’m trying to do the lines using Find Edges filter instead of drawing the lines.

  • http://fanaticodesign.blogspot.com marko

    amazing tutorial, thank you very much

  • http://www.be.net/iamdavid David El’

    Thank everyone for the comments. Its most appreciated.

    @Marc

    You’ll need to apply the Gaussian blur to the duplicate layer. For your second question, duplicate the layer you applied the Guassian blur and set the layer’s blend mode to Lighten (its suppose to disappear; also reduce its opacity) after applying the Graphics Pen effect. I hope its clear now.

    @ Joshua
    Just copy and paste these links to your web browser. I’m not sure why they arent connecting in the first place.

    http://www.freetextures.org

    http://www.adobetutorialz.com/content_images/AdobePhotoshop/ART-D/tutorial446/brushes_425.rar

    env1ro.deviantart.com – 3d halftone
    @Nicky
    yeah, Photoshop rules!

  • http://twitter.com/iconprinting Icon Printing

    Wow, this is impressive. I prefer it without all the stuff in the background though, that sort of ruins the “hand-drawn” look.