Aug 18, 2014

How to Turn Any Image Into an Illustration in Photoshop

How to Turn Any Image Into an Illustration in Photoshop

Photoshop is an amazing tool that can help you with more than just retouching photographs; it can be used to create illustrations as well! In today’s episode, we show you how to turn a photo into what looks like a hand-drawn illustration.

Creating a custom brush

The goal for this episode is to create a drawing that looks like chalk on a chalkboard. The first and essential step in this process is to create a custom “chalk brush.” We do this by going into the brush window and altering the characteristics of the brush. We increase the size, flow, opacity and angle jitter, as well as change the tip shape and lessen the spacing. There are many little details in this brush that help create a chalky effect.

Using Levels and Channels to create a selection

There are many ways to create a selection, and for this particular image we use the lights and darks in our image to do so. We bring our dark and white points up with Levels to create a graphic version of the image. A selection is then created from a copy of a Channel layer. This only selects the light parts and not the darks, so we want to inverse the selection. We are left with a lovely selection of the darks from our image.

Turning the selection into a Pen Path

Did you know you can turn any selection into a Pen Path?

All we have to do is click on the paths tab, and then click on the “Make Work Path from Selection” button. This simulates what would happen if we were to actually take a pen and follow the lines of the selection. After our path is created, we can stroke the path with our custom brush! This step is what really turns what was once a regular image into a chalk drawing.

We can always go back into the drawing with our chalk brush to add some finishing touches.





user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image

    Try using a blend mode to bring some of the texture of the board into the chalk strokes.

  • user image
    Dave D

    I’ve watched several of your videos and if there’s one thing I wish you would do is make a video about editing a photo as always but along the way toss in the equivalent of what you do with photoshop 7

    I have PS 7 and there’s a bunch of things you do with (I guess cs 6) that I can’t do with my version. If you can do a video where each move you say if it can be done with lower versions of PS and if not, what’s the closest thing that can be done that would equal the same step.

  • user image

    hello, my name is Ovidiu, and i have a problem with my wacom tablet. i set it up like aron did, with the undo button on the pen, but when i go to photoshop, it changes it to the hand tool, and i found no way to change it. tried several versions of photoshop, and windows(7 and 8), but the same. in windows works fine … help would be apreciated.

  • user image

    Hi i’m Jahfferson. sir, can you teach me how to add picture to other picture so that i could make it as a background.. i couldn’t do it alone.. this is my first time learning in photoshop editing.. thank you so much

  • user image

    thanks very much .. you are the best .. but i wish to add the photo witch you work with ..

    all the best

  • user image

    Hi. With photoshop I have converted a photograph of people in a garden into an image that looks like a painting. I have credited the photographer and want to use a correct but not technical term for the painting/illustration, such as: (photo painting?, illustration?, conversion?) from a photograph by Firstname Lastname.